Forgiveness is a light shining forward, out of a painful past, toward a hopeful future. We are like the mirrored cone around a flashlight bulb. If we convince ourselves that we are the source of this light, it is dimmed with our pride and blocked by the judgment of our withholding. All we can truly do is accept the gift of it, mind our own shadows, and reflect the light toward others. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
"Put the past behind you." he said, so matter-of-factly you'd think it was as easy as rinsing scraps of scrambled egg off your breakfast plate. I've come, not just to believe, but to feel in my marrow, that our past, however different from what we hoped or who we think we are currently, is the DNA through which we exist. And the pull of life and breath itself are toward an integration into a now that owns the past rather than being owned by it, and a future that frames both past and present as path toward a tomorrow in which who we've been and who we are are not only incapable of thwarting our created purpose, but are being transformed into the very rails of hope on which we ride. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
When she steps to the plate,
I’m pretty sure the bases
are loaded; more loaded
than we ever imagined they’d be.
You never know what
the skipper’s going to do.
Even if you’re in a slump longer
than Rip Van Winkle’s nightmare,
and slower than an uphill freight train,
you’re likely to be inserted
as a pinch runner.
Taking the count full,
so all’s on the line,
she steps out of the box
one final time;
tapping the bat against her cleats,
carefully knocking loose
any clods trying to cling.
She points the polished white ash
toward the right field bleachers
with a confidence making
the Bambino look like
a rookie out of his league.
No matter what pitch
the opposing pitcher
has up his sleeve –
heater, curve, knuckler, change-up,
screwgie, spitter, slider, cutter,
or something we’ve never ever seen –
I’m pretty sure that ‘tater’s gonna be
tattooed like a wrinkled sailor.
Hear the crowd roar, child.
Hear the crowd roar.
A walk-off swing;
a dance-off sing.
Grace bats last, my child.
Grace bats last!
© 2017 Todd Jenkins
In the end, as in the beginning, and every place and time in between, God refuses to accept our rejection; both our personal distancing, and our sociocultural writhing away. We are divinely desired, and we will always be sought by the sacred. It is the uniqueness of this seeking that makes it both confounding and compelling at one and the same time. We have experience and metrics for a whole host of stalkings, all of which are unyielding and often even violent; but the steadfast pursuit of unconditional love is another creature altogether. It is aromatic breath from the depths of the darkest places into which we flee or are pulled; not necessarily the scent of a sweet dessert to which we are irresistibly drawn; more like a mysterious fusion of spices and herbs gently tickling our olfactory imagination in places we never knew sensation could exist, wondering us toward a depth both haunting and hopeful. Pay attention to your nose because, when it comes to paths toward the holy, it knows. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
They don't even have to be from the same bird. They just stick together, hanging on to one another, and to us, like a staticky sliver of cellophane or an indomitable piece of tape. There is but one way – one place – to rid ourselves of them, yours, mine, theirs: the strong but tender hand of the divine self. It waits, open, patiently, for us to release our strangle on all that is not grace, all that conjures not love, whether it emanates from us or others. See us standing there, our tiny fists death-gripped around them? We are convinced the sticky wad is solely constructed of sleights and slices from the malice of others, personally aimed at us. What we cannot see is the way our refusal to release them attracts our own faults into the same gooey bundle; how our failure to let go of pain that has come at us causes us to also keep the suffering coming from within us. When Jesus cautions us, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23), he's trying to help us see that letting go of past hurts is the only path to avoiding the retentive edema and grudging pock of vengefulness. Filtering the faults of others before they reach the healing flow of Forgiveness Falls causes us to miss the redemptive wash for our own failings. Let it go. Let it flow. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
The journey of faith is the return to the blank screen and the C-prompt. It is here, after we have endured and then set aside all the formatting of social, cultural, and egotistical influences, that we are ready to perceive and be acted upon by the divine coder of all creation. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
Photo by Owen Jenkins
The word means “standing side by side” and “descended from the same stock but of a different line.” Do you remember a time when this word could stand on its own, when it wasn’t nearly suffixed with “damage”, as if we couldn’t fathom connotations in a different universe? Maybe in the banking industry, where it takes money to make money; and you can’t qualify for a loan unless you can prove that you’ve already got enough to not need it in the first place. We have warped the word collateral, using it regularly to excuse the extermination of people we are not quite willing to stand beside, whose DNA we have declared is not human; but maybe we are the ones who’ve lost our humanity one noose, one injection, one massive surge of electricity, one drone mission, one baseball bat, one wall, one border patrol, one round of ammunition at a time. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
Photo by DeEtta Harris Jenkins
There's a race going on, alright. And the people who are trying their damnedest to win it are the ones who're missing everything along the way: sunrises and sunsets with their daily-repeated, yet once-in-a-lifetime explosion of color and light; rocks shaped like hearts, four-leaf clovers, and even three-leaf clovers whose green is gift in itself; clouds who momentarily form themselves into memories from our forgotten dreams; cats, dogs, and other domestic animals who entertain us with their mischievous antics; wild animals whose majesty and mystery lift us out of our myopic frenzy. That doesn't even get to the people along the way: ones whose uniqueness we mistake for ordinary; ones who smile for no discernible reason; ones who volunteer help without expectation of reward; ones who inspire us by the tenacity of their own anonymous struggle. In our measuring, calculating society, we call all these little things. Remind us daily that they're really the only things. © 2017 Todd Jenkins