Respecting the awesome power of words!

hope

Tanked

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I've had my life
         flash before my eyes
          on rare occasions.

Far more frequent
   and disturbing,
               though much more subtle,
                however, are the ways
                      life slowly evaporates,
                day by day,

like water in
       an open cistern
            in an arid clime.

I have this inner conviction
       that there are people somewhere,
  maybe even everywhere,
who are hoping
                   to have their souls quenched,
                     and our lives could be part
                      of what fills their cups,
                 if only we don’t
                           dry up and drift away.

Maybe it's just me,
        but silence, wilderness,
           reflection, and writing
                are what fuels the rain
                           that keeps my reservoir full,

and I need them all
       more often these days.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Flow

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What is it about the thirst
for retaliatory blood flow
that blinds us
to the immutable truth
that no life –

  neither the first
  nor the second 
  nor the last taken –  
  can be conjured
  to return by violence?

    This river always empties
    into the oceans,
    where the only blood type
    becomes the universal commingling
    with salt water,
    which is the gathered sea
    of divine tears.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Control

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    We crave it,
  whether we admit it
or not;

      especially when
    we’ve lost it
  for too much
of our lives.

          Love is about
        risking the relinquishment of it
      to someone we hope
    will set aside self
  long enough to unlock
the mystery of relationship

        in ways that allow us
      to rise above
    self-condemnation
  toward the mysterious
whisper of grace.

    Once this feline’s murmur
  has been unleashed,
all bets are off.

    This is the only neighborhood
  in which we can learn
to relax and let go.

      We pray, O Lord,
    to find even
  a small place available;
a fixer-upper will do;

        where we can begin
      the gentle task
    of allowing ourselves
  to be rehabilitated
by grace and forgiveness,

      into a dwelling capable
    of reflecting light
  into the dark corners
of both self and others.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Wall

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Into a salty sea,
precisely mitered
and mortared blocks
dutifully extend the tail
of their serpentine behemoth,

its harsh rigidity
under gentle
but continuous assault
by the shape-shifting swirl
of the moon-pulled tide.

Day in and day out,
the lunar dance’s fluidity
wears the beast down.

Whatever barrier
was once intended,
ocean will emerge victorious,
not so much
to destroy the wall
as to open the door.

“Behold, I stand
at the door
and knock...”
(Revelation 3:20)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

No Pockets in a Shroud

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By the time
  your garb is a shroud,
    your final wardrobe,
      if not your final answer,
      the cargo pants,
    with all their
  treasure-holding capacity,
will be long gone.

Neither the gold bullion
  nor any other
    gaudy bling
  will have a resting place
in your great beyond.

The only thing
  you can fill
    are the pockets
  of hearts,
yours and others’.

Pour into them memories
of practicing the three
 most valuable gifts
of Life:

Loving
  Listening
Laughing

Invest in this trio
  every chance you get,
  and the whole world
 will benefit greatly.

You’re part
  of the whole world,
so you’ll also be richer.    

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Race

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    It's really just a contest
    to see who can arrive faster
    or with more support;

  so when we shoehorn it
  into biology, we're often
  escalating the competition,
  by declaring superiority
  of one group over another.

Suffixing imaginary genetic match
with "ism" isn't always about
old fashioned hate spewed
in the light of day.

  Sometimes it's much more subtle:
  an unspoken framework
  for socioeconomic and cultural mores
  tilting everything in favor
  of predetermined medalists.

    We don't have to ask for it
    or even recognize it
    to be complicit.

  All we have to do
  is deny or ignore it.

It will march on,
grinding unchosen ones
into dust, while anesthetizing
the rest to seductive
and powerful privilege.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

If I Told You…

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... that the earth is round,
or at least nowhere near flat,
I bet you’d believe me.

... the power of love
dwarfs the love of power,
would your heart perceive
enough evidence to agree?

... that fear’s division
can never overcome
hope’s ingathering,
would you dare
to walk this way?

... the economy of scarcity
is a lie exposed
by grace’s generosity,
would you risk investing your life
in your neighbors?

... that news and entertainment
have become commingled
to the point of no return,
would you seek
to set aside both
your predisposition
and your privilege
in order to discern reality?

... the Justice of God
has a twin sister named Mercy,
would you invite them both
to the celebration
that is your life?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


“Free Ears”

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      That’s the sign
     I’m going to hand-letter
    on poster board
   and hang across
  the front of a card table
 near a busy
pedestrian intersection.

Perched behind
 the advertisement,
  I’ll offer an empty chair
    for passersby,
      leaning-in as they
       take a load off,
        giving their stories
         a roost to call home.

   What tale
  would you spin,
 right there in front
of God and everybody?

I might tell
 of the gut-punch
  that overwhelmed me when,
   over a six-week eternity,
    my mom permanently crossed
     from full physical function
      to forever flatlined;

how I lay awake nights,
 bouncing between
  trying to wake up
   from the nightmare,
    and silently plea-bargaining
     with nothing but
      my own life
       and confession as leverage.

      I used to think
     that telling it
    to anyone who’d listen,
  over and over,
 could somehow
change the story.

Then one day
 I realized that I
  was the one changed
   in its telling.

  You don’t have
 to wait for the sign, table,
and chairs to appear.

I keep my free ears
 with me most of the time.

What about you?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Cell Whispering

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There is but
one great conspiracy.

Its name is Love.

In the end, if not
in the beginning,
or at least somewhere
in the middle,
we will all find
that it is true;

at least all of us
who dare to risk
who we’ve been
told to be,
for the chance
to become who the cells
in our deep-marrows
keep whispering
that we’re meant to be;

Yes; true.
More true than anything
past, present, or future.

When we do,
our world will never
be the same.

If we are courageous enough, 
our world never
being the same
will also make
THE world never
be the same.

Let it begin and continue
with me, with us;
now.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Abiding Love

The story of my Malawi-born son, Patrick, was a key part of yesterday’s sermon, titled, “Abiding Love.” Here are a few pictures of Patrick. At the bottom, you’ll find a link to the sermon.

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The sermon link: