Respecting the awesome power of words!

love

Breathing from the Bottom

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Principles can sometimes
become a rock
for when we cannot stomach
the fluidity and uncertainty
of relationships.

Unfortunately,
they have a tendency
to become millstones,
ridden as high horse,
all the way
to the bottom of the sea,
Titanic-like, demonstrating,
over and over,

that all the rules
we make and adore
run out of oxygen,

and the only way
to breathe as we rise
from the bottom
is to resolve
that love become
our ultimate guide.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Blue

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  “Blue” she says,
cracking that wry smile
  of duplicity, knowing
that it’s my favorite color,
  yet the color of depression,
yet the hue
  of the firmament’s glory.

Through yonder hole
  in clouded angst,
an azure sky peeks,
  unlocking its promise
of hope tinged with despair;

  reminding us
that the cosmos will not —
  cannot — be impeded
by confusion or anesthesia
  or anxiety or fear
or any other collusion
  of diminishment;

revealing the truth
  of life’s trough
and peak continuum
  along which we all ride,
sometimes roller coaster-like,
  and sometimes as gingerly
as a Sunday saunter
  across familiar,
gently rolling hills.

  Riding the wind,
be it gale-force
  or a gentle flutter,
I try to remember
  to tilt my gaze upward,
especially when the shadows
  hang long and dark,
and the road tilts steep.

  “Blue”, indeed.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Acts of the Apostles

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When all the xenophobic ooze
has been pressure washed
from beneath the rocks
where it hid for generations
and swept off the streets
where it has surfaced,
there will come a reckoning.

We can’t just stand by,
silent, while all this hate
and fear foments.

We must act
with integrity and courage.

 Here are some
of the questions
that are being asked:

What happened
to our elected officials?
What happened
to our families of faith?

Unless we act decisively
and immediately, our faces,
our names, our reputations
will go down as ones
who sold out our country
and its people.

Is this the way
we want history
to remember us?

Is this the seed
God planted
in our hearts?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Sunrise

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     Drama fades because
     its artificial anxiety
     is unsustainable.

    Fear fizzles
    as its combustibles
    are identified
    as priceless gifts
    of creation.

   Hatred, however,
   will need
   to be dismantled
   piece by piece,

  as, first,
  Listening stands in,
  then Love sits patiently
  but yet insistently,

 refusing to budge
 until the shadow
 in the distance
 is recognized
 as a neighbor
 in need
 of the same things
 for which we all
 hunger and thirst:

respect and dignity
with a side
of understanding
and appreciation.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

euCHARISto

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(Sine Nomine 10.10.10 with alleluias)

 

For all the saints
who by their labors strive,
we give you thanks, O Lord;
they’re keeping us alive.
With bread and wine
they break and pour out love.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

May we, O God,
follow their sacred lead,
becoming loaf and cup
in thought and speech and deed.
They nourish us with Christ,
the heav’n descended dove.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

Bless and then break,
pour out to go and share;
may we Christ’s body be
to people everywhere.
Let us go out
into the whole wide world.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Which One?

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     Hate thumps matches
     across the strike-plate,
     flinging infernos
     into a tinderbox
     of anxiety and self-loathing.

    Hope plants seeds
    across the charred landscape,
    sure that love will triumph,
    and grace will resurrect.

   Which one will you follow?
   Which one will be
   your modus operandi?

  #lifeisachoice

 Make it daily, even
 moment by moment.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

The Other Side

IMG_5148Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

A Mark 4 version of “Just as I Am.”

Just as he was, he left to go
toward people that he did not know.
Courage within, mercy to show,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

As storms arise, disciples’ dread
fills every heart, and every head.
While all believe they’ll soon be dead,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

The other side, always his plan;
respect and hope go hand in hand;
love for each woman and each man;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

Out in the streets he now is found.
Forgiveness creates holy ground;
his grace is flowing all around;
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

He whispers now his plaintive call
to risk ourselves as storms befall,
and join him, off’ring self for all,
peacefully in the boat he sleeps.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

GEM

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        He said, “God is
        a Good Enough Mother.”
        Then he ‘splained:

      A GEM gives birth to you,
      nurtures you, protects you,
      and makes you the center
      of her universe until
      you start learning how
      to take care of yourself.

    This begins somewhere
    between the ages of 2 and 3. 
    This is where a GEM’s focus
    and methods change.

  Now, she must help you see
  that you are NOT the center
  of ANY universe, but you are
  connected to other people
  and all of creation,
  and she teaches you
  that you exist to care
  for the world and ALL its people;
  that you will find existential meaning
  in becoming a nurturer, yourself;

that making other people’s lives better
will bring you far greater joy
than using them to make
your life easier, more comfortable,
and more secure;

that you will more fully
comprehend love
when you can both
voluntarily give yourself
for others and allow yourself,
in vulnerability, to be helped,
not by those you coerce,
but by those
who choose to help you.

  If we’ve never made it past
  believing we are
  the center of the universe,
  we cannot stomach anyone
  who won’t go to any length
  to make us look and feel divine.

    We are still holed-up in Eden,
    munching the hell out of
    the fruit of the tree
    of the knowledge of good and evil,
    completely ignoring the reality
    in front of our faces,
    and firmly convinced
    that the serpent was right —
    consuming this fruit
    has made us gods!

      We’ll half-heartedly inhabit lives
      of noisy desperation, stumbling
      from one litigation to another,
      never having the courage
      to admit we ever
      did anything wrong.

        As long as we’re never made
        to see our connection
        to the rest of the universe,
        we’ll continue to rewrite reality
        to fit our own needs.

      We need to cultivate a lot more
      GoodEnough Mothers
      who’ll help us realize
      the universe doesn’t spin
      on our axis.

          We have enough serpents;
          too many, even.

© 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

 


Breathless

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     He goes to the meeting
     like it’s any other meeting,
   because he’s the one
   who’s supposed to be in charge,
maybe even the one to whom
some people look for answers.

     He knows he has to tell them,
   and he has to do it quickly,
but he doesn’t know how.

     So he opens the meeting with a story;
   not the once-upon-a-time kind,
but a story nonetheless.

     Using third person pronouns,
he distances himself from reality.

     It’s a painful story about a family
     who looks, on the outside,
   like they have it all together;
   but, inside the walls,
things are crumbling
more than anyone else knows.

     A teenage child has drifted away,
     raging on the inside,
   yet also indicating
a willingness to end it all.

     Having been in a lockdown
     adolescent psych unit
     for therapeutic intervention
   for several days now,
   tonight is the first time
   their child will have the privilege
to call home;
but there’s no guarantee.

It’s up to the child.

     For the story’s painfully
     twisted ending, he says,
   “This is a story about me.
   I am going home
   to be with my wife
and sit by the phone,
hoping it will ring.”

     He gets up and walks out,
   feeling as if
   he’s fighting his way
out of a vacuum,
gasping for breath.

     That’s the day a church  
   became acutely aware
   of its need to minister
to its pastor and his family.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins