Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “attention

Write the Present

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Only those who can
both see the past
and taste the future,

  are fully equipped
  to write the present
  that God is unfolding.

    I know you wanted
    it to be present-tasting
    and future writing.
    So did I.

      But I’ve had a bate
      of folks trying
      to convince me
      of their flawless
      clairvoyant skills,

    only to be confused
    and disappointed
    by the disconnect
    and ambiguity.

  What I’m hungry
  for now is to feel
  the heartbeat
  of our current story;

to have its rhythm recorded
in rich, lyrical EKG,
so I can trace the peaks
and troughs with my finger,
as my soul relishes
the gift of this day’s life.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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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

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

Savoring

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Sometimes I think
punctuation should be
electrically charged,
to shock us
into slowing down,
when we race through
its intersections
with nary a glance
to either side,
our toes firmly curled
‘round the accelerator.

I’d put a 12 volt battery
on my commas,
just to help you
ingest each phrase,
before wolfing down
the next one.

We read like
we’re starving for words,
but our true hunger
is for meaning,
which only appears
when we savor the text.

Mmmmmmmm!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

No Pockets in a Shroud

IMG_5063Photo by Melinda Dukes

 

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

“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

Glory

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What if glory
is the God-gap:
an overflowing,
nearly-overwhelming  presence
that results from a guilt-free,
jealously-free celebration
of the fundamental distinction
between God and the rest
of the universe?

What if God is glorified
when we rightly perceive
the relationship between
God and all else,
especially the relationship
between God and us?

To do so is to take absolute joy
in this great chasm
precisely because we understand
that it is neither
a measure of our failure,
nor an object to be desired,
but rather an appropriate space
in which God can be present
to, with, and for us.

What if glory
is God’s dance floor?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

A Mom’s Dream

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Mother Earth hopes,
  at the core
    of her molten magma,
      that we will soon wake up

    to the divine declaration,
  proclaimed at the universe’s dawning,
that we are all connected,

and our purpose is
  to pull together,
    instead of apart,

      so we all experience
    a full unfolding
  of dignity, worth, and respect. 

Otherwise, we’ll become
  little more than momentary fireworks
    in a recalculation
      of global proportions.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Yes and No

IMG_8937Photo by Ashley Goad

Let your word be 
‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; 
anything more than this 
comes from the evil one. 
(Matthew 5:37)

Say yes to the rhythm
of your marrow;
yes to walking deliberately;
yes to listening attentively;

yes to considering prayerfully;
yes to speaking gently;
yes to acting compassionately;
yes to holding tenderly;

and as these yeses unfold
into the world,
you will find the wisdom,
strength, and courage
to say no;

no to division;
no to fear;
no to othering;
no to assuming;
no to hoarding;
no to hurrying;
no to spontaneously reacting;
no to violence;
no to abusing;
no to anesthetizing.

Learn the way of yes,
and the way of no
will follow close behind.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Out of Darkness

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We use the word holy
to name that which
we know primarily as pure,
powerful, and other;

mystery, to describe
that which hasn't yet
revealed itself to us;

and sacred, to define
experiences in which
we've been so close
to the holy and mysterious
that we've felt
breath on our necks.

Do we ever experience
any of these anywhere
other than in the dark?

Try to help me remember this
the next time clouds obscure
the moon and stars,
and my knees begin to knock.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins