Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “relationship

Smoldering

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Perhaps, love can be
broad and wide,
the way fields of wheat
slowly stretch across
the Midwest plain,
meting out their grain
as daily Eucharist.

But it can also be
deep and swift,
like a fierce river
cutting through a canyon,
washing us downstream
toward an ocean of delight.

It seems, for any given
person, place, and time,
we neither get
to choose the terrain
on which their love finds us,
nor when it takes flight,
winging toward tomorrow,
fragmented pieces
of our hearts in tow.

Ours is the task
of withstanding
the cavernous echo
of its passing,
cobbling together
a sense of hope
from the memories
and ashes of a flame
no longer burning.

Ours is also the call
to add the wood
of our own bones,
while we still can,
to the fires
of those around us,
in hopes
that our own embers
may somehow
help to kindle
others’ remembrances
of grace sufficient
for opening hands and eyes
to resurrection.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Whataboutism

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Lord, deliver us
from whataboutism
in all its forms,
both used for or against
the ideas/people safely ensconced
within the parameters
of our confirmation bias.

  Dare us, as humans
  on this journey together,
  to neither deflect
  from the present
  nor shirk responsibility
  for the past.

    Instead, we pray,
    give us courage
    and fortitude
    to do the right thing
    now, and do it next,
    again and again,

    without the need
    to point toward
    another person, place,
    and time
    where fear, hatred,
    and ignorance prevailed,
    as if that were, somehow,
    an excuse for
    serial repetition
    of the same, similar,
    or a counterbalancing stupidity.

  Help us, O holy one,
  to find our footing
  on the Grace Highway,
  somewhere in the broad lane
  between the conviction
  of history’s blindness
  and the overflowing fountain
  of divine mercy.

Give us, O God,
compassionate strength
and peace in our marrow
to plumb the depths
of our connected condition,
that we may climb,
together,
toward a road higher
and more sacred
than the one on which
we currently find ourselves.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Hunger

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We thought that accumulating
a treasury of resources,
regardless of the cost to others
and to the planet,
would somehow soothe
the hunger in our souls.

What we failed to recognize
was the depth of need
in our marrow,
and the reality
that this ravenous maw’s desire
could only be satisfied
by listening to and integrating
the narratives of other people
into our own stories.

Thus, the hospitality
of open ears and hearts
becomes the divine gift
through which
lives are intertwined,
famine is abated,
and the cosmos’ heartbeat
is extended.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Glory’s Spread

J48NQ0yGRy2wfnhhvJnmcQPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

Our Invitation to the Table 
at FPC Greeneville, TN, 
on November 11, 2018, 
tying together Mark 12:38-44 
(exposing the scribes’ power mongering 
and the widow’s mite) 
and  the Table.

 

Yes, I, too, thought
  this was about
  the propagation of a —
  if not THE — divine attribute;
specifically about how I
  was called to participate
  in sacred — if not holy — ways,
  in slathering divine beauty
  all over the global landscape;

until she conjured up
  Eucharistic images,
  and even snapshots
  of everyday tables
(which are, by the way,
  anything but ordinary)
  to which I have been invited:

ones where bread and wine
  have been prepared,
  ones where love and forgiveness
  have been dared,
  ones where grace and mercy
  have been shared.

That’s where I began to see
  how little of this
  is about my worshipful mind
  and the sacred music I sing,
  and how much of it’s about
  when and where I’m kind,
  and the hope I reflect and bring;

and how often I miss
  its rich nutritional feast
  by overlooking
  the outcast and the least;
and when I gorge and stuff,
  how the processed junk
  is never enough.

And there before us
  rests glory’s spread,
  at table where Christ
  is sacred head;
meal not so rich
  with scarcity’s gap,
  as fullness poured
  into each lap;
always room
  for one more there;
help your neighbor
  pull up a chair.

We’re all invited
  as we’re able;
one and all,
  come to the table!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Dis-couraged

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My mind could not
    wrap around the unraveling
  of the plans I’d made,
so orderly and logical were they;

but far more than that,
    it was the way their unfolding,
  in my imagination,
  made me feel so majestic,
    so accomplished,
    so free, soaring above
  the daily fracas of life,
    the way an Amway sales pitch
  paints for you a Rockwellian portrait
  of contentment and success,
    not only in the end,
but even in the middle of it all.

It was as if
    a ginormous asteroid
    struck my world without warning;
  the cavernous crater left behind
bore the curse word, “cancer.”

She had so many years left,
    or was supposed to,
  and I had even more;
or did I?

I thought my heart had stopped.
    I knew it had broken
  into more fragile and jagged pieces
than I ever thought possible.

That was 1986,
    and here we are,
  32 years gone by;
  many twists and even
a few wrong turns.

If you had shaken
    your little snow globe back then,
    and shown me
  what’s around me now —
    who’s around me —
  I would have laughed out loud
  at the absurdity of it all,
    staring in disbelief
  until the last flake drifted
  through the heavy liquid
to the faux ground.

But here we are,
    aren’t we?
    You and I surrounded
  by a great cloud of witnesses;
  our hearts blessed, broken,
    poured out, over and over,
  forever being pulled
  toward someone else
    with whom the gathered fragments
can be shared.

Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord 
who goes before you. 
He will be with you; 
he will not fail you 
or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Prop and Gander

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When truth is a fire
  too hot for us to handle,
  whether it’s because
  we’re unable or unwilling
  to see its unadorned self
  standing right in front of us, or 

we’ve been seduced by any
  of the myriad alternative blends
  of ego and comfort,
  we are likely to tip
  our hand by confession
  cloaked in accusation.

Unable to avert our gaze
  from self-worship,
  we confuse our own beguiling
  with the actions of others.

It is here, from the perch
  where we feel authorized
  to prop and gander,
  that we conjure
  the smoke and mirrors
  of propaganda.

Deliver us, O God,
  from the claws of such
  self and other deception;
  keep us from the destruction
  of self and other decapitation,

for we are sore in need
  of a powerful tincture
  of honesty, authenticity,
  and integrity.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Violation

bd6BayazQKCRp1RXTD+wDgPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

 

Your courage is inspiring.
Never underestimate
or forget that.

  I feel a fire.
  At first I believe
  it is yours only;
  the coals of anger
  and rage, fueled
  by violations
  and their attempts
  to dehumanize you.

    After I stand uncomfortably
    near the heat
    for a while,
    my bare feet blistered
    from its remnants,
    I realize that I do not
    want it to be yours alone.

  I want — I need —
  for it to be mine;
  not because doing so
  will reveal the depth
  of your ache in ways
  I can fully comprehend;

but because a candle
flickers in my dreams,
dawning on me,
like the sun rising
across distant mountains,

  casting both light and shadows
  on my own identity,
  revealing a painting
  of worth and healing
  that is inextricably woven
  into this inferno.

    In morning’s light,
    I realize that we
    must have worth together,
    or we will have
    no worth at all.

  I know that my tears
  will not cool, much less
  extinguish the blaze,

but I also know
that their flow
is the path
that connects us,
not only to one another,
but also to the selves
of dignity and respect
for which we were created.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

New Chapters

fullsizeoutput_2733For all of you who’ve had to hang out at the Chemo Bar for too long, thinking you’d already heard “Last call!”, but now have learned you need “One more round.”

 

The previous chapters
weren’t all that bad;
in fact, many
of them quite delightful.

  Yes, there were parts
  we’d like to have rewritten;
  but the boat’s no longer
  in that bend of the river,
  and we’re using our fresh ink
  on here and now.

    Though we had hoped
    not to write
    another one that includes chemo,
    it looks like that’s the story
    that still needs to be lived.

      So, in its living,
      we will write.

    We’ll write about care,
    for it will be taken.

  We’ll write about love,
  for it is the craft
  in which we’re carried.
  We’ll write about grace,
  for it is the river.
  We’ll write about hope,
  for it is tomorrow’s memory,
  slipping into our dreams at night,
  calling us toward one another.

For this and every chapter,
O God, we give you thanks.
Amen.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Together

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If I told you we’re together,
would you believe you weren’t alone?
If I gave you space for breathing,
could we make it on our own?

If your tears fell on my shoulder,
could we find a way to talk?
If I listened to your story,
could we find a way to walk?

If we steady one another
when the road is steep and long,
can we journey toward a village
where we know that we belong?

If the rain falls hard upon us,
so you cannot see my face,
will you listen to the whisper
of the wind as it speaks grace?

If the sun slips from the mountain,
and stars hide behind a cloud,
will you tilt your ear toward heaven
as your name is called aloud?

When I tell you we’re together,
please believe we’re not alone.
When you’re given space for breathing,
we will not be on our own.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Neighborhood

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The universe is a neighborhood
into which we've been poured.

Fear convinces us to shrink,
control, protect, and gate our lives.

Grace welcomes us to expand,
release, free, and open ourselves to love.

The former choice leads
to the creation of enemies and despair;
the latter, to the creation
of neighbors and hope.

To whose invitation
are you responding today?
How's that working out for you?

When people are used
and things are loved,
we become tight-fisted
possessives of our possessions,
and our fearful exclamation is,
"There goes the neighborhood!"

When people are loved
and things are used,
we are able to become gently-holding
stewards of possessions,
and our joyful exclamation is,
"Here comes our neighbor!"

© 2018 Todd Jenkins