Compassion

Let it go, little mamma.

You have deeply entered their pain,

lived it with them,

prayed and suffered.

Their burden is not yours.

You can love

but you cannot hold the whole world

in your heart.

Don’t try to steal God’s job.

Only He, the eternal one,

can bear all the world’s suffering

without breaking to pieces…

Your call now,

is to go dig in your garden

and plant flowers of hope

in the simple brown earth.

Your call is to smile again

and find joy in the little gifts of each day.

Tears have washed you clean.

Now, little mama,

let it go,

trust more,

be silly and laugh again.

Bodies of Water

The trees are so stable,

their moods have such endurance.

They hold on for months

to the bare bitterness of winter,

the silence,

the absence of even a rustling leaf.

Then the trees embrace the sweet joyfulness of spring

in a long coquettish smile,

a blossom-blush lasting months.

Afterwards, the trees sail into the smooth serenity of summer,

wearing their regal wreaths with proud satisfaction.

Even the flaming, flickering colours of fall flash across their faces for months,

the trees, with their moods more stable than mine,

for I am but a tiny body of water

wrapped in skin.

My thinly guarded surface subject to tremors of wind,

the harassment of a sudden hailstorm

or the steady pounding of rain.

I’ve been know to get icicles in my eyelashes

tears of pain frozen before fully released.

Some things are better to let go of quickly.

In all this variable moodiness,

this passionate intensity and depth of feeling,

I am not alone,

for are we not all but small bodies of water

(97% H2O)

wrapped in skin,

the tides in our hearts tugged about by not just the moon,

but by the moods of all the other bodies of water

bumping around us

in this space

that is earth.

Moments of Glory

So many times

life in a large family

is like swimming in the ocean

tossed about by salty waves,

trying to catch your breath between tantrums.

Then there are those moments of glory

when your kids are all getting along

and the baby is sleeping while your eldest girls

do a duet on their ukuleles.

That moment is one of perfect rest,

like you’ve climbed upon a wooden raft,

the waveworn wood smooth against your skin,

the sun’s warm weight on your back.

At that moment you question nothing.

Self-doubt sinks below the waves

and you float there

–happy–

trusting for that moment

that everything is grace.

Beautiful

Yesterday I stumbled across this poem I wrote some time ago for dear friends who had suffered yet another painful miscarriage. As a number of people in our church community have either recently lost young children, or are approaching anniversaries of loss, I decided to share it.

Beautiful the face of a mother,

who suffers and who loves,

endlessly giving her all,

her very self, day and night.

Beautiful the face of a father,

whose word of love has become flesh,

and brought him joy,

and the necessity to serve,

forgetting himself.

Beautiful the hearts of husband and wife,

who give up pieces of themselves,

and let them to walk around outside their bodies,

tugging on their heartstrings

until they break.

Beautiful the sorrow of those who trust in God,

while they ache inside and long for the gift

that was briefly theirs,

but has flown to Heaven.

Beautiful the “Amen’s” that cost us the most,

the letting go,

the giving up what we only loved,

but never owned.

Beautiful the hearts that don’t lose faith,

when all seems cold and incomprehensible.

Beautiful the love that is stronger than death,

that stretches into eternity,

and bursts into God’s light with joyous triumph

on that day of reunion

which is to come.

Spring

Spring is finally here.

The toddler and I are equally happy

digging in the garden

with dirt under our fingernails

and warm sunshine in our hair.

Out in the garden,

I can almost forget my messy house

–rooms cluttered with kids’ clothes and toys–

out here where dirt means not disorder,

but openness to growth

and getting messy is a necessary step

on the path to beauty.

Feather Quills

When the sun sinks into the sea

–a candle snuffed out suddenly–

the silhouettes of palm trees darken

against the fading colours of the sky.

Their leaves become black as crow feathers–

old-fashioned feather quills

writing poetry upon the earth’s dome

among the shooting stars.

My brother Winston took this pic of our brother Monti’s back yard.

Island Lullaby

In Hawaii, the sun sinks into the sea

like a burning golden coin–

you can actually watch it slip below the surface.

The clouds show off their colours:

peachy orange and cotton candy pink,

dark grey accentuated by strips of shining gold.

After it’s done, the sunset hurrah,

deep darkness falls quickly.

The winding island roads are bathed in blackness.

Everything fades away except ohana, family,

the small circle of warmth

around you and and your loved ones,

sipping wine and sharing stories.

With no streetlights to prolong the day,

it soon feels so late and sleepy.

Bed beckons after a day on the beach.

You’re ready for the windy palm tree lullaby,

that endless rustling of phantom rain

that is simply leaves swaying in the starlight.

The crickets convince you to close your eyes and listen.

“Be soothed, be soothed,” they sing.

“Soon enough the sun will return…

rooster will be sure to let you know.

Early and often he will call:

‘Get up! Get up! A new adventure begins!’ ”

Twilight

That lonely hour

between the day and night

between the dark and light

that lonely hour is here

The darkness–not yet complete–

the day–bittersweet–flying away

What could have been or should have been

is over now

My heart’s afloat in this no man’s land

between hanging on, letting go and giving in

accepting that the day was enough

Evening falls on sleepy-eyed dreams of tomorrow

Solitude surrounds me

this lonely hour