Category Archives: poetry

There’s a light in our darkness

I didn't see the light left on. 
It was such a small beam directed downward.
A task light, meant to illuminate
what was cooking, to give a
progress report on the scrambled eggs
which had been long since consumed.
I didn't see the light left on. 
What with the sun's rays drowning it in their showy display,
splashing their way across the fingerprint-streaked kitchen appliances and reflecting onto the floor,
where yesterday's crumbs mixed with this morning's paw prints all clamoring to be cleaned.
I didn't see the light left on. 
The overhead luminescent so immediate and far-reaching.
The days' news face-up, unwilling to wait with its urgent communications,
and night-before items strewn, awaiting retrieval,
while two impatient hounds whine their displeasure
from sleeping quarters half-a-room away.
I didn't see the light left on. 
Those perpetual under-the-cabinet LEDs so unforgiving!
Every corner exposed, every surface uncovered.
"Coffee's ready!" insists a tiny green light, dismissing its "2:00 AM" digital display.
Little liar. Pay no attention to the coffee pot clock.
It used to brew on command, back in the day.
I didn't see the light left on
until it was time to leave; and I
switched off the overheads,
extinguished the LEDs and
bid the sun's rays farewell as they moved mercifully
onward taking their attentions and affections elsewhere.

"Excuse me," beckoned the light,
its beam still focused on its solemn assignment --
standing sentry over the cooking coils,
long cooled and fully forgotten.

until the darkening dared it to proclaim itself.

"I'm still here."
I wonder what else I am not seeing,
drowned as it often is in the invading ambient light.
I wonder what else I am not hearing, 
quenched as it often is by the parading ambient noise.
I wonder what else I am not sensing, 
habituated as I've become to the pelting of ambient turmoil.
I wonder what I might discover, if
I let myself attend to the light left on:

Its dedicated beam
Its resolute stare

Its stalwart attention
Its deep concern

What is it trying to show me?
what is it trying to tell me?
What is it dying to say?
Perhaps only darkness could bring this to light.  

We play who we are

There are always a few loud ones. Have you noticed? And we were sitting at the table next to them.

Since it was also the night before the community pickleball tournament, my husband pointed them out to me. “That’s Tim sitting with Sheila (whose names have been changed to protect the innocent). You’ll see them playing tomorrow.”

I sure did, but before I saw them, I heard them. And when I saw them play, it confirmed what I have often observed about how we play: we exhibit who we are — especially when there’s something on the line… like a pickleball championship (!!) There was absolutely no quietness to Tim or Sheila, both of whom slammed the ball full out, every chance they got.

So this had me wondering, who am I … when I play? when I compete? when it’s all on the line? Because, if I’m honest with myself, I’m probably pretty much the same in every venue. And truthfully, the days’ news of Russian troops and rolling tanks into Ukraine has me pondering this. Who would I be in the face of missiles launched, bombs dropped and miles and miles of incoming tanks? For these people it is most certainly all on the line.

I have the luxury (for now) of considering this in a speculative way. If we’re calling this a contest, what are my tendencies? How do I play when it’s merely this year’s trophy on the line?

***

I am endurance. 
I'll wait you out.
Wait until you make a mistake, hit it long or wide or into the net. 
I won't capitalize on your mistake. 
I'll let you make the unforced error.

I am endurance. 
Built to last. At least to outlast you. 
That's the way I win. The only way I win. 
I am willing to suffer the indignities of the assault 
in the hopes I am sustained for the win. 

I am endurance. 
My goal is to finish the race -- not necessarily first -- 
I'm not aiming to beat you. Just running with you ...
until I can push the pace and can run ahead. 
Don't be fooled, I'm fiercely competitive, just not aggressive. 
Never "for the win" at all costs. That costs me too much. 
Never "by any means necessary." That would cost me my very soul. 
My soul's not for sale.

I am endurance. 
I'm playing the long game. Because that's my strong suit.
It's who I am. It's how I wake up in the morning.
Surely, it's how I'm made.

Just wondering here, 
who I'd be if it was all on the line.
Could I wait for you to falter?
Could I hope for you to desist?
Could I trust you to come to your senses?
Could I endure in the face of all this?
I am endurance, but endurance does falter.
Endurance doesn't always win. 

Could it be that God is endurance, too? 
Willing to lose so many while He waits?

Sometimes I wish God would just use that mighty put-away shot, 
you know?

What the Body Knows it Remembers

My legs are a-wobble. Every half a step forward, a good bit sideways I go. Trying my best to stand still, I list to one side and then the other. Closing my eyes, I teeter — no, not exactly teeter — I tip, lean, crest a wave and recover to ride the next and the next. I roll.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not impaired — neither drunk, nor woozy. I’m fully awake, fully aware, fully cognizant, all systems go. It’s just that my body’s balancing system thinks it’s still aboard the ship where I spent the last week. In spite of all my other senses saying, “See, you’re on pavement. Solid ground. Perfectly still. Nothing’s moving,” my body isn’t buying it. It’s tuned into its own channel, plugged into its own input source, trusting its own instincts.

Funny, I have queried others who were aboard the boat with me and none have experienced this sustained rocking. My husband was totally terrestrial the moment we came ashore. Other friends had perhaps a day or two of remnant “sea legs.” But I rock and roll a good long while. Only over multiple days of walking on terra firma, will my body return to its former stride; the old way, the boring but steadfast, the everyday way.

Just between you and me, I prefer the rhythm of the waves. There is just something in me that finds home there. I wonder if rhythm is my default sensation.

It served me well on our expedition from the ship over to Espanola Island where paths were pretty treacherous: big rocks and very unsure footing. At first, my sneakers kept slipping; the harder I tried to find just the right foothold, the more unsteady I became. But when I found my footing by hip-hopping, one-two-ing, left-righting from one rock to the next, I kept my balance. Cha-cha-cha. Was anyone else feeling the rhythm or grooving to the beat? Probably not. Yes, embarrassing. Don’t tell them.

But here I am, a full week ashore and still rocking my sea-legs. Am I just made differently?

Makes me wonder if my first language wasn’t words, but movement. Before we speak, we move. Why can’t that be our native tongue? Can’t you just picture the moment? The Creator thinks, hmm, this one’s gonna think in motion. And not random motion but guided motion and choreographed motion. She’s gonna respond in motion and understand in motion. When she sees someone move, she’ll move, too. When she’s stumped, she’ll untangle things on the move. It’ll stay with her. It’s the way I’ll speak to her.

Why wouldn’t the one who created the winds and the waves, the storms and the calm, the rhythm and the rocking, sow this into us as well?

I must say, the rocking is gentling so I’m not in a hurry for it to go. It has a language of its own. Seems to speak in a very old tongue from the ancient of days, from before days, perhaps even before time, when that language of love that holds and rocks and caresses and cares spoke creation itself.

Before there was light by which to see 
and air through which to hear;
Before there was land on which to stand,
and an expanse of sky to draw our gaze upward;
Love was in motion.

Surely, it was.
And still is.
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