Category Archives: writing
“You can make people feel,” he told me. That’s high praise, coming from a world famous poet and a marvelous compliment coming from a person who is in touch with “all the feels.”
But it’s not me “making people feel.” The stories I share and the way I share them is thanks to the people who have inclined me to open the door to my feelings and offered a safe space for me to feel them. It’s my gratitude for these lessons learned, messages communicated, insights shone, and perspectives gained that spills onto the page.
My new book, Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through our Bodies comes out in February. It is a “devotional workbook” for individuals and small groups but not your typical book of devotions. It’s not a daily, Jesus Calling, kind of reading to assure you that Jesus loves you and God will never leave you, though I subscribe to both of those beliefs.
No, this book is really, well, I guess its the product of the practice of writing thank you notes that my mother began in me all those years ago. It started me writing notes to people who I thought deserved a thanking. And not just the canned version:
Thank you for ______.
I’ll use it for _________.
I really appreciate it.
But the real version — the “felt” version — written with the Lord’s guidance, letting a heart that was truthfully grateful take the lead. Somehow, gratitude lets us turn the knob on the door to a passageway we didn’t know existed. It opens onto the hallway of feeling. All feelings. None prohibited. It is a safe zone where trust can abide and healing reigns.
Because feeling can be hard. It can be gut-wrenching and head-spinning, earth-shattering and life-altering. But, it can also be breathtaking and awe-inspiring, heart-healing and life-giving. Life offers us the opportunity to turn the knob and enter in, not knowing what we will find on the other side.
The courage to do this doesn’t come from the author who invites you in, but from the Author of Life who is there to facilitate your discovery. Whatever you find there, I will help you handle. Whatever you need there, I will supply. Because I will be with you in the feeling, the you who emerges will be changed.
I don’t “make people feel.” I invite people, through words birthed in gratitude, to experience their feelings and then to be healed by the only Healer I know whose work lasts forever.
My book is a thank you note to the world. Each page, a person. If it “makes you feel,” I am grateful because I know God’s grace is at work in that space between gratitude and glory.
Sometimes there is a friend, early on, say, in high school, who writes in your yearbook.
Pages and pages, continued here and then over there, with a message that defies time and space.
Dispensing with the cursory, superficial gibberish, this friend heads straight for the truth with words so profound that, at 17 years old, you actually transcribe them so you can call on them again and again. Each time you do, they speak something new.
They planted a seed in me then, and now they reverberate through the ages. It’s as if Jesus Himself spoke to me through this friend.
Today, I have a special prayer for you: I hope that you find fulfillment, and that you are at peace with yourself and God. Because that is what I think is most important, what gives meaning and direction. His love is so great, Dear One, that the very thought of someone who loves me that much, in spite of the cursory lip service and lack of time I give Him makes me cry almost in shame and in joy.
There are so many pressures. After all, you will only be happy if you get straight A’s, hit .400, play at every game, go to every party, attend every Prom, lose 10 pounds, get accepted to five colleges, win a scholarship that covers tuition, room and board, and more or less win honor and glory in every endeavor.
But you don’t have to. Even if you hit .155 or sit in McDonald’s on Homecoming night, or fail every class, God loves you and is proud of you anyway. And that alone is enough to give you courage to stay up an extra hour studying, or keep running for office, or whatever. Someone who loves you so totally deserves never to be let down.
All of my love.
Imagine. A love like this
Journalism reports yesterday’s news.
Like the weather,
it needs no re-cap.
No sense keeping that around.
Fiction tells a good story.
Entertaining, but unless
those characters make a home with us,
one and done.
Poetry bears telling and re-telling,
reading and re-reading.
Poems speak newness,
reading into us, as we are new.
The one we are (the me who reads)
is new, with each reading.
holds no sway over today’s me.
Perhaps, a look and see
at how it affected me.
How I landed there. then.
But today lifts off into a new wind,
under new weather conditions.
Today the poem is a completely new flight.
New flight plan, same pilot.
There is no quenching living words,
they continue to speak:
to draw the heart out
to fill the soul up
to still, no activate, no ignite, no…
distill … can’t make up my own mind,
must let it make itself.
These are powerful words that propel me:
to places I’d never go otherwise,
with people I’d never meet otherwise,
that I came to the poem,
and it met me there
but didn’t leave me there,
didn’t leave me at all.
What is a poet
but one who lives a life that speaks?
Your life speaks.
as you write it —
see how it changes you,
as you write
as they read.