When you walk
In the light
Learn from the light
When you walk in the dark
See with new eyes!
You have it all wrong!
I would never be at a distance from the baby.
You would have found us both lying in the straw.
Jesus swaddled in my head cloth lying in the crook of my arms,
my head resting on Joseph’s lap.
Like the night, we were half spent.
Your sanitized crèches don’t honor the
bloody, body-cleaving experience of labor.
I can accept that.
What is unacceptable are the depictions
which have us separate.
No mother would leave her newborn thus.
9 months of mutual presence don’t end with delivery.
Jesus is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
We would not be separated.
Of course I adored him,
but not on my knees as subject to royalty,
although he was of the royal house of David.
I adored him with my eyes, my heart bent
with tenderness and love beyond all telling.
Let the artists draw and the sculptors mold this nativity –
a trinity of connectedness. Three become one.
I wasn’t picking on anyone, I wasn’t purposely excluding anyone.
Except for the rich who could send runners ahead to reserve a spot, literally,
it was first-come, first-served.
Remember – no phone, fax or email.
We are not talking Holiday Inn or Marriott, Hilton or Best Western.
Adobe dwelling with a platform bed and perhaps a window.
No dining room, laundry or indoor plumbing.
Literally, only a place to lay your head.
So when the young man and obviously ready-to-give-birth woman showed up
I did not what any father would want someone to do for his daughter and son-in-law.
I found them warmth and privacy.
I offered them my stable and my wife as midwife.
They were surprised; because the families they passed leaving Bethlehem as they entered
all told them “there was no room in the inn.”
Joseph and Mary gave thanks and settled into the hay and straw-strewn abode – waiting.
“There is a season for everything….”
Thanksgiving falls from the lips in hues of yellow, red and orange. On crisp feet, it roams the countryside and frolics in autumn breezes. It cuts a “V” through the sky traveling great distances on sturdy, steady wings.
Giving thanks lies buried in permafrost, frozen in veins which sluggishly,
reluctantly draw it toward the surface. It crawls up the back of the throat and slips through numb lips. In the frosted air, it shatters like fallen icicles.
Tenderly, tentatively thanksgiving pushes beyond yesterday’s tundra and leans into remembered promises. It breaks through the ready soil and unfolds, petal by petal, in the subtle warmth of spring. It flourishes in newness, freshness and expectancy growing in cycles of hope and grace.
Hot blasts of gratitude, sweaty with sentiment and humid with happiness, flit about. Lightsome and playful, it cascades down the slide of life, tumbles, and rises to begin again. Gleefully spinning and swinging high it pumps possibility and joy into the world.
Such are the seasons of thanksgiving. We don’t choose them. They don’t come in rhythmed, measured cycles. The heart knows the seasons and entrusts them to the Heart that receives them in season and out of season.
To everything…flashes of color or shards of crystal, greenness of shoot or waves of heat, there is a season.
Knowing wood as you did,
did you ever imagine
it would be more malleable
than the human heart?
Did you have fun painting every single one
of the birds after you fashioned them --
a ruby sash around this one’s neck,
a yellow apron across that one’s belly,
bronze dots sprinkled upon another’s dapper wings?
Did you think twice before making geese a little bit mean --
or did you simply like the smooth sound of a throaty hiss
and take delight in making a human child run in fright
to his mama’s arms for some quick comforting?
Did you enjoy curling the tail of your first squirrel
and making him hanker for nuts and seeds
while giving him good strong claws to scamper up trees
to taunt the crows and mingle with bees?
I see you bend and sway
Lift and bow
Dance and flutter
Always open to WIND’S call.
I watch you lose—one by one--
I watch you lose – one by one –
Your lovely colors
To an earthen grave
Always open to AUTUMN’S call.
I see you stand stark naked
a frozen WINTER’S blast
You seem to know
That only after the long letting go
Comes the greening and LIFE
Frenzied to a churning
you always find some
massive rock to beat against
or some stretched shore
-like a mammoth sponge-
To soak up your spill.
I draw my collar closer round
my rage, button in
my pain, and walk the long
quietly-on crepe soles-
always careful to nod
“How are you doing?”
On the path
From which I’ll run
To meet my God.
Lest in fear
I lose my way
“He’s been waiting
With open loving arms.
Now is not the time
To run away."
Mid August cuddled in late summer warmth-
Blue birds, flitting from trunk to tree trunk-
Gold finch, scalping the air waves-
Hummingbirds, zooming in zig-zag pattern-
Lonely Monarch, searching for the last nectar,
knowing no goal for tomorrow-
Nuthatch, house cleaning at base of oak-
Crickets, play their violins in the background-
Smell of acorn and fallen hickory nuts.
No bird song as in Spring.
Only hushed communication of its kind.
Nature, are you also mourning
The close of a season?
Are you saying “Good bye” until another year?
Birds, butterflies, insects bid your paradise adieu.
I look for you come Spring.