When I was eight
I found a treasure
Hidden in a nook.
(God bless the faithful
Women who told me
To go look.)
How could a child
Judge value or
Barter to buy gold?
The Merchant schooled me
To Himself and
Gave me all the trove.
Stomach Bug came calling in the dark of night;
That’s his favorite hour and he hits it just right.
Tossed awake by rancid dreams of the gumbo she had eaten,
She squinted at the clock – just 11:57.
So commenced a swooning night on a neon fair ride,
Gumbo burnt and gumbo greasy, gumbo served on every side.
In delirium it’s so important to know how he got in,
Buggy handle? Public bathroom? Slithered in the dryer vent?
Finally darkness turns to blueness; day, against all odds, has dawned.
Hope renewed, our patient tries to tell her body it is wrong.
“You aren’t really sick, get on up and get to work!”
Stomach Bug checks his schedule, settles in with a smirk.
On the couch, that staunch companion of many diseases,
Our patient sinks and soars. And sweats. And freezes.
All these could be endured except for one tiny detail:
Her husband’s Saturday project list must not fail!
Doors slam, drills whir, sparking sockets are changed,
Racks removed, studs knocked for, and the junk drawer rearranged.
A quilt over the head doesn’t silence progress’s racket,
Stomach Bug considers giving up and calling a taxi.
But he doesn’t.
Flexibility is the jewel of youth.
I am not young.
Nevertheless, I can roll with it
If the road requires –
Provided certain non-negotiables:
Good coffee, hot shower.
Otherwise, I am Thor Heyerdahl.
I love my children and those I have adopted.
Settled happiness is listening to
Insights and laughter
From the offspring of my youth.
I love mountains. Earth above me is
I love Montreat mountains – Assembly Inn,
Hewed from the rocky side of the bowl that
Holds Lake Susan, cold air straight from
God’s pure storehouses into my hot lungs,
Frost on every brown leaf under the laurels.
I love going to another church and singing –
No, shouting! –
Receiving the sermon from the lips of
A man of God, deep conviction and
Deeper healing. Oh! Thank you, Lord!
I love my in-laws. What I learn from them is,
As another said, A long obedience in the
Same direction. We love to think compromise
Is smart. They teach me it is not.
I love beauty. My heart sings of the beauty of
Antique stores – tiny cream pitchers in striped
Stoneware, sideboards chalk-painted buttercream
Leaving dark cherry exposed. Deep
Knowledge that time is fleeting and I am too.
I love a table of shared food – green curry in my
Daughter’s first home. Bennet Avenue by
I love my children’s loves. I am speechless over
Their finding their soul’s friend.
I love traveling with Andrew. How many times we
Laugh and say, I was JUST thinking that!
I love going. Well, I hate packing with a
White hatred. But, I love the first vista of
Smoky blue mountains just past Knoxville.
I love woodsmoke and
That fall sun that both slices and mists.
I love the quilt on the wall at
The Yellow Deli – two-inch squares of
Upholstery fabric become, in the hands
Of the artist, a window onto a creek bank,
Shadowy undergrowth and light-tipped leaf,
Silver water over moss and rock bed, and all from
Crushed velvet sofa scraps.
I love hearing God tell me that
He is my rock and I am the
Apple of his eye; I can hear him deeper
When I’m on the road.
Psalm 17 and 18
Coffee too strong? Ah. Good.
I can make it an Americano
If you need me to.
This? Pumpkin bread –
It’s a November thing.
I did, yes, have a question for you,
And I’m really asking.
Why did you choose not to see?
If you had listened even for a minute . . .
You would have actually understood
And not just thought you did.
But you didn’t. You dared instead
To lecture Jesus on the meaning of
Words He wrote.
And you could not have possibly
Gotten it more wrong.
You were striking a path, looking at
The wrong map,
Fighting in the wrong war,
Working very hard at building destruction,
Shoring up your pride with
Dry rot and sand,
Foaming and sweating
In a madman’s fit
Like all our classic tragic characters.
I watch you, cringing through my
For right in front of you stood
Righteousness offering itself free
For the taking,
But you couldn’t because you had
And I am right there beside you, but for the
His ‘Come to Me’ came and got me.
It came with power not resistible and it
Resurrected this buried soul. It loved my
Dry rot and pride and foam and sweat
Into tears of awe.
I’m telling you what it did,
But I cannot tell you how,
Except that He is Lord of heaven and earth.
Matthew 11 and 12
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28 – 30
If I have ears to hear what this teaches, thank you, Lord, giver of ears.
If you hold out your hand and cry, Come, thank you, Lord, beckoner of undeserving souls.
If I am called to humility, to service, thank you, Lord, yourself, gentle and lowly.
If I can learn from you, thank you, Lord, the first fruits, the go-before, the vitality.
If your yoke is to be mine, thank you, Lord, the king.
If your yoke is easy, thank you, Lord, my father.
If your yoke is the privilege of sacrifice, thank you, Lord, rejoicer in joy set before you.
If the sacrifice is planned and agreed upon by Triunity, thank you, Lord, sovereign savior.
If the result is exceeding joy, thank you, Lord, author and audience to all our joy songs.
I can’t go to Jerusalem today –
Coated as I am in failure and shame.
Doesn’t Satan chortle, if chortle he is able,
Leading royal children to the hired hands’ table.
Get your pincers off me, Satan; you’re lying!
My King waits for me, open-armed and smiling.
Looking up at the arched window above
The pulpit, singing ‘Rising, He justified,
Freely forever,’ I am pierced; I don’t
Live like I believe what I sing.
Freely? Nothing is abundant.
Things. Run. Out.
But sometimes on a Sunday, in that
Set apart hour, amongst the beams
And pews, beside family,
I believe. Freely! Such a long list
Of what is free to me. Such an impossible
List for me to want or to receive, a
Not-of-this-world list – soul’s rest,
Everything that enables me to believe the
Promise so unreservedly that I come
Boldly! Freely and boldly. What kind of
King gives free and welcomes bold?
What kind of love?
Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church