writing. these days.

“I know you love words,” my co-worker said the other day as I struggled to properly pronounce a particularly long and awkward medical term.

I do love words.

My earliest memories of words are of pouring over storybooks and McGuffy Readers and learning to pronounce words all on my own.

Learning to write words was even more fun, balancing pencil lead between headlines and baselines, forming circles and script, dotting “i’s” and stringing them all into sentences and paragraphs and poems and papers.

Now words feel scary to pen.

Words have become weapons.

Words are cancel culture and damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t, and what once was a means to painting the world with a pen has become a tightrope of should I or shouldn’t I and if I do I’ll get it all wrong.

Even a poem about the ethereal green of my backyard seems precarious, these hard and awful days.

Virus of hate

Virus of color

Virus of the lungs and the world and

the heart

make everything a risk.

These days.

Storytellers and poets, painters and dreamers, those of us who tread between the real and imaginary, the ideological and the broken, we are the hearts that long to battle and bridge the warring world,

and now

words are hemmed in

by the righteous and self-righteous, and the freedom

to explore

feels like a trap no matter

the heart-

intentions.

And so I am left spent to say,

Lord

Jesus

come

into this mess

like You do best.

Create

in us a clean heart.

search us and know us when we don’t

know ourselves or which way to go.

Show us

the blackest smudges that need erasing in our souls

and wash them clean as new ruled paper,

plain and empty and ready

to write

what the world needs to heal.


“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:19-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Quarantine journals: April 9

432,596 confirmed cases

14,831 deaths

24,245 recovered

*****

I took a walk

around the yard this morning.

Birds sounded louder.

Flowers looked brighter.

The grass glowed emerald

despite the hail that beat it down

hard last night.

How impossible it has been to look up and around and

outside the hyper focused panic of this pandemic,

where mercy reigns

and grace reins in

my wobbly heart.

Last night I sang and sang and sang until

I finally started to believe the words that

We are surrounded

by more than the monster before us. Rather,

we are held

fast by Him.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ESV)

Quarantine journals: April 5

312,245 cases

8,503 deaths

15,021 recovered

*****

I remember

the Sunday school teacher handing out branches,

thick, green leaves rustling like crinoline as we

held back our glee about going to Big Church and

singing and waving for the grown ups

HOSANNA!

How long ago this was, how long ago it seems

we went to church at all.

How hard to find a way to praise this day

when the worst is coming.

Is this how Jesus felt inside as the palm branches waved

in Jerusalem? He knew

His doom awaited.

But still He rode.

Because He also knew the way the story ends.

And so we sing

hosanna

in small voices that tremble.

hosanna.

hosanna.

hosanna.

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!””
‭‭John‬ ‭12:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬