Exchanging Letters 3

God,

I know the difference between talking about you and engaging with you. I also know which activity is easier. A similar concept is reading about writing and actually getting butt in chair and fingers dancing on the keys.

I’ve been thinking about third person. Do you observe the world from a third person angle? Sometimes I feel as though I’ve lived my life in third person. I live a shave away from wholeness, and see myself pouring the coffee, but hear no sound thereof. I report the life around me as a proof I might just exist. I joke with my family as I scan the obituaries for my picture, then shake my head…”I’m still here!”

So there’s the parallel on how I feel you operate and my own function under the sun.

Hmmm.

There are so many ways to try to reset the dislocation of my heart, spirit, soul, spirit, with the world spinning around me. But there is a simpler way. There has to be. I hear Jesus’ words “come unto me and I will give you rest.” Peter stepped out of the boat, and Thomas was encouraged to poke around the resurrected body of the Lord. I wonder which of the disciples I take after. I lean toward doubting Thomas with a dash of the denying Peter, but long to be like the disciple Jesus loved. John.

Love, Jerry

 

Jerry,

I see you. There is a simpler way. I am the way. Your dislocated feeling is understood. I too want engagement, not a third person detached rhetoric. I want your heart. Remember that dreary rainy day way back when? The day you walked up a driveway with a package and engaged me with a question? You asked me if I loved you. I sent a breeze through a row of pine trees and whispered “yes.” I knew you and one of your favorite things…the sound of wind through thousands of needles.

I see your fear. I feel your resistance to releasing control. I know you struggle with being labeled as one of ‘those’ kind of Christians. I got you. I get you. Bring those thoughts to me like you are doing right now. I can handle them. I Am, you know. Take a deep breath.

By the way, living in third person isn’t always a bad thing. That’s how creatives are wired. They help those whose don’t know their need to stop and smell the roses to consider doing so. I sent someone Saturday night to tell you those very words to encourage you.

Love, I Am

Dad. Father. Good to hear from you.

I talked to God the other day. Seems weird to admit. I mean, shouldn’t people of faith be talking to God every day? What about praying without ceasing and all that?

I’ve got a confession to make. (as if I haven’t made one already) I function like a closet agnostic. I struggle with the earthly father, heavenly Father connection. The string theory which ties our experience of our child/father relationship and projects those belief systems onto God. You know, like the child who grows up with an angry dad and only receives the Bible verses of the vengeance of God. Or the girl who grew up being sexually abused by dear ole dad and sees God as a God of conditional love.

My story involves a man who was a middle child, a poster middle child. He had an older brother who became a priest in a strong Catholic family, and a baby sister who went into nursing. My dad was just a fireman. Today that would be a distinction par hero, but then not so much. He grew up scrunched between two bookends that held their parents esteem.

I don’t remember much connection with my dad. He was busy providing in an era when bringing home the bacon was the only requirement. I struggle with the same tendencies. In the area of work ethic, my dad’s example was impossible to miss.

Anyway, last week I caught myself praying for connection with God, so I could be more connected with my family. In a big family like ours it seems I would trip over connection by simply walking in the door. Connection takes effort, awareness, and intention.

Last week in a tense portion of my work day a Micheal W. Smith song popped into my brain and looped for an hour or so. I hadn’t heard the tune in quite a while. The refrain kept circling. “Your grace. Your grace. I’m nothing without you.”

I texted my wife the words. We both love Smitty. Her response was “Love him!!!!” I texted back “I wasn’t even listening to anything and this song just popped into my head and dad’s talking to me.” I had meant to write “God’s talking to me” but autocorrect put dad in there.

Sometimes it’s the little things eh?

Have you ever heard from God in a personal way?

 

 

Digress, Die!

I want to keep distance.

Stiff arm the collective

and wave you over for tea.

 

I want exclusive and inclusive

to come out on the floor

and step into a rhythm.

 

I want it both ways.

Doesn’t everyone secretly

want their cake and…

 

I’m sure Theo is logical

and offers tea and cakes.

Why wouldn’t he?

 

When more than one you

shows up for the discussion

my neck starts hurting

 

from the back and forth

discussion of true

spirituality between you.

 

Fear has closed my mouth

and you two rattle on

in front of my indecision.

 

You can’t make this horse drink.

Behind your backs, though,

I take sips of this and that.

 

I sit in a silent slice of hope

that Theo will moderate

the mystery of love.

Shoulders. A Poem.

They talk about chips and weight and coldness.
On my shoulders rests nothing,
it’s the tense sinews and dehydrated fibers
in them radiating down to the blades like a bread line
from the thirties, tattered and wrung by despair.

I suppose they would better slump than lay
like a plank above the chambered muscle,
stiff, stubborn, automatic, like a blink.
Should I pay attention, I will them to bow down.
They give momentary prayers to pacify.

Then back up and perpendicular they set like a beam.
It is their fall-back position, default mode,
and I ignore their stance at attention,
I refuse to return their salute.
I carry on

until an arm rests atop my neck and shoulders
and the pressure, the presence reminds me
although I experience loneliness, I am not alone.
“Leave me alone” as I squirm out from underneath,
as if that were possible.