Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

it (still) exists.

There is an unseen cancer, and with plenty of time to roam
It’s fused itself into bone, not simply in homes but in the structures of our own
Zones divided by race and income are just the surface, and should make us nervous
That maybe we’re not as developed as we thought.
But don’t get caught up thinking we’re held down, instead look around
An honest bit of self aware, will beat the kick and snare to drive this rhythm into
A better tomorrow, though it is not yet ours to borrow.

Because sorrow and tears filled years of history,
it’s no mystery that the health and wealth
Of so many including myself are not the same enjoyed by all,
even though all have sinned
It seems opportunities for redemption have thinned if you live downwind
or have the wrong type of skin,
and no one wins when race sets the pace for how much grace
One is allowed. And so, lifting heads bowed,
or coming down from the clouds of denial
we can confess that even if we didn’t make the mess,
it’s ours to offer healing.
There is no sealing off the past
In Ziploc bags and counting them as waste,
no hasty retreat from the racism our feet were born standing upon,
it’s one thing to recognize it’s wrong, and another to want it gone,
and still another take action,
gaining traction as one hand joins another,
sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers,
Pulling back the covers of injustice and schisms,
including all the -isms we’ve been sold as healthy rhythms.
Racism – not just blacks and whites, but a systematic fight for the right to thrive,
and we agree that all lives matter, but to scatter our attention with such chatter
is to lose sight of a brighter light
One that shines on both sides of the tracks, and the fact remains that no matter how much we strain
to prove we treat all men the same, the game hasn’t changed – just the rules,
and fools can see the tools are made for certain hands,
and so we stand and ask for something new.

We move from I believe, to I do.

And the shoes we’re wearing are better suited for old paths,
so in this aftermath we may be asked to walk barefoot as we discover
just what it feels like to press skin to such a ground as we found
we’ve been surrounded by this entire time. It’s a higher climb than we may have thought,
but the fight has already been fought by plenty who came before,
and to ignore their words would be an absurd mistake of the grandiose,
to come so close and look away would be to play dress up,
but our grandchildren ask us not to mess up, they need more than this.
They ask us not to miss a chance to plant seeds,
and dance swiftly toward a healing that must come, and can not from legislation alone,
but starts in our home, as we reach out of comfort zones
to share in the cares of those we were previously unaware.

As we stare deep into our own cares and desires,
we continue to light the fires of selfish ambition that we’ve been wishing
our nation would be rid of once and for all. So we answer the call,
and look up from our own cup, striking up conversation and demonstration
that goes further than the greed of immediate need, but plants seeds for a new tomorrow.
The sorrow of a trampled population set free by compassion of a New Nation,
not simply elation but a joy built on solid Hope
that when we’re at the end of our rope – we are not alone.
We’ve been shown a better way, and offered a brighter day.
It’s not somewhere floating in outer space, it’s right in front of us, and labeled as race.

We may not know exactly how to remove the cyst,
But we know the first step is to admit it exists. Relaxing clenched fists, to open palms
Reminded by the Psalms of a deeper scene,
And pointed there again by a man who had a dream…

Advertisements

of bricks and curtain

Calm before storm, softly lit trees in dim living rooms
Like tombs of years gone before but passed, too fast to grab hold,
Scraping off the mold, like flakes of gold left behind by memories stored longterm
Knocking back the worm you’ve finished the glass waiting to be poured,
Ignored by others, your sisters and brothers but left behind for you to wait, to contemplate,
To exist in a state of mind promising not to bind you to what was, and less thrilled by what is
But this – moment that points to what will be. As still framed artwork from empty hotel tells you
This is the same in every room, every womb that carries expectant moments of hope
For those facing end of rope, for those with unpaid bills, unclimbed hills, or scars from falling down
Look around and find you’re not alone, not abandoned to roam as sea foam washed up on
Empty beaches, previously filled, children laughing at will, sun spilling through the shade of clouds
Too weak to intervene – and somewhere in this scene, you recognize the obscene thing
Is not to have hope, to try to cope, nor is it offensive to be burdened or feel uncertain,
behind the curtain, to to be hurting or elated, you are not fated to endure these moments solo,
To know there are plenty just outside, waiting for curtains thrown wide in invitation
Just waiting for relation’s sails to unfold, ship catching old winds
and launching into waters, departed to places uncharted but together, weathering whatever.
If only all would sever the binds toward such endeavors, instead of cleverly arranging
mortar and brick, in order to trick others into staying just outside their reach, impeaching friendship as a sail not worthy of raising, tasing those who try with shock waves of pride and cold shoulders, boulders way too heavy to entertain, strained to points of breaking simply by taking the chance on the uncertain, and trying to know the you behind the curtain.
So rise up from your position, wishing to be known but sitting on a throne surrounded by carefully crafted kingdom of silence and control, take a stroll through the eyes of someone who wants to know The ways you grow, so show the extro-version, the side you’ve tried to hide,
slide back the door, or at least trade brick for fabric,
A trick which allows you privacy but still parts the way
When seasons sway you toward a day where all seems lost, and cost seems too high
Hope embossed on invitations sent to everyone but you, to do that thing that seems with ease,
Locking your knees, pretending all is fine on center stage,
but with age those dog-eared pages of behavior lose their truth
The proof discovered on the shoulders of others you’ve allowed behind the curtain
I knowing thou, world seeing just how there might be hope for them as well
As swells of hope the waves crashing on shores around, surrounding and flooding
Where you live, the best gifts to give come unwrapped and ready, a steady flow
Of willingness to know and be known, your light shone and self shown
Pulling back covers, recognizing sisters and brothers where previously called “others”,
Remember that knowing a name is not the same as knowing person,
Clicking like is not making a connection, on deeper inspection we find souls thirsty
To interact, to shed the laugh tracks of hundreds to hear one genuine response,
And you – can be a first responder, the first to ponder,
On the scene, showing just what it means to be less obscene in our culture of obscenity,
To not accept the serenity of status quo, simply adding to the flow of what it means to know.
Pull back the curtain, but first your own, letting it be known, we are all wizards on tender thrones
Groaning beneath the weight of creating an image we know can easily shatter
So do something that matters, unfolding sails meant for winds of change,
No matter how strange it may seem, engines filled with steam gleam with polished potential
Powers elemental to our being, much more freeing than scrolling down with feigned elation,
Soften your heart, and set sail your ship to true relation.

another confession.

There’s something I need to confess.  Both personally, and professionally.  It’s happened more than once.  I’m not proud of it.  In fact, one of the reasons I’m putting it into words is to remind myself and others that it’s happened.  It may be happening even now.  I’ll give you a quick story to illustrate:

Once a week, the pastors & staff of our church gather to pray for the needs of our church.  These are “requests” submitted on the “Friendship Folders” found in every pew of our sanctuary.  On Sunday morning, our members do much more than simply let us know they’re sitting in the pew that morning.  Many of them take a moment to ask for specific prayers, and we respond by reading those, and praying.  It’s a really neat thing to be a part of, and I’m usually in awe of the faithfulness of some prayers, and the candid “specificness” of others.  This is usually the longest portion of our Wednesday staff meetings.

After this, we go through an “absentee” report.  This report looks at the attendence records of all our regular attenders, and compiles a list of anyone who has missed 3 times in a row.  That’s usually a sign that something might be happening, and we want to make sure we’re making contact with those we’ve not seen in a while.  Not because “you gotta get in church!!!”  But because we’re a family…and if someone in your family doesn’t show up for a meal-time on a regular basis, love compels you start to ask questions.

thumbsupThat’s when it usually happens.  We’re all reading through the list of names together, and someone asks about a name aloud.  “Does anyone know how ______ is doing?”  More than once, I’ve responded in that moment.  Not out of relationship.  Not out of conversation that you and I had, during which you told me about something going on in your life.  From where, then?  Usually, something I saw posted on social media.  It’s made me realize a truth I need to confess, not only to the attenders of our church, but my own friends and family:

I make claims to “How you are doing” based on information I picked up second-hand.

This is probably not all that big of a deal.  Many of us actually post things online, so that people we’re connected to will know what’s happening in our lives.  It’s kinda the point.  The danger comes, when experiencing “relationship” by way of “information” becomes the default way we begin to relate to those we care about.  Far too many people in our lives want to be truly “known”, and not simply “known about”.  From the most important relationship I have with any human being, my wife…all the way out to someone on the edges of my relationships: we want to be known.  (see Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” to realize this is not a new need)

It’s something many of us realized about God at some point.  To know about Him is not the same thing as knowing Him.  Yet here we are, many of us settling for that same level of relationship with those we care about.  It’s understandable that it happens, really.  With the amount of data that streams into our lives on a daily basis, we are sometimes doing well to even notice the relevant information on those we care about.

Now, I’m not about to “give up” the ability I have to “know about” what’s happening in the lives of so many people….by dumping social media altogether.  But I do think it’s important to remember: information is not relation.

So that’s my challenge for myself:  To have more one-on-one conversations.  To call someone on the phone, and ask how they’re doing.  To look at my spouse across the table, letting go of the “information” I have about what’s happening in her life and genuinely ask as if I don’t know how to answer, “How are you today?”  To let go of the pictures I may have seen of my children posted/sent during the day, and curiously ask them with a smile on my face, “How was your day today??”

What does the challenge look like for you??

%d bloggers like this: