Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Tree

Linking up here...
Five minutes, uncensored, for the sake of writing.


When I was six and four feet tall
I would escape beneath its bending branches
at recess.

Everybody else could have the swings 
and the teeter-totters.
There was no place like the haven
of the Weeping Willow.

I could pull on its branches
that swept the ground
and still they would not break.
They could bare my weight with ease.

I could disappear into its leaves, 
safe near the trunk of this tree
and be me, vulnerable and free.

I loved that Willow tree.
It was my friend.
Like the way Shel Silverstein personified 
The Giving Tree...
that tree - was my shelter and refuge.

There I could dream
and pretend
and believe in the magic of living.
I could be anything and everything.
I could be alone or with other friends
who embraced the Willow's dare
to see more and be more.

Like Lucy who entered the wardrobe, 
I was transported between the sway
of tearful twigs.
Imagination was alive,
and so was I.

Six years old and four feet tall;
underneath the blessing of a tree.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Night and This Morning

I had worked for hours on classwork.
And still felt unproductive.
Still a list of assignments to complete.

I lay in bed, 
brain whirring, thoughts spinning,
and the all too familiar routine
of finding and magnifying fault and failure.

I prayed.
Long and hard.
Desperate for relief.
But sometimes prayer doesn't usher relief.
Sometimes prayer just reminds me to whom I belong, 
and that belonging isn't conditioned by my worthiness.

I woke up this morning
and not much had changed.
I wanted to keep my eyes shut.
As if squeezing them hard closed would keep the day at bay.
I wanted to put the pillow over my head and disappear.

Just yesterday, my daughter was busy showing herself fully alive.
And today, I just want to curl up and shut out the world.
I don't feel ready to face my day. my responsibilities. my duties.

In the economy of motherhood, I don't get to barter.
Breakfast still needs to be prepared.
Children still need care.
School still needs to get done.
Lunchtime will still come.
PB&J will need to be made.
Life still needs to be lived.

And even on days like today,
when hope is hard to access, 
hope still shouts - albeit from a distance -
that breathing means life
and life means purpose
and I have a choice.

So today, I will lean hard into the One who knows me best
and loves me most
and ask Him to help me choose well. 
To choose life.

And today, life will look like:
      breathing in and breathing out
      taking one moment at a time
      celebrating phonics victories
      PB & J crusts positioned into a square
      finishing a food chain display 
      praying for the people in the Philippines
      the living room transformed into parking lot for toy cars
      siblings playing cooperatively
      biting my tongue that might be dripping with sarcasm
      thinking the best of others, especially the ones with which I live.


And me? I’m a mess. 
I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—
but God, don’t put it off.
-Psalm 40:17 (The Message)

Monday, November 11, 2013

The First Snowfall and Being Fully Alive

She runs diagonal across the yard.
A path trails behind her where her steps have separated the snow.

She plays and pretends.
As if no one else is aware or around.
In the middle of the afternoon 
in the middle of a city, 
in the first snowfall of the season that clings to the ground.

She lifts her face to the sky, 
tongue out,
arms wide, 
unashamedly basking in the glory of the moment.

Her cheeks are rosy as she twirls and spins.
She tears off her leopard fleece hat 
as if the only way to take in the full weight of the moment 
is to feel her hair wet and flat against her scalp.

I quick run, grab the camera 
stand at the schoolroom window
and snap photos.
She is oblivious and beautiful.
And then I hear it, the song-words tumbling from her lips.
The phrase she has been repeating in a rising and descending melody.

"I'm free. I'm free. I'm free."

And from behind venetian blinds, 
this momma-heart soars a little higher
because a daughter today has found wings 
that have flown her to simple and elusive heights of  
just being. dwelling. enjoying. reveling.
Today, a daughter has reminded a mother how to live.

The glory of God is man fully alive. 
- St. Irenaus