“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah
Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak, but Thou art mighty
Hold me with Thy powerful hand”
—William Williams (Welsh minister and hymn writer/composer)
1745

“..for when I am weak,
then I am strong”
But I am a wounded warrior
A baby’s gentle breath
I am blown into the heavens
As dandelion fluff
I sail on a Summer breeze
Kissed by a child
Never sure which wish
Wispy and floating
Will grow into a yellow flower

“Please and Thank You”

February 12, 2020

Once upon a time
Not too many years ago..
I rushed from a busy hospice schedule
And lifestyle in metro-Atlanta
To my favorite place on earth
St. Simon’s
The Golden Golden Isle

Burger King was my destination
On my way to the beach
To satiate my Coke Zero addiction

I ordered at the drive-through
Spoke into the speaker
“One large Coke Zero with light ice.”

Here was the response I received
From the woman through the speaker:
“Please and Thank You.”

Boy, did she jerk me up!
I had forgotten my manners
In my rush from a crazy world
Where everyone hurries
And manners are often neglected,
Forgotten, maybe don’t seem to matter
Anymore.

But don’t they?

Now—as you might imagine—
You better believe
No matter the hurry I’m in
(And ‘hurry’ is my pet peeve,
I hate it!)
I NEVER forget to say “Please and Thank You”.

So, thank you, sister of St. Simon’s
For the vital reminder of
How important good manners still are.

And dear reader,
Thank YOU for reading..
And also..
Would you please remember your manners
As you help others remember theirs?

God bless us all
As we try our best to cope
In a frantic, frenetic world

Conversation on a Balcony

February 8, 2020

“Is that Sojourner Truth?”
I asked in struck surprise
She was sitting on the ledge
outside a gathering
high above the street
feet dangling
I climbed out the window
and sat next to her
“Are you Sojourner Truth?!”
I asked, still stunned
“Yes” she replied
eyes focused forward
long back in perfect posture
straight as my Aunt Sally’s
in Acworth by her wood stove

We talked a while
I don’t remember all that was spoken
but this I am certain of
and will never forget, because it is True!

“But weren’t you a slave?” I asked
In simple curious pitch
She responded in her own
patient serenity, power
Inward and lurching
Strength pouring from her
Prophetess tongue
The Sojourner
the Pioneer
the Follower of Jesus
even in tent meetings
when apples are thrown
at white people’s conferences
when the Spirit hush fell
“Ain’t I a woman?!”
Good God, YES!

But it was to me,
to me, only me,
my legs dangling too
She turned and said,
“They thought I was, but I wasn’t.”

Sojourner, stay
Don’t let me awake.

Langston

February 8, 2020

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
-Proverbs 13.12a

Langston

We share something, Langston.

We share memories of what we hope

Some futuristic novel, like science fiction, fantasy.

We know there is something better

some world where dreams are realized

hearts pump as they should

muscles work

We traverse roads that are slippery and sharp

barbed wire fences that keep us out

We climb walls like ivy

searching for the sun

We are phototropic

We take pictures in our minds of possibility

of intricate scenes not yet performed

They wait for another time

The play goes on without us

We sit, polite, hands folded in an audience of one.

Rush hour
Cobb County
Nothing to mess around with
And yet, and yet
Amidst sirens, fast tires, honking horns
On the corner of busy Barrett Parkway
And Old 41
I hear them
First through my closed window
at the red traffic light
I stop mid-thought
Startled
Stunned by the sound
Of spring peepers in February
Hope
New Life
I roll down my window
Stick out my head as far as it will go
And listen
Breathe
Take in the sweet little sound

Thank you, God, for
Moments like these,
Glimpses of grace
In a world gone mad

The Walmart Walker

February 2, 2020

I think she’s on meth.

Her steps so fast I get dizzy
Her eyes intense
Short hair stuck out every which a way
Her skin tan and wrinkled

Until I hurt my knee

I got to ride one of those driving things
Fun, like a golf cart
The speed of a snail but I learned to turn corners
And never knocked over a shelf

Now I am better

My knee, iced,
Parallel legs face forward
I take heed of a runner brother’s knowledge

In the middle of the night
Might be 2 AM I drive up 41 to Walmart

And realize
I could walk here
Practice new steps with careful precision
Gain distance by Valentine cards
In a favorite haunt in Acworth
Where they know me well
And I feel safe

Aha!
I suddenly remember the meth lady
She’s not on meth at all
But a speedy Walmart walker
Fiercely intent to cover distance
In her private, singular world

Tonight,
Groundhog Day, 2020

The first palindrome calendar number
In nine hundred and nine years
When all is quiet and I’m restless
I will become a Walmart Walker
While the night crew unpacks boxes
In their silent singular world

I will walk the unending aisles
like the ‘meth lady’
Parallel steps in a crazy palindrome world

“Why don’t you stop and look me over?”
Barbara Acklin sang in her cool R&B voice:

“Why don’t you stop
And look me over
Am I the same girl you used to know?”

Am I?
Are you?
Do any of us ever really change?
Our own souls created in the Image of God
Merely marred and erased by time
Or nurtured and flourishing
Part of us is the same, the core
Part of us is constantly growing, learning,
Changing, becoming
Also the core.

Isn’t God marvelous
To have created us this way?
A symbiosis of time and story
The creation of the soul

“Come to me, all ye 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

“Stole, noun: an ecclesiastical vestment consisting of a long usually silk band worn traditionally around the neck by bishops and priests and over the left shoulder by deacons.”
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1995
I left the church
As pastor
Voluntarily
Lifted the stole
Off my draft horse shoulders
The stole with the tight grip
Around my neck
The white one
Red one
Purple one
Green one
Stoles of communion
Weddings
Burials
Baptisms
Stoles stained
at the collar
Smeared
With my blood
And the blood of others

100’s
No thousands of
Persons
Children of the Creator
Tears wept on shoulders
Stole drenched
Tight hugs entrapped
Stole crushed by
Love

And yet
And yet
A gradual
Turning
Towards the heavens
Penetrated stubborn
Tenacity

“But where will we live?”
I cried out
from the deck

“At the Italian house on the lake.”
God replied
Terraced to deep water
Safe for a fifteen year old
In those high curvy mountains
A worn dock
An island
Dolphin dives
45 minute
Swims with Lynn
Across the channel

After two and a half decades
I lay down my stole

I unwind it from my neck
Lift the satin sheen
Tattered with trials
Yellowed with sweat
Fold it neatly
Place it on the chair

I am Free

I am FREE

“Lay down, lay down
Lay it on down..”
– Melanie

O, that you would
learn faster
Act Sooner
On God’s
Ever exciting
Dynamic
Call
Than I did

And to take up
The yoke
That is light
To lay your burdens down

And yet..And yet..
Not one single regret

I Want to Go Back to Tautra

January 19, 2020

“I want to go back to Tautra”
I speak out loud
Over and over
In longing
Necessity
My mantra
From the front porch
In the middle
of the quiet, dark night
Silent solitude
The wind whispers the words
Spirit?
Pneuma?
Ruah
The ground length cape
Of fine wool
Forest green
Encloses me
Warm and private
I am hidden
In the rainy winter cold

It is 48 years old

I pull the hood up
And am a monk
Solo
Alone
Reclused
A hermit
In a very loud
Need-filled
Extroverted
Busy
World

For 48 years

Spencer Dryden and Grace Slick may have been on acid, but their music rocked.

It’s time to rock the world again!!

Volunteers in America. In the World.

Got to Revolution. Many ways to be a revolutionary. Prayer is one, earnest heartfelt, powerful, sincere, authentic, passionate prayer..or marching on Washington..or writing…or hunger strikes..or bank accounts and IRA’s broken open wide,..or ..I don’t know…Each person has their own calling on how to be a revolutionary and change the world for the better. Within and outside systems. In Courage and Goodwill.

All I know is that it is time. It is past time. For peace, justice, Shalom, to come for ALL people and nations on this earth.  For suffering to end. Here and NOW.

Much is within our power to change, at our fingertips’ end, within our very grasp.

The world, the USA need a major revolution. Go for it. Use your gifts and strengths, the ones God has given YOU. You know what to do, what you can do.

PRAY. DISCERN. ACT.

 “The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.”

-Isaiah 11.6-9

”I am about to do something new.”

– Isaiah 43.19

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples, 
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

-Revelation 21.1-7