”Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.”

-Thomas Merton


a lover of the light

dear “real” blog o’ mine, I’ve been a bit unfaithful to you, reveling in the silliness and spontaneity that is Tumblr much more often these days.  why do I feel like your pages are only for ‘serious’ things?  this isn’t the first time I’ve wondered the same thing.


The past few weeks have flashed by, unexpected and seemingly unreal.  For all my attempts, I’ve been unable to articulate the emotions that surround my leaving Kansas City.  Perhaps this is because I always struggle to identify, detangle, and analyze these mysterious forces, my emotions and desires.  I want to be loved.  I want to be remembered for something bigger than myself.  I don’t want to be forgotten by the ones I hold dear in this place.  I’m afraid that my faith is not strong enough, that my God is not near anymore, that I am no longer able to hear His voice.  And that I will not, where I am going.  I fear that there will be no place for me when I return.  That this tight, choking feeling in my throat is but an echo of the greater fear and uncertainty I’ll face in the days to come.  [there is no fear in love.  perfect love casts out fear.]

The brave words I speak to those who question are true.  But my uncertainty is no less true.

poems for holy week ii

Descending Theology: The Crucifixion

To be crucified is first to lie down
on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out
on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes
fix you into place.

Once the cross pops up and the pole stob
sinks vertically in an earth hole perhaps
at an awkward list, what then can you blame for hurt
but your own self’s burden?

You’re not the figurehead on a ship. You’re not
flying anywhere, and no one’s coming to hug you.
You hang like that, a sack of flesh with the hard
trinity of nails holding you into place.

Thus hung, your ribcage struggles up
to breathe until you suffocate, give up the ghost.
If God permits this, one wonders how
this twirling earth

manages to navigate the gravities and star tugs.
Or if some less than loving watcher
watches us scuttle across the boneyard greens
under which worms

seethe and the front jaws of beetles
eventually clasp toward the flesh of every beloved.
The man on the cross under massed thunderheads feels
his soul leak away,

then surge. Some windy authority lures him higher
till an unseen tear in the sky’s membrane is rent,
and he’s streaming light, snatched back, drawn close,
so all loneliness ends.

-mary karr

poems for holy week

I’m going to post some poems by Mary Karr on the topic of Holy Week.  Her ‘Descending Theology’ series from Sinners Welcome are simple and evocative.  A help for directing my thoughts as I enter into the pathos of this week in the Christian calendar.

Descending Theology: The Garden

We know he was a man because, once doomed,
he begged for reprieve. See him
grieving on his rock under olive trees,
his companions asleep
on the hard ground around him
wrapped in old hides.
Not one stayed awake as he’d asked.
That went through him like a sword.
He wished with all his being to stay
but gave up
bargaining at the sky. He knew
it was all mercy anyhow,
unearned as breath. The Father couldn’t intervene,
though that gaze was never
not rapt, a mantle around him. This
was our doing, our death.
The dark prince had poured the vial of poison
into the betrayer’s ear,
and it was done. Around the oasis where Jesus wept,
the cracked earth radiated out for miles.
In the green center, Jesus prayed for the pardon
of Judas, who was approaching
with soldiers, glancing up—as Christ was—into
the punctured sky till his neck bones
ached. Here is his tear-riven face come
to press a kiss on his brother.

-mary karr

in time of parting

Dear Grandpa, 

I’m writing with a great deal of sadness that I am not able to see you and say these things out loud, but with the hope that I might be able to more fully and clearly express my thoughts in the form of a letter.

I’m so grateful for the love and leadership you have given to this family over the years. I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with you:  catching my first fish, walking to the park, riding on your boat, and visiting you in Florida.  I remember conversations with you about what I wanted to be when I grew up, and the value of hard work.  I remember going deer hunting with you and sitting in the cold until we couldn’t feel our legs, without seeing a single deer.  I remember lots of admonitions not to bother Gus. Mostly I smile as I think back on these memories, and the part you have played in my life.  I would not be here without you, grandpa.

I’ve been praying for you often, through the years, but especially in these past few weeks, that your heart would be filled with the peace that goes beyond our limited, human understanding.  That your hope for eternity would rest firmly in Jesus alone, and nothing else.  The Bible says that those who believe this truth can view death as only a temporary loss, giving way to the beauty and joy of new bodies and a world made new, without pain or sin. Jesus’ final promises on earth overflow with the gladness of solid hope amid the sorrow of death: “My joy will be in you, and your joy will be made full. Your grief will be turned to joy.”

I love you so very much, Grandpa.  I hope more than anything that you are clinging to the One who alone is able to carry you in this dark hour, to ‘keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.’

your loving granddaughter,

‎”the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit….the Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”
-psalm 34:18,22

“Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. But the man who makes Me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”
-isaiah 57:1-2,13b

hold on

I am worn out by the weight of grief and hopelessness I carry on another’s behalf.  It is a heavy thing to come to the end of life and face the spectre of an eternity without the Source of all hope, of life and beauty and joy.

A week from now, I’ll be in Wisconsin at my grandfather’s bedside, in all probability the last time I’ll ever see him.  Not just on this earth, but for all time.  I beg the Father daily to break the hardness in his heart.  There is a glimmer of hope still, I suppose.  But I cannot see it.  Oh God, forgive my faithless, fainting heart.

“Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?”