actual conversation had today

Scene: I am handing out samples of Frappuccinos at work. A 9- or 10-year-old kid walks up to me.

Kid: I’m not going to get one of those because first of all, they’re kind of bad for the environment, and also, sometimes mindless people who don’t care about the environment take them. *walks off*

Me: Okay…?

*several seconds later, the kid returns*

Kid: But I’m going to take one anyway. *yoink*

Me: *bursts out laughing*

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on father’s day.

for Hannah, Stephanie, and Lindsay

I will not say that I know how
you feel, because there’s a man
still breathing in the other room,
watching TV while his heart pumps blood
through his miles of veins.
I still have him, maybe for decades,
maybe for an hour. I don’t know.

And I will not say all the things
that are true, but ring hollow when they
drop to the ground: He’s in a better place.
You’re going to see him again.

Because while we believe
in the resurrection of the body,
the life everlasting,
that death is gain,
for you, here in time and matter,
there is still a space where he should be,
left empty like a loosened screw in
your machine. And sometimes it feels
like the whole thing could explode at any minute.

There’s so much I could say
but won’t, because it would just
be my vain attempt to piece things
back together with glue and scotch tape.

But what I can say is that
you are loved nonetheless,
by him (although he can’t show it anymore),
and by so, so many people–
all the people it takes to make up for him.

So miss him. Mourn him.
Set up a stone along Jordan’s shores
to remember him, tell generations his story
and your own. Stand there a while
and cry if you need to.

I’ll be here, holding the tissues,
hoping I can stand as firmly as you can
when it comes time for me to do the same.

So today I was driving through the country on my way back from my fourth interview in two months, passing up pickup trucks and cows and the Aggie Barn, and the thought hit me that I haven’t written, really written, in a long time.

Sure, I’ve put down some poetry, and a few blog posts, but I used to write so much prose; I used to think through things more deeply than I do. And I’m not really sure what happened. I’ve let myself go. And that thought hit me, and it made me sad. There’s so much I could and should be doing with my brain instead of watching TV and reading Twitter all the time; I’ve become a passive consumer instead of an active participant with the world, and I hate that.

So here’s to writing, and reading, and thinking, and practicing redemption. I know I’ve said this before. And I’ll probably say it again. Multiple times. But a step forward is a step forward, and I’ll take it.

a hymn to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost

This is a confession
that I do not understand You.

Not that I understand the other
two members of the Trinity, but
how do you wrap your mind around
wind, around fire, around breath?
Well, the answer is: You don’t.
It wraps itself around you.

Or rather, He, not it,
because You are a being of personal pronouns–
You are not peace, love, and groovy vibes,
You are the Lord, the Giver of life,
and You do what You want to do,
You go where You want to go,
and we can no more harness You
than stop a hurricane.

You are the breath that fills these lungs
and turns into praise;
You raise up these dry bones into an army
whose weapons are love, joy, and peace;
You tear down the tower of our sin,
but then You bring us in
to the one city whose Builder and Architect is God,
where a thousand tongues are sung,
but “alleluia, amen!” sounds the same in every one.

And this is a confession that
we do not understand You,
but we need You.
And we come here to honor You
in all we sing, all we do, all we hear,
so come open up our lips, our hands, our ears.

And we ask this in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and in Your name, Holy Spirit.
Amen.

“go, then, earthly fame and treasure…”

Not a whole lot to say these days, save for crowdsourced lists, but I’ve been meditating quite a bit on the hymn “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” these days, and wanted to share it with you if you haven’t heard it. It’s one of those songs that, while you’re singing it, you’re also praying for it to be true.

Jesus I My Cross Have Taken (Live feat. Various) by Indelible Grace

Jesus, I my cross have taken
All to leave and follow Thee
Destitute, despised, forsaken
Thou from hence my all shalt be
Perish every fond ambition
All I’ve sought or hoped or known
Yet how rich is my condition
God and heaven are still mine own

Let the world despise and leave me
They have left my Savior, too
Human hearts and looks deceive me
Thou art not like them untrue
Oh, while Thou dost smile upon me
God of wisdom, love and might
Foes may hate and friends disown me
Show Thy face, and all is bright

Man may trouble and distress me
‘Twill but drive me to Thy breast
Life with trials hard may press me
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me
Were that joy unmixed with Thee

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure
Come, disaster, scorn, and pain
In Thy service pain is pleasure
With Thy favor loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl and clouds may gather
All must work for good to me

Soul, then, know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station
Something still to do or bear
Think what Spirit dwells within thee
Think what Father’s smiles are thine
Think that Jesus died to win thee
Child of heaven, canst thou repine

Haste thee on from grace to glory
Armed by faith and winged by prayer
Heaven’s eternal days before thee
God’s own hand shall guide us there
Soon shall close thy earthly mission
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days
Hope shall change to glad fruition
Faith to sight and prayer to praise

–Henry Lyte