Isolation is an Elusive Mirror

Can you come up close to it and glance in without being afraid? Where do you go to be alone, can you? Is there a place to be alone but not lonely? How will you wait, or pause, or catch up with the time alone, in isolation, so you can see yourself in the glance of it, that the reflection looks back at you? Are you shifted in it? 

The object, perceived, changes and cannot be the same as observed as in motion. 

Who do you become when you are alone? How are you the same when you return? Can you know yourself as you are alone, and when you are with others do you recognize her? 

Isolation is an elusive mirror. 

When it shatters, what do you do with the pieces? Will they dissolve, or fall into dust, or cut deep into the flesh that seeks to be perceived? 

Is this still in only one place, concrete, defined, particular? Or do you journey to the next way house, a lean-to of rough shelter and mice in the attic, seeking the next reflection down the trail? Where will you be restored, supplied, sustenanced so that you can continue on your way? Did you pack enough apples for your journey? Did they freeze in the night? 

What will be left of you when you return? 

Where will you find the ones who wish to recognize you? Will they be at what used to be home? Or will the new place where you find yourself be the place where family is found? 

This prose poem is inspired by Metaphor dice. (Not an affiliate Link)

Good Days

Good days are not perfect ones

Good days have complications

Good days are mundane

Good days are relative

Good days hold tension

Good days can seem better upon reflection

Or worse, sometimes

Good days can be restful 

Good days are exhausting

Good days are all about perspective

Good days are about who you’re with

Good days feel like setups

Good days prepare you for what’s next

Good days are hard to schedule

Good days can be hard to find

Good days hold the sunrise and the sunset

Good days sleep in

Good days are a feast

Good days are leftovers for every meal

Good days give you a breath 

Or a stretch

Or a pause

Or a break

Or a rush

Good days remind you what is real

Good days are a cuddle and a dance

Good days are a race around the house

Good days are a theme park step count

Good days are a cozy book and a cup of cider

Good days are a celebration

Good days are a sigh of relief 

Good days are a spell of silence

Good days are full of noise

Good days are filled with crystalized moments

Good days pass in a blur

Good days last forever

Good days are over in a blink

Good days are full of family

Good days are when strangers become friends

Good days are brand new books

Good days are stories that are old friends

Good days are the change of seasons

Good days are the height of them all

Good days can never be repeated

Not exactly. Not at all

Good days can hold a rhythm

Good days can teach you something

Good days are lessons learned

Good days fall through your fingers

Good days hold you up

Good days.

StormBreak

The storm breaks over us and washes us downstream. We drift in and out of consciousness, held up by the debris around us, until we make our unsteady way to a new shore. Abraded by the harsh flow of the water and everything in it with us, we are sore and weary, wary of injury and unknown or unidentified cuts and bruises. 

The stars come out, granting just enough light to create layers in the shadows, and we stumble our way further onto uneven ground, up the roots of the bank, and hope for a level path or a break in the tree line. 

Our clothes dry slower than our skin, faster than our hair, weak parts in our clothing give way, and new patches become necessary. But where we will find the fabric for the patch runs to the edge of consciousness while we keep looking for a way into higher ground, in case the flood rises above the crest of this hill. 

Deep breaths now, feel the rush of blood through your heart, your ears, your fingertips. Feel the flow of the thickness that carries your life through your body, that keeps you breathing and moving. 

You are alive. You are alive. You are alive. 

Your heart beats the message of your being in your chest. 

Exist. Exist. Exist. 

Breathe. 

Flow with your blood now, feel the forceful tug of the patterns that have kept you up to this point. 

I don’t know what the future will bring. But I do know that my heart is beating. I know the water falls and washes. 

And I know that God spoke existence into the world over the face of the deep. 

Day cannot exist without the night, light was birthed out of darkness, and we are seeing over and over how we are called into our beautiful selves by the voice that called all of creation into being. 

I listen for the whisper of being in the darkness. The light shines, even the stars layer depth into the night sky. Like the moon reflecting the light of the sun, let us reflect the light of holiness into the world, so that nothing is left unturned, unexamined, unrevealed. 

Let us see it, all of it, how it is. And wash us. And let us flow. 

The Edge of Hope

Sometimes it feels like I am holding on to hope with my fingernails. 

And that I’m slipping. 

And that the precipice is getting sharper and sharper. 

And I’ve started to bleed.

And hurts only to grasp at the lacerating edges of hope and feel so uncertain and not know if anything I will do matters. I fear holding on too much closely because I can’t tell if hope itself is doing the harm. 

Is it hope, or optimism, or fear, and I actually can’t feel the hope.

Does hope pierce my soul and release it, instead?

Or is hope an arrow shooting through the night sky and I lost my chance to grasp it when it disappeared into the mist around me. 

Or maybe. 

Maybe hope is the thing that is hovering around me as I grasp on the edge of this existence. 

Will it catch me? Could it, even if it wanted to? 

Maybe it isn’t hope that is cutting into my hands, but my desire to hold on to at least one thing that made sense this time last year, that now is ridiculous, pointless, impossible. 

Could it be that I am harming myself by thinking that hope has anything to do with the past? 

I’m tempted to compare my existence to those around me, to say that “I don’t have it that bad because we’re ok with money and we have a home and we’ve got a reliable job in the household and a stocked pantry, and a bunch of folks don’t have that.” And when my mind does that, I feel guilty for being lonely and angry and frustrated and tired and weary. But I am those things. And we can’t see our family. And we can’t go trick-or-treating. And I don’t risk going to shop for things that are outside of the essentials because even the pharmacy team can’t figure out how to wear their masks right. 

And so, I’m left with a sliver of hope, that maybe I will get to escape this season of despair, but really not knowing how it will happen.

— — —

The last special worship service that we had in person was Ash Wednesday, where we imposed ashes on our foreheads and said “dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” And part of me has not left that space. We began our quarantine in the midst of lent, and I do not know if it will be safe for me to return to in person worship until next year’s easter, or pentecost, or will the kids actually lose a full two years of worship. 

We don’t know. We don’t know, and so I don’t know how to grasp hope any tighter, if  actually holding it tightly is causing it to diminish like water or sand in my grasp. 

Perhaps I need to cup my hands like I am drinking from a fresh spring, holding a newborn kitten, or comforting a weeping child. 

Maybe it is that I think that my hands can do the only bit of holding, and I forget that I can embrace hope like a friend or a child or a child or a parent or a lover. 

Maybe my hands are not the right place for this holding. Or not enough, at least. 

What if I gathered hope up like one of my gangly squirmy children and let it sit for a while. Or embraced it like my lover. 

What if I need to be hope’s little spoon. 

I wonder what would happen if I allowed hope to embrace me, hold me instead. 

Can I rest in hope?

I’m unsure what to actually hope for that doesn’t feel directive. I can’t predict or conform the future to my hopes, and maybe that is why hope feels so ephemeral these days. I hope that my children are safe, that the children in my community whose skin is different than my own are also safe from the hatred of the fearful around me. But I want to look with better eyes than that. I want to hope bigger than that. 

But I don’t know if my hope can do any more than that right now. 

Unless. 

Here is the last thing.

I hope I can still find joy. 

Cultivate joy.

Dance in, breathe in, drift in, work in, sleep in, walk in, cook in, bathe in joy.

Not happiness, mind you. Nothing as saccharine or dismissive as that. 

But joy. Embodied joy. 

Thats what I hope I still spread and share and sing and soar in, even when it keeps getting darker. 

I hope for joy. 

Revel in the Revelation

My thoughts are jumbled up and caught in the midst of a deep knowing and a precipitous drop into a wild learning that I’ve been searching for these past five years. 

Everything has been layering into place to get me to here.

Right now. 

Revealing this. 

I’ve been taking lessons from my own body. Learning to trust it when it says yes, and no, and wait, and rest. Maybe everything was simply too loud, before. 

And now I’m listening for the gentle voice of my own being, created, good, and whole, and returning to fullness. 

I became thin, a veil to my own self, and rather than thickness I’ve built into this fullness, even as my milk runs dry and my tears run dry. 

From the thin place I entered, I have been guided to a place to understand my own theology of touch. 

I’m learning where the yes comes from. I’m learning more about how the yes has been closed off and told it was inappropriate and shamed and negated and gaslight and relegated to the smallest portion imaginable. 

But I am not settling for crumbs. 

There is more than enough to go around and I will help you get your enough while I seek my own. 

And I will listen to the gentle rhythm of the rain and my heartbeat and the wind in the trees and the rushing of the creek and I will dance with my whole self. 

Dance like my five year old and my two year old and dance like I’ve learned it already and like I’m creating a new kind of dance and there is only the true way to do it if you are dancing with the creator of the dance. 

There are no wrong steps if you are trying to listen. If you are able to say you are sorry. If you are willing to confess where you have been wrong and where you have hurt others and if you are willing to be contradicted with grace and learn. Learn. Learn. 

Then. 

Then we can move together and learn to hear our bodies together and listen to the voices that have been ignored out of ignorance that claimed it was innocent and now. Now we have seen that what is harmful is not holy, now that it has been revealed as the opposite of good, we can turn to the revelation and see. Actually see. 

And now that we see, we can help others see. And as we reveal our full selves, we dance and sing and twirl and party and circle around with joy and pleasure. We Revel. We cultivate this joy that cannot be denied or shut up or blocked out or dissipated or disappeared or ignored. Rather, we move, sing, embrace, listen, experience, breathe, and rejoice in this freedom. 

Nothing is created out of context, and I want to acknowledge that this is a response to what I am reading and hearing and listing to in this current time. Right now, my conversation partners are adrienne marie brown, Prentis Hemphill, Monica Byrne, Heather Willet Olsen, Kate Bowler, Sarah Howell-Miller, and Rose Eveleth. I wonder what I will learn next.