Underneath

you told me not to fall

and I have attempted

to honor this request

instead, slipping deeper

underneath

the way one pulls

a soft, old quilt

up around the ears

in bed on a very cold night

because it is so safe and warm

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Storytelling

This time of year we may believe or disbelieve many things…

But we humans are storytellers. We know who we are because of our tribe’s stories. Before we wrote our stories down, we told them over and over… teaching our children to embellish the important parts… to pause in the right place, drop their voices, and grow louder to make the important points… how to adjust the story here and there, so each group listening would take away the heart of what we wanted them to remember.

We know our place because of the way our people weave words to tell each other what our history is… and knowing our history shapes our future.

In this modern age of verifiable facts and figures and science it’s easy to forget that storytelling is an art. It is is easy to find ourselves wondering if the stories we know are really true. But sometimes… often… that’s not really the point.

At times we might come to feel that we’ve been told a story that is not, in fact, factual. And this can be difficult to navigate.

But the stories are still valuable – even when the truth is conjoined with myth.

My tribe tells a story about a tiny baby. Born to a poor, young, unwed mother in a time of extreme political tension, and a culture marked by racial, gender, and religious division.

We talk about his birth at the moment when the year is shifting from it’s darkest season into the returning light. We talk about how this baby grew to tell his tribe a new kind of story… one of love and lifting up the lowly. How he tuned the politics and religion and culture of his time and place upside down, breaking down walls and pushing boundaries.

Maybe this isn’t a story you grew up with.

Maybe it is a story that you can’t believe as factual truth anymore.

Perhaps this story has been retold in ways that hurt you.

That is part of *your* story. And I honor that for you, and leave you space to tell your own story, in your own time…

But when *I* hear this story and strip it down, allowing it to simply be a wonderful story of of a baby, and his family in crisis and the people who crossed their path…That narrative is still magical and alive in my heart.

It gives me the childlike ability to believe in things that seem impossible.

Things like love that shifts our hearts and our lives.

Things like hope that holds on to better than the present moment may seem to offer.

A story of love that is real and alive… a love that feeds the hungry… a love that welcomes refugees… a love that gives gay kids a place to feel safe… a love that pays a neighbors electric bill… a love that is kind to the cashier after 45 minutes in line… a love that says it is sorry first… a love that knows when sitting in silence is all that’s needed… a love that loves, simply – without any strings attached.

And this is a love that doesn’t insist that there is only one way to tell it’s story, but embraces everyone into the tribe and lets all of our beautiful and rich human narratives shine and glow.

Because the winter is indeed dark and cold… but there is a spark that breaks though and can turn the universe of hurt on it’s head for those who need it most. And we can be part of growing that spark into a glowing ember into a steadily burning flame.

This, my friends, is a story I can believe in.

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open hands

Uncertainties have never been my friends

I like to think my days ordained for me

Even though I know this is a lie

Matters of heart beget matters of mind

And I loose time wondering how to arrange

Parts of my life I cannot foresee

Until breath leads me back to the center

Where I hope, lightly

With open hands

Ent

I imagine you a tree

perhaps a tall cedar or oak

older than I, and wiser

with branches that shade

and roots that run deep

bending in the wind

unmoving, yet so alive

and I lay myself down

and breathe deep

and sleep

mending

How is it that I can pass my heart from hand to hand so easily?

Perhaps that is the wrong word.

No, it’s not for lack of bruising by their touch.

There isn’t ease as it’s mangled and oft torn in pieces, but still it seems to grow stronger with each passing.

Like the way it grew to contain love for each of my children when I thought I couldn’t love anything more.

Somehow, I feel stitched together again to share anew for every bit that’s been taken from me.

The callouses formed don’t seem to make it harden, just able to beat with more steady rhythm… love deeper… live fuller.

rooted

If you would just be like all the rest

this would be so much easier

ask me to leap, to fly

take no heed for my safety

or the feelings deep in my chest

then I could fall, feel the bruises

pick myself back up again

like all the other times

instead you gently hold my hand

and coax me off the cliff

warning me of the distance

like I haven’t felt the ground

rise up below me

taking away my breath

as I crash at the bottom

as though this will make me turn

and walk away

thinking you don’t want me

to live and fly and be free

but once I had a vision

of a tall, strong tree

rooted just back from the place

where I’ve thrown myself off

so many times before

I saw myself lashed to it

allowing its roots to save me

from certain death

and the binding feels like arms

circling around me

safely

you don’t seem to realize

that your deep roots

make me want to plant my own

and give up my attempts to fly

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