1 Corinthians 15:55

This is so I will remember:

First there was the darkness, warm wooden slats beneath my feet

The thing I could not see yet

As I flung the tapestry of the towel up toward the line

A sudden, unforeseen

Stab of pain and fire and fury

As the clean, damp laundry fell across my face

I stumbled into the sunroom

Dropped the washing


It hurts so much

People I love tend my single wound

Just over the left eye

Baking soda paste, analgesic, antihistamines

Soon it is not as bad

As I sleep I can feel the swelling, so pronounced on the left I am afraid the eye will be temporarily unusable

I wake up with swollen eyes, raccoonish

Was there some way I could have drained out the poison? Was there more I could have done?

The night it happens, I murder all the wasps and all their young with thin streams of caustic

Wasp spray

And vengeance.

All day i can feel the swelling, I take my medicine


But on the morning of the third day

I can feel the deep, intractable itch

The toxins have flooded in

And I know it isn’t over yet

No band-aid love

these paper cuts

Crass bits of pain

Catch unaware the

fireflies and sparks rising through

Cloud gray skies

Recumbent dragons-rivery road-

rundown house unblinks as the

broken boy steps in front of 

The barreling  18-wheeler.

Call for the medic, the surgeon, 

the poet who can

Conjure words to turniquet this-

No band-aid love-

All wounds and piercing sorrow

You smooth out your own discarded flesh

A coat laid down at our muddied feet

Temporary tomb

Swaddle  the dead

Call gossamer gauze, 

shroud, or interstitial subatomic strings

Cast lots if you will

For his seamless


No matter what

when I was young I loved a good wedding.  when I got a little older I feared them–wallflower at the dance.  older still, I understood the essential artifice, felt that weddings, however pretty or hopeful, were hupas erected in the straight path of hurricanes.

humans, let’s face it, really fall short when it comes to commitment, true at every wedding.  in fact, a requirement for weddings should be drab work clothes and sheets and sheets of answers to questions like–what will you do when he/she gets fat?  Commits a felony?  Develops a crush on Justin Bieber?

Yep–the Bieb. The hard questions.

So in honor of the essential Potemkin nonsense of weddings, I obsess over “real vows.”  

Vows like–I will stick with you, no matter what.

We could just do the one, really, because…because….

That is the God vow, the love vow, the Rescuer vow–

I will stick with you, no matter what.

A paraphrase of–I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Sounds pretty and green when you are all dolled out in fancy clothes, but it is something else indeed in the presence of human sin–venal, petty, stupid, cruel.

We humans excel at making ourselves repellent, yet there is our broken, strong-right-arm Ransomer…

Sticking with us

No matter what.

We will all beĀ 

we will all be 


One day–

Fashion swords and bucklers

From broom handles and pot lids

Build fortress and ramparts alike

with each and every pillow we possess

Pretend we need 


Eye patch and peg-leg

Call the bird on our left shoulder


And the one on our right 


We will learn to swab 

And pillage

In equal measure

And storm these opposing


Taking captive

Fear and doubt, pain and sorrow

Then let them drift  

In an Andaman Sea,

Name this ancient God, this inward body

Of water and salt

Where all these motherless castaways

Shall one day be


The Ring Vow

it only takes one anchor to hold a boat
One candle to light a room 

One spring to start a river

One voice to sing a song 

This ring is a foolish gesture

Which will one day constrict your hand

This ring is a token

Of all the tragedy and light we 

Will make together

All vows are binding before 

The Lord, my dear

Not because you are pretty 

Not because I am good

But because these words will always be

Our aboriginal children

Dare you

To return them whole

To their original Owner.

An Extravagant Addiction

During the winter I commit.
The lake is so calm.
Fewer riders, and much less exposed skin.

I argue with myself, become my own coach–

go, you need the practice.

Which is precisely true. I do need the practice.. Not just getting off the dock. Not just gaining traction on a finless board. Not just holding on tight to the rope or just plain going in circles.

I know to be better I have to practice. I have no natural talent and age is not on my side.

But God is. He knows that I have always held on to the story of a storm, a Man, a ghostly Man, walking on water.

And that other guy who got out of the boat.

I know the physics of wakeboarding a little.

Just like the physics of faith–a little like a seed, a tiny, little mustard seed.

Beguiling Jesus

I realized this week I needed wound care–heart specifically, the kind that comes with prayer.

There is great grace in facing my weakness, my need for Jesus, but bad stuff happens. Sometimes it feels lobbed at a person.

All afternoon I told myself to see Jesus helping Peter walking on the water–in a terrible storm.

I told myself–don’t take your eyes off Jesus. Tonight I listen as a storm blows in–first wind, lightning, thunder then sheets of rain.

Blessing in a drought. Not so fun on an open body of water.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Anything can happen.

In the Boat

Mark 4:1-9 (NIV)
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. [2] He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: [3] “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. [5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. [6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. [8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” [9] Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I love the image of Jesus teaching from the boat. I assume that since he is God, his voice carried. I picture the crowd, myself in it, leaning toward him–eager to catch each word.

Inefficient farmer.

I rarely read the gospel without seeing something new. Today it is the slapdash profligacy of the farmer.

Seeds everywhere, dude…

But that is part of Jesus’ point. God is as prolific in his generosity as he is in his gift of freedom.

We wanna get all caught up in tangles or consumed by birds? He will let us.

But the deep soul, the deep soil, there is deep life there.

Grow deep.

Family Resemblance

Mark 3:31-35 (NIV)
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. [32] A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” [33] “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. [34] Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

You might be surprised to learn that family is very important to me. I have fostered and adopted kids and have treated dozens of children as though they were my own. I miss them, most of them.

I am estranged from my mother and brother, my in-laws have written that they hate me. My adopted children harbor their own opinions…

So this story is very, very important to me. I may be the one causing all the trouble but I have done this–moved away from my genetic family because I was trying to heal my kids.

It is hard to survive abuse. There is little room left over to pander to squeamish and difficult family members.

We need a new family. We need to be a new family. We need the face of love. When Jesus seems to be rejecting his own family he is really not. He is simply saying–

the people in my family will love. Love like me.