These Carnal Threads

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I look down at my hands and know that within those tissues and cells, blood is coursing,
coming from,
going to,
minute after minute, circuit upon circuit. But where is my soul in this pink, freckled flesh? Where is my spirit in this troubled, pondering life?

Is the soul hitching a ride on red blood cells as they careen by the white?
Is my spirit holed up in one of my vital organs? My brain, maybe? Concentrated in a command center, overseeing all my worldly cognition.
Perhaps soul and spirit share space, intertwined in the four chambers of my pulsing heart.

But when the soul is gone, the hands are still there, and even the blood; but what stops really when we say life is gone? As the flesh cools, lying motionless, is the me-part that is really me immediately absent,

or hovering, waiting for further instructions?

It is said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but I am wondering when the absent happens. What changes in that one fragile second to another when what was thought alive is now

and these carnal threads release their hold?




Sunday Stranger

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

The man at the entrance handed me a bulletin from the top of a large stack.  He gave a vacant smile—a smile saved up all week long for Sunday strangers.  His eyes focused somewhere just above and to the right of my forehead.  It made me wonder if there was a fly caught in my hair.

The music grew louder as I crossed the foyer and entered through one of the sets of heavy double doors to the sanctuary.  Slipping into a back pew, I glanced around.  The church was old with dark mahogany and stained glass, the pulpit a million miles away.

The congregation was in the middle of a song, led by a golden-robed choir with bright faces and sure voices.  At the close of the song, a smile in a suit encouraged the people to spend a few moments greeting those around them.  The lady in front…

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The Peace That Doesn’t Come

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I swallowed up your fictions, building great thoughts and paradigms on them to support the framework of my soul’s integrity—because
I thought they were true. Really true. Truer than the dusty time-tested, grime-infested mores of another lifetime. Rusty religion.

And why not?

Everywhere I looked, the narrative thrived, as those in power connived to reel in the more, the many, the misled. Those in university demanded my allegiance and my reason. Media demanded my modesty and my shame. And the more connected I became, the more infected—yet still alone. The more I embraced plurality of thoughts and values, the more I felt this swirling nothingness of the all crowding out the any,

and the new flourished, silencing the drumming and thrumming of the old, what all people have always known—that there are true trues
and right rights, and
the fight is to cling to those when delusion and evil conspire, but
I swallowed up your fictions, wallowed in illumination,

waiting for the peace that doesn’t come.


When You

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When you can’t cry, or will not because your heart is hard,

I will cry for you—tears to seek the cracks, a way in.


When you can’t listen, I will be your ears

to hear the hope in a flower, a bird, a melody.


When you can’t speak, I will whisper words your heart would say

in unguarded moments, if it could crawl from beneath the dead weight.


When you can’t believe—when your faith lisps with fragile emptiness,

I will believe in the darkness for both of us.

When you can’t pray, I will pray.

When you can’t,

when you won’t,

I will

with hope.





An Unforever Friend

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It could have been a lifelong friendship,

haven’t-seen-you-like-forever-but-everything’s-the-same kind of friendship.


We shared tight, little secrets that only capital F Friends should share.

We pontificated over politics—all the things we could never change.

We wept over children—all the heart-pains that only mothers know

and only Friends can share.

We shared meals, split tabs, told jokes, prayed prayers,

taking time to just be

and sometimes read each other’s minds.


But the shared whispers have disappeared.

The warm hugs have been replaced by unreturned phone calls

and occasional hurried-life passings–as life is passing.


I have grieved your loss as one who died;

but your life is so full

you don’t seem to notice I am not in it.


I thought we would be friends forever,

capital F Friends, unshakeable Friends,

but forever has come to an end.



The Wonder of Angels

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I remember as a young girl a big painting reproduction Mom and Dad had hanging in their bedroom. It showed two young children crossing a rickety bridge, looking scared and alone in the dark; however, unseen by them was a huge angel, towering above, guarding them safely home. Though the angel is much more feminized than possibly angels really are, as a child that image brought comfort; and as an adult, I bought a wooden plaque with that same picture to remind me that I am in God’s care.

In Hebrews 1:14, the author writes, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” And in Psalm 103:20-21, we read, “Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will!” And though prophetic of Jesus, as part of His body, we can also draw comfort from Psalm 91:11, which says, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

In this broken world, it is a wonder to know that what we see is not all there is. We are not left alone to battle the brokenness and the forces that rage against God, both human and demonic. When we feel alone and scared, overwhelmed by circumstance, undone by sorrow, we have the Holy Spirit within and heavenly guardians without, watching over our lives. They are not fat cherubs, sitting on clouds playing harps. They are not the flawed Touched by an Angel deal, but the real deal—powerful beings with a mandate from the Father to guard His very own and war on their behalf. I would say that is wonder-ful!

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Sensing the need to feel

Important, –> that thoughts, actions, and

Gifts really matter, not just in the big scheme of things,

Not just ticks on nature’s timepiece,

Intertwined with myriad others, who

Fashion a purposeful life, a fanciful life, going somewhere–>

It is inbuilt, this need to belong, this feeling that

Creation matters, that we matter,

And that I as one lone voice matter,

Not just as a cog in a

Cosmic wheel–> but as imagio deo–

Everlasting because He has given me significance.

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Reel Faith

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Many things you fear come to pass, but

most don’t; and

since you never know which will or won’t, it makes more sense to fear none. But

my Pollyanna is more my Puddleglum, and

my optimism quotient is tempered by what is truly possible on this broken planet; so

how does a glass half empty gal have faith without feeling like it is more about wishful thinking and cooked up certainty?

How to live in the real world with real faith when real is often reeling with the now and the what could be? Yet will I praise Him.


“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:34


Asking you, asking me . . .

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Does your faith-life even require Jesus?

Got the maxims memorized.

Got the rules down.

Is religion more your bulwark than relationship—

behavior and image more important than face-falling service,

open-hearted devotion to His worthiness?

Has purpose surpassed person?

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate this substance-hoped-for idea.

Are we a scattered and lost flock, devoted to a text but without a message?

I think I would rather falter on a rough road than walk resolutely down a worn and wrong path,

stuck in a form of obedience . . . but without a desperate, clinging trust.

My will is contrary to my dedication;

my rituals supplant my connection, offering a form without reality.

Am I so right-on religious that as a Christian I can do this thing without Jesus?


Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. ~Psalm 51:10

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

~Romans 7:19



A Tree Rant

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It should be a law:

     No cutting of trees, please.

     No desecration of life-green foliage and climbing limb.

     No mauling of shade-makers and wind-shakers.

     No abuse of fruit-bearers and dream-catchers.

There should be a law:

     No buzzing.

     No chopping and chipping.

     No axing of sap-runners and dirt-catchers.

Soil-gripper, life-framer.

Back-leaner, air-cleaner.

A hider of seekers,

Guardian, sentinel, standing at attention.

I am not a tree hugger per se, but there is a certain sadness to see

oxygen-givers and long-livers

hacked down for who knows what.

Plant a tree, not a parking lot!


(Upon the “murder” of two beautiful trees!)