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?




Not Home Yet

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Walking in shadows, occasional whispers of light remind me I am
in Him
inadequate, but on the path to home.
The yearning, the longing, keeps doubt in check—
somehow, hoping that
someday what we partly know will be known in whole—
The here seems material, the then so far off; and this shadowed world,                               so full of souls and stains would break even the strongest, if not for the
the gracelets,
the glimpses of the intangible, leading us from discomfort to discovery
and home.

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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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That I Am . . .

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

Be still . . .

     be quiet, unplug,

     no talk radio,

     no I-pod or I-pad or I-anything,

     no racing thoughts and mental list making.

And know . . .

     in my head,

     in my heart,

     in my emotions and stubborn pride places,

     really, really, really.

That I . . .

     relational You,

     intervening You,

     inviting, not just theoretical You,

    the I Am kind of You.

Am God . . .

     King of the universe,

     Lord and Creator of all,

     Friend come close and generous gift-giver,

     Lover . . . in spite of me.

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Far and Near

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


Why does the bloated Biafra baby bring a tear,

and the hungry eye-cries of Haitian earthquake victims urge us to tear

our wallets from tightly held fists,

when the man,

the man with the sign in the planter area by the on-ramp,

we assume has a lesser need–that is, if we see him.

The lady,

the lady trying to sell the grubby Beanie-baby at the entrance to the grocery store

does not deserve eye contact,

hand contact,

I-know-you-exist contact,

and we breeze by without even a “No, thank you”–that is, if we see her at all.

Are the far needs greater than the near?

Or just easier to get over?  Unchanged.

Are foreigners more worthy than neighbors?

Or is it just safer to care in one fell feel-good swoop

than love thy ever-present neighbor as ourselves?

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Dance in the Dark

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

I dance in the dark. 

Inhibitions cast off,

I twirl and twirl, like a graceful ballerina, free in a broad expansive world. 

Walls disappear and the dark of my room rushesto blend with the testimony of the universe—spirit meshed with Spirit.

My arms hug tight and reach wide—

stretch inward and outward to embrace and be embraced. 

Move, Spirit, move.

Simple melodies carry my open-chested praise past the corners of the ceiling

to celestial halls unfettered by   atmosphere     and         stars           and                 space.

 Miraculous union—the soul’s yearnings unbounded—

unloosed in a moment of genuine worship,

fitted one with the other,

created with Creator.

Slow slow, fast fast, step step – mind and body joined in declaration of Your worth.

 My will lays down my right to rule.

 I  b  r  e  a  t  h  e  out surrender as the music plays.

When I sit in church, hands in front, fingers tap…

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May the Words


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Where are the days when I sowed into your life and you into mine? It meant so much

in that moment, but

is that harmony  lost to the multitude of noises in the universe—the ever present drone, earth to star. Or is the moment captured and catalogued somewhere in a file called

“Meaning”—memories of things that really mattered and were not lost to time and distance and division.

When you complain that I complain too much or criticize my being critical—

when you accuse me so harshly for not using words that are pure and edifying,

is it not just an ever-turning. never-ending circle, and

what we hate in others,

we hate in ourselves, and

what we judge in others is our own pernicious crime? But how does it stop?

If you stop judging me, and I stop voicing pain and discouragement, does it fade away?

Does it disappear just…

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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.