Tears, Tears, Tears

Cockatoos on roof

The wait continues and my emotions go up and down.Today the chaplain visited. She told us we have good coping mechanisms. Though I don’t always feel it I know that it is true, and you are all helping.  Prayer, long morning walks listening to the kookaburras and photographing the cockatoos on the roof, sharing the story on my blog and the writing of poetry all help.  And now I find myself grieving for the things I could/should be doing – like preparing for the Celtic retreat next week and getting ready to go on vacation with Tom. Life does go on but it feels the fabric has been ripped.

Tears, tears, tears,

So many tears.

I shed them for my mother

And her suffering.

I shed them for myself

And the turmoil of my pain.

I shed them for my friend

Fresh diagnosed with cancer.

Tears that drain me dry,

Tears that shout this is not right,

Death does not conquer all,

Christ’s sacrifice is not in vain.

God has the final victory,

Death’s slow embrace,

Will give way to God’s eternal light.

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Stranger at the Door by Mary Elizabeth Todd.

Today’s post in the series Return to Our Senses in Lent comes from Mary Elizabeth Todd. May was born in the mountains of Western NC and grew up in East Tennessee- She went to Erskine College and majored in Behavioral Science and Religion. She started writing poetry at 10 years of age, grew up listening to her father’s poems. She worked 28 years as a foster care worker and was awarded Social worker of the Year in 2004 for the state of South Carolina by the Foster Parent Association. She retired in 2006 and reckons she is a mountain woman thru and thru, loves the Lord but fails often, but always gets back up.

I asked Mary if I could post the following prayers first because they seemed to flow so well after the post yesterday on looking after special needs children and second because they so beautifully fit into this year’s theme. Caring for those who cannot care for themselves is a spiritual discipline that we all should consider.

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farfar_nordicstatue

A child I once worked with and who was in a persistant vegetative state, died this morning. He has been healed.

I wrote this poem right after this incident happened that crippled his life:

Sing You a Lullaby…

“Hush little baby
Don’t you cry”*

I saw one little tear roll
Across your tiny brown face.
I took the tip of my finger
And wiped it clear.
You turned not seeing towards me.
Your dark brown eyes
Stared through me.
Did you cry for the sadness
That you could not know?
Did you cry for the pain
You no longer understood what it was?
Did you cry because in minutes
You lost all the things; we take for granted,
Playing ball and riding bikes,
Laughing and talking and making friends,
Feeding ourselves, and being able to know
Light from dark, and growing up to love.
Did you cry in anger that no one heard you
When you were alone and needed them?
I looked at the tiny tear on my finger,
And it pierced my heart.
If all my tears could heal you,
Your eyes would light up, and you would smile,
But your eyes are expressionless as a doll’s eyes,
And my tears cannot heal.
There is nothing I can do,
But wipe the tear from your eye,
Place a kiss on your tiny hand,
And sing you a lullaby…

“Mama’s goin’ buy
You a mockingbird”*

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Mary read  the following poem when she received the award for Social Worker of the year from the foster parents in 2004.

Stranger at the Door
Dedicated to the foster parents of South Carolina

There is a stranger at the door,
Newly born in a cocaine haze.
The crying and hunger is non-stop;
The monitor jangles your nerves.
Just about dawn sleep rocking him,
His tiny fingers reach in and entwine your heart.

There is a stranger at the door,
A curly haired angel on the spring tour of homes,
Trying threes were never like this-
The broken toys, the biting, the banging of her head.
Exhausted curled in a tight ball, she sleeps.
She is safe here, you say, brushing her hair from her face.

There is a stranger at the door,
A snaggle tooth grin beams from his face,
Dark eyed charmer, nimble adventurer.
The school is concerned, Maybe ADHD,
Wants you to come; you understand,
Living with a tornado, charming or not is rough.

There is a stranger at the door,
Three AM and there she stands;
Wide eyed, holding back the tears, she refuses to speak.
Nine years old and seen way too much.
Three thirty breakfast and a bath,
You’ll take care of her needs, when she is ready you’ll listen.

There is a stranger at the door,
The twelve year old is not the same,
Who left smiling a year ago hopeful things had changed,
Sullen and angry with a “why me” look on his face.
The black eye and red marks tell it all.
You simply open your arms and welcome him home.

There is a stranger at the door,
There are really two, a mama and her baby
Thrown away like dust.
Fifteen isn’t so grownup when you’re alone.
You teach her how to do her algebra and what a mama’s to do.
As she struggles with her studies, you sing them how to love.

There is a stranger at the door…

Mary Elizabeth Todd

 

Prayers for the Journey

Celtic prayer

From Mary DeJong http://waymarkers.wordpress.com/

The end of another busy week  and it is time to post prayers from my facebook page Light for the Journey. The richness of contributions from the expanding team of contributors is amazing.  As I mentioned last week, I have enlisted the help of Jamie Arpin Ricci author of The Cost of Community and founder of Litte Flowers community in Winnipeg Manitoba; Phileena Heuertz co-founder of Word Made Flesh and author ofPilgrimage of a SoulMicha Jazz a contemplative activist in Chichester UK and a member of the Axiom Monastic Community; Bonnie Harr who posts prayers and reflections at In His FootstepsJohn Birch who posts Celtic Prayers and Resources atFaith and WorshipMary Plate DeJong who leads pilgrimages to Iona Scotland and is Forest Steward for one of Seattle’s urban forests and Mark Scandrette author ofPracticing the Way of Jesus and founding director of ReIMAGINE in San Francisco.

There are too many prayers for a single post, so I will post some today and some tomorrow. If you would like to access these prayers and reflections each day (and see  all the beautiful images that accompany them) please “like” the Light for the Journey Facebook page.

God my creator,

Draw me closer.

Christ my redeemer,

Draw me closer.

Spirit my advocate,

Draw me closer.

Let the eyes of my heart rest on you.

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God may I give myself only

to that which satisfies my heart,

May I give myself only

to that which strengthens my soul,

May I give myself only

to that which draws me closer to you.

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God you are love,

All you are expresses love,

All you do flows from love.

Lord wipe the scales from our eyes,

That we might see what love is doing.

———————–

Eternal God, Creator of all that is,

all that was, all that will ever be.

You who made the sun and moon,

Who brought night and day into being,

Transform our darkness into light,

Renew us, restore us, redeem us,

Let your presence shine through us,

That all might see.

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This is your world I step upon

the air I breathe

the food I eat

This is your world I step upon

the sounds I hear

the people I meet

This is your world I step upon

your footsteps

where I place my feet

(www.faithandworship.com)

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Lord Jesus Christ let your words flow into my soul,

Let them nourish me,

Let them grow within me,

Let their truths rise up within me,

Let them give me life.

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Let this moment settle in my heart,

Let all that it holds rest secure in the love of God,

Let the wonder of the holy One

radiate from the centre of my being,

Until the reality of Christ’s inner presence

Spills out into the world around me.

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Bonnie Harr - Aspen Praise

Bonnie Harr – Aspen Praise

Red Remains – A Prayer for Holy Week From Sally Morgenthaler

This morning I am posting a poem by Sally Morgenthaler. Sally says “I used to use speak with words. Now I use images. Photographing the everyday beautiful for the everyday soul. Patterns, sub-worlds, blur, and fleeting light. Life as a divine, sensual experience.” However as you can see she is still pretty good with words too.

Should there be any doubt
Any hearts
Clenched
Against love imagined
Against tenderness
Not spoken
Not poured
Into cavernous pain
Red remains
Platelets
Cells of fire and ice
Imprinted
On our souls
As surely as upon
Your swaddling cloth
Your burial shroud
That ready sponge
To sop Love’s lavish loss
Love’s sure ointment
Drained
Red remains
Should there be any doubt
That you are the One
Red asks:
What sage
What saint
Has, from naught, chemistried
This liquid life
Yet to feel its throb
Its heat
Its torturous descent and wane?
Red remains.