Sister

You’ve been through the same battles
You’ve lost the same fights
And I know that the memories haunt you.
I don’t hold you responsible, but –
I wish you would talk to me.
Tell me what you feel.
Tell me it can be okay.

She looked at me, this girl
Who should have still been a child
But her eyes were far too old.
I just wish my sister would talk to me.
Those words convicted, cut to my heart
Carried across continents.

I spent that summer asking:
How can I be a good sister?
Not guessing a camper might hand me an answer.
The things your younger sisters will need to hear
Are sometimes the dark things
The memories you don’t want to speak of
But they need to know:
Life has dark parts.
Pain is real.
In it all, God is good.
And you can still live.

Jesus and some women

I want to hang on the hem of Your covenant

I want to gather the crumbs from Your table

So I’ll slip through the crowd

And let my fingers brush Your robe

I’ll come quiet to the dinner

And let my tears wash Your feet

 

But in the midst of this crowded confusion

At this dinner where I do not belong

You make the world stop as Your eyes rest on me

And call me out

All that I am lies broken and exposed

And You restore my soul.

 

[college, junior year]

Is Water Strange to Fish?

Sometimes

No matter how many times the sun has set from one window

It feels like it is never enough

Always gone too fast.

 

When I come to the final days

Everything before seems so thin and fleeting

And I simply want to hold on to

Everything that grew familiar.

 

Lyrics dance through my mind:

Farewell to the mountains, whose mazes to me…

It’s time for leaving now…

I will try, but I don’t know how to let go…

 

How to reconcile?

I’m excited too

Anticipating new places, new people

New possibilities.

 

It’s always hard, but I’ve been learning

Some goodbyes are forever, but some people

Do come back

Life takes unexpected twists.

 

And when those times outweigh the sorrow

Short reunions in a broken world

I wonder about the joy to come

How ravishing it will be.

 

 

 

 

 

Connect

No substance behind your laughter
No light behind your eyes
I can’t quite reach to touch you.

So, didi, I tease
Trying to make you remember
What the future still could be.

Your heart got frozen, then shattered
And it hurts less to stay numb
But I pray that you heal instead.

God is good, I said
And he agreed
And I was just so glad
That this year instead of cancer
He’s filled with dreams.

So although sometimes I want to say
I wish the world was a better place
And that’s all I can think of,
Some days
These are the words I start and end on:
God is good.

Birthday

Psalm 27:4

We thought that we were wiser
We though we’d seen the world
We thought we knew the truth of things
Because we grew old and understood
More of the good and evil that wracks the world
Because we had seen the smoke and mirrors
And knew about fine print and twisted truths.

But we forgot what we had known
That You are great and You are good
That You save Your servants from the fire
Send flames that consume drenched offerings
Kill giants with unlikely stones
Bring walls tumbling down with us surprised
And bring life bursting out of death.

We thought that we were so mature
With our complex problems and respectable sins
We though we’d be accepted
Because we cast out demons and fed the poor
So we came proud and busy
Feeling self righteous for penciling You in
Like a necessary chore on our daily schedule.

But You said we should come like children
To enter Your kingdom knowing we’re poor
Wretched, naked, sick, and blind
Trusting in You and waiting on You
Unafraid because we know who You are
Calling You Abba, confident children
Desiring only to see Your face forever.

After a week of anti-gospel

You said if we kept Your glory silent,
The rocks would bear loud witness.
This week the world is screaming
Of how far we’ve fallen from glory
Look at the headlines
They leave us all reeling.

Race turned tragic by metal shot through air
Already that’s too much
It leaves so many questions
So many lives that will not be the same
Again ever.
And it all seems so senseless.

The ground shakes and shifts
In Yunnan, Oklahoma, Iran
Pictures of rubble and people bereft
We’re all just humans
Trying to stand and trying to walk
But even solid ground can betray.

Bombs go off in Iraq
And more people die.
Images of an explosion in Texas
Stories of babies massacred
Of rape and assault
All of our lives broken and twisted deep.

That’s not the end of this dizzy stream
Grudges and hatred thick enough to touch
China has neither forgotten nor forgiven
Atrocities carried out by Japan.
I’ve seen bitterness in students’ eyes
Although others want reconciliation.

When wars drag on too long
It’s hard to say what winning would be
There’s just the aching knowledge
That all the people are victims
And people beg for peace in Korea
But no one knows what will happen.

H7N9, H七N九
Germs in the air
Fear of what could be
We all wonder, wait.
When students are sick,
It’s hard not to worry.

Our hearts are all heavy
With pain of our own
And the earth crying out.
I’m eager for renewal
For a world without killing, corruption
Death, disease, disaster.

But then I think about them.
It’s already choking me to say
I won’t be back next year
And I have three months left!
I don’t know when this love grew
That welded my heart so suddenly.

I think of 300-something faces and names
Of all that I’ve heard of their stories
Of dining hall conversations
And questions in class
Messages on qq
And yesterday in my living room.

“They say China’s dangerous, with no belief.”
He told me, laughing, this friend of mine
His eyes are all honest and his smile’s wide open.
“Do I look dangerous to you?”
I couldn’t laugh, afraid that I’d cry
Afraid that my heart would split open and spill.

I’m not afraid of you, of course,
But I am so afraid for you.
The world is rushing to its end
And I don’t know how to wake you up
You are not yet prepared
For what will surely come.

So in the midst of all the darkness
All the terrible news crashing in
I am pleading for light to break in, undeniable
For good news to explode
To infect dead hearts with life
For all manner of things to be well.