Left us all off balance,
Gaping hole that tears don’t fill,
Dark chasm that words can’t bridge.
Instead we scramble for a moment of peace
Knowing that laughter can happen even now
All tied up with the crying.
You left so many stories
Far too many barely begun.
Rough day, rough week
No one wants to wake up
To get ready for a funeral.
I’m thankful for prayers
For hugs to lean into
That say we’re all in this together.
You were going to show me a picture — did you forget? —
But neither of us had time just then
So I pressed the baguettes into your hands and the door closed.
And now you’re gone, no chance to say goodbye.
No answers for any of us, just questions, shock, tears, anger
How could you leave like this, and why? Is that okay to ask?
When I close my eyes, I see you laughing
Had you done that less these last few weeks?
It seems like I could touch you if I just reached out my hand
Like I can hear our routine script of silly questions, lame jokes:
Where would you like this?
In my stomach!
And I —
Oh God, I just don’t understand. None of us do.
Couldn’t it be an awful joke?
The words come out so blunt and raw: He’s dead.
No way to cushion, comfort, prepare.
Dead. I’m sorry.
Your hands that made me food —
I didn’t dream they’d cause your death.
So many things that I want to say:
We prayed for you! We loved you! We will all miss you so much!
But the tears fill my eyes and words can’t fill this silence.
So instead I’ll say
Goodbye, friend; thanks for looking out for us like we were family.
But there are too many things:
The food, the laughter, the random conversations, the sympathy.
So close, but too far, the other side of a barrier we cannot reach through —
Held together, woven by, shot through
That’s the storied pattern of my life.
Undergirded, frameworked, sustained
by the Word.
And so my heart aches for the familiar shapes
of Greek letters on a page: η χαρις μεθ’ υμων.
The marching rhythm of Latin verbs:
Amo! Amas! Amat!
I learned long ago to love.
My fingers move to space words into air
My hand form what my lips fail to say.
I miss the lilting, easy singing of Spanish:
Puedes creer que su mano esta en ti
How we blended it with our native tongue,
Kids growing up a week at a time.
The songs in Hebrew still spill from my lips:
Oseh shalom bim’romav hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu.
And then came Asia
Phrases laden with memories, laughter, tears.
Zhe shi shenme?
Wan an, wo ai ni.
And here I am, back in America
Flesh and blood forged in a fire of words
Being molded into the image of the Word.
[Greek: Grace with you
Latin: I love, you love, he loves//I have loved.
Spanish: You are able to believe that His hand is on you
Hebrew: May the One who makes peace in the heavens also make peace for us.
Chinese: What is this? //Good night, I love you.
Minnanyu: Come on! Crazy!
our imaginations aren’t great enough
(do you dare to dream wild?)
how could an unborn child even think
of all its life to come?
sunshine, friendship, homework, heartache
categories it cannot know, not yet.
we cling so hard to our present life
unwanting of the day that inevitably will come
when our eyes close a last time
and we cross the river alone
into a world unknown.
winter trees stand still
my feet on a homeward path
singing stars shine through
Remember the day, Love
when You molded man of earth
bent down and breathed Your life into him?
Remember the love that spun out
Flung flagrantly through creation
Wefted into the singing universe’s fabric?
And yet history tears and twists
Under the cutting weight of the damning record:
Rebellious subjects, a whoring bride.
We fled from You to the muddiest pits
Forming images of ourselves to proclaim our glory
Defiling Your image and defying Your authority.
We clung to these idols, gave them our breath
Offered our lives to make them grow strong
Glutted them with our children’s souls.
After such sin, what forgiveness?
Think now — oh my God.
What hope of homecoming, of reconciliation?
And yet You bring all stories full circle
Bending low to become a second Adam
God incarnate, Logos in flesh.
Dying to ransom our forsworn souls
From the crushing maw of death
Overturning the enemy’s schemes with divine irony.
Resurrecting as guarantee of our future
Rest on the seventh day, Light on the first
Breathing new life into our stone hearts.
Finally comes the call, a reiteration
Giving the mission to Your restored image-bearers
To carry Your glory into all creation.
For this, Triune God, I’ll forever worship:
That You still look on all you have made
And joyfully claim that it is Yours and is good.
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.