July 8, 2022

Jul 8, 2022

This Spring, our Wednesday Book Group read Walter Brueggemann’s Praying the Psalms. Brueggemann describes the Psalms as radically vulnerable language from the experience of joy, delight, grief, anguish, fear. That language is offered to God as praise and, often, as shockingly direct petition—a demand to be heard, considered, answered. And that, at times, is where we have to risk beginning if we’re genuinely to open ourselves to God. We can do that in confidence that we’re heard, and received. Being truly heard changes us; hope can and will arise there. 

We’re now trying to walk within so many deeply interwoven crises as a people. This week, three of our writers for our Meditations blog offer poems of petition, waiting in confidence for the hope that belongs to God, and that is always God’s gift. We invite you to pray with us. 

– Fr. Ryan 

Heavy

Sometimes weight is good.
The grounding of a weighted blanket,
Quieting the scrambled anxious twitch,
Enforcing still reflection.
Or the trusting weight of a sleeping child,
Her heartbeat reminding you of love and life.
Or the dog who knows,
Just knows when his weight helps.

Yet lately I feel weight that hurts,
The pack I carry, heavier each day,
With stones engraved with grief,
They bear names known to all,
Ukraine, Uvalde, Chicago,
The names of oppressive politics,
Conflict. Racism. Division.
A broken system my small voice can’t fix.
They bear names of my friends and family,
Struggling with illness, stress, and pain.

I wake up ready to begin the day,
To put on my pack and fight,
Only to see a new stone,
When my heart and back already ache.

Too much to bear alone,
Too important to put down. 
God, thoughts and prayers will never be enough.
I pray for courage to speak truth to power,
And strength to carry every coming stone.

Melanie Kyer
July 7, 2022

Ohio

Rain drops
collect on her lashes
caught
in a summer shower
at soccer camp.
Later
laughter
ice cream with friends,
then tucked in
contentedly
tuckered out.

The day it happens
she is playing piano
until she isn’t
and instead of lessons
there are strong hands
and strange sounds.
Where did the music go?
Someone is wailing.
She covers her ears,
but it doesn’t stop.

It never stops.
That’s what she tells them
about the screaming in her head.
Her mother’s chin trembles
as the doctor writes.
Her father holds the door jamb. 
“Six weeks,” someone says.
It sounds far away
and also very, very close.

Too close.
Everything feels too close.
Like she’s being smothered
even when there’s no one there.
And it’s hard to run
when she can’t breathe
and all she wants to do
is run and run
and run
because she’s too afraid
to sit still.

“Still,” they say
“consider it an opportunity.”
She looks into eyes
that don’t see her.
A girl who wears sneakers
and likes sundaes.
A girl who tries to breathe
when the screaming won’t stop.
A girl who isn’t ready
to be a mother.

A girl. Right. In. Front. Of. Them.

ERASED.

Kathryn Yingst
July 5, 2022

 

 

The glass is not half full.

The glass is shattered into a cloud of shards shooting fire
And bloodstained ice

The tears it weeps at it falls stain the ground with fury
And a suffocating blanket of frustration

It hits the ground as a scream of fear
And a sigh of despair

And lays there empty of hope
Exhausted from the fight
Astonished that it has come to be here, to be like this.

As yet there is no will for the glass to put itself back together,
To gather its shards
To reshape itself
To fill itself again.

Perhaps that time will come.

But it does not come today.

Barbara Ryther