Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Whole Story (A Sermon about David, and a whole mess of other stuff)

The text for this sermon was from 1 and 2 Samuel and Psalm 51.  In worship, we read the story of Samuel anointing David, from 1 Samuel 16.  Those of you who know David's story might remember that it got a little....complicated.

Oh, it started out well. The story begins so beautifully. David has a lovely pedigree:   The son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz. A good line, people who made good decisions, wise decisions, people with generous hearts who worshipped the Lord. On the women’s side (they don't make it easy to find, but it's worth knowing...), there was Ruth, the savvy widow who secured a future where there seemed to be no hope. There was Rahab, the woman who welcomed everyone into her apartments (even the spies sent to scope out her city) and who wrangled a promise of protection from them.

Read between the lines. We’re supposed to fall in love with David. Everyone does, in the end. God has an eye on the runt of the litter, a shepherd, at work as the story begins, and unable to join the party. The others were invited in to worship. The others were invited to meet the prophet. But David, the youngest, was left out. And so because God loves the outcasts, we know that good things are in store for David.

Oh, we love the story of this beautiful, ruddy youth, love the youth himself. Love what he represents: tan from his time in the sun, strong and fit from all that wandering after sheep, and a musician, too. What’s not to like? Practically irresistible. Of course God would call him. How could he not be called? (David, the beautiful youth – scripture tells us he was not chosen for his beauty, but the writer takes such pains for us to know just how handsome he was, this king-to-be, hero-to-be…so we know better, don’t we.)

So when Samuel has him kneel – Samuel, the prophet, the one who hears God calling in the night. – when Samuel has him kneel we know the oil is going to pour down and we are witnessing a great day. A GREAT DAY for the nation of Israel. A GREAT DAY for the line of Jesse.

(Mind you, there’s already a king in Israel. It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t know what’s going on yet.)

David doesn’t disappoint. He soothes King Saul’s restless sleep with the strings of his harp. He becomes fast friends with Saul’s son Jonathan (perhaps more than friends, if you’re reading between the lines). He confronts a giant, armed with a sling and a stone, and wins. When the king dies in battle, when his line is extinguished, David is ready. Battle-hardened, and politically savvy, a musician, handsome as all get out. He brings the Holy Ark of God to Jerusalem. God makes a covenant with him, establishes the House of David.

Oh, how we’re supposed to love him.

You know it can’t last, right? Somehow it’s all going to come crashing down. And so it does. There are only so many praise songs one man can write; at some point, things begin to get complicated. The war goes on, David’s cooped up in his palace, and a pretty woman catches his eye. Except that pretty woman, Bathsheba, is actually married to another man. David didn’t let “thou shalt not covet” stop him. He got the woman pregnant, and he had the man killed. And what he had done was evil in the Lord’s sight. The story that began in such promise, went spectacularly off the rails when David saw Bathsheba and made his terrible choice.

And when he was called on it, he wept in anguish:
“Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love!  Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!” (Ps 51:1) 
This is where the story breaks open. This is where it actually begins to get interesting, where it begins to matter, intensely, to those of us who understand the broken bits.  We know David’s desperation. At some point in our life, we have all prayed – or will pray – his prayer:

 “Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!” (Ps 51:10)

We treat these times of brokenness as if they represent a discontinuity – as if they somehow sever the beginning of the story from the present and the future. We see this in our common life: we put people on pedestals, and when they show a sign of their humanity, exhibit a flaw, we tear them down with glee. But they are one life, one person. Inseparable. Light and dark, sunshine and shadow, glory and pain. One gives definition to the other.

David who is anointed, and David who makes both wise and questionable choices, and David who repents with bitter tears – all of these are one person. The handsome shepherd and the beautiful singer, the warrior and the husband, the king and the lover – all of these are one.

There is no human being who has a straight path home into the heart of God. You were born the apple of God’s eye, precious, beautiful, beloved. Yet from your first moments, you caused pain. You received pain. You have been shaped by love and loss and day-by-day choices. Some of them pleasing to God, and others, well…. Not so much.

God does not claim only the beautiful parts of your story. God claims the whole story: the parts that were created whole and holy, and the parts that are broken and need to be redeemed.

Wherever your life has gone off the rails, whether it is by your choices, or someone else’s choices, or sheer circumstance, know this: You are the same child who was once - and is forever - washed in the water of divine love. You are the same youth called in from the wilderness and invited to kneel – even though you barely had a clue what was happening, what you were in for. And precious oil anoints your head, always, and you are called beloved, chosen of the Lord. That holy moment overlays every broken moment that brings you to your knees. They are, together, the fabric that makes up human existence, the pattern of our relationship with God.

Life didn’t get any easier for David. War and family strife followed him all of his days. But even so, the shepherd king kept singing:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer…
my stronghold and my refuge, my savior.” 
(2 Sam 22:2-3).

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called…
he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.” (2 Sam 22:7)

He did not forsake the holy moment that still sang within him. He made his offerings to God.

In his old age, the stories tell us, David still found the company of a young woman a pleasant way to keep warm.

Shall we speak of what is holy, and what is broken?

 “O Lord, open our lips, and our mouths will declare your praises.” (Ps 51:15)



Creative Commons License  

The Whole Story by Rev. Kerri Parker is licensed under a 
It was preached at McFarland UCC on October 20, 2013.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Midnight Reunion Communion

And Jesus taught them in parables, saying,
Imagine this: you are not alone.

A friend arrives in the middle of the night.
Gift number one: a friend
Gift number two: delivered safely to your door!
Two gifts.   Me, and you.
A third gift: the connection between us.

Jesus taught them in parables, saying,
Imagine this: the cupboards are bare.

You have no stomach-filling gift
 To offer a road-weary traveler.
You are embarrassed.  You are tired.
It is beyond late, too late.

But rather than keeping your sorrow
Hidden, and your secret emptiness,
You go out.   Down the steps (shabby slippers and all)
Shrugging the back-door coat over your shoulders,
Through the yard to the neighbors.’

A motion-activated light does its work
Illuminates the developing hole
Above your big toe, as you stare –
Hard – at the cement, at your slippers,
Willing this asking moment to be
– well – less awkward

[Knock, knock]
Again, with urgency
[Knock, Knock]

Jesus taught them in parables, saying,
Imagine this: the neighbor comes.

Gift number four reveals itself:
Neighbor!  Neighbor awake! Neighbor listening!
And the words tumble, inelegant, from your lips:
Gift number one: a friend
Gift number two: here!
Good friend, dear friend.
Problem: no food.

Query: Help??

Jesus taught them in parables, saying,
Imagine this: the answer is yes.

The answer is yes
Merely because the question is asked.
It is not a frivolous question.
You had the guts to ask for bread.
You knocked!  You woke the neighborhood!

And here we are racking up gifts.
Have you lost count yet?

Gift number one: a friend.
Gift number two: here
Gift number three: the connection!
Gift number four:  a neighbor
Gift number five:  who gives!

And there is a miracle at work here,
As the gifts rain down from heaven.

The miracle is not that a friend shows up at your door, safely.
It is not that your neighbor hands over the bread,
Despite sleeping children and cautious eyes.

It is not that you, nighttime companions,
celebrated kitchen-table reunion communion
Nor, that you finally, hours later, slept.

No, the miracle is this:
You asked.

Jesus taught them in parables, saying,
Imagine this: you are not alone.
Imagine this: you are not alone.
Really, you are not alone.
This is the gift.  This is the good news
the reign of heaven revealed,

Imagine this!  You are not alone.
This surfeit of gifts, close and distant relationships,
Midnight wakings and moving feet and asking lips and bread.
A tumbled-out story and moths fluttering in the porch light,
The asker and the asked, the seeker and the sought.

Who is the midnight traveler?
And who is it that wakes?
Whose cupboards are bare?
And just who is knocking on whose door?

He taught them in parables.
It made them think.

Ask, and it will be given.
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will be opened.


Preached at McFarland UCC on July 28, 2013 (Pentecost+10, Year C).  Text - Luke 11:1-13

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Shepherd's Song

Shall we just acknowledge, right up front, that it was a HELL of a week? Any week that starts with taxes and goes downhill from there deserves that recognition.  Let’s be honest with ourselves and with God, that this was a week when we needed to lean on something, someone bigger and broader and deeper and stronger than ourselves as we navigated a relentlessly violent news cycle.

In Boston, death and destruction on what should have been a day of celebration. An industrial explosion in Texas that partially leveled a town. Poisoned letters through the postal service. A gun control vote that brought back the horror of December’s school shootings. An earthquake -- did you know there was a major earthquake in China while all this was going on? The manhunt for the bombing suspects in Boston, a major metropolis in lockdown, a city living in fear. Our collective post-traumatic stress from 9/11 was triggered once again.

And closer to our own geographic location, personal dramas gripped us all the while – finances, health, work, school, relationships – because those things never stop coming either. And the rain. The seemingly-never-ending, spirit-flattening cold rain that has only been interrupted by April snow. We ran out of adjectives and resorted to expletives. Dear Jesus, can you please send us puppies and rainbows and unicorns next because we’re drowning in bad news and there is no ark in sight.  How long, O Lord? How much do you expect us to take? We address the questions to God, not because God did it, but because God is the only thing we know on this scale.

Heaven help us, this has been a week of God-sized terrors, which take our fiction of being independent, self-guided and self-actualized and make of it a mockery. This has been a week of being reminded that “independent” doesn’t preach when the blast has knocked you to the ground and you need perfect strangers to tie a piece of cloth tightly around your leg, carry you away in their arms and save your life. Self-guided and self-actualized doesn’t cut it when you’re stunned by the rapid swirl of events, when a misfire in your brain has left you foggy and confused and you desperately need someone to take your hand and help you keep walking through the valley of the shadow lest you fall down and cry your heart out there in the valley and never get up again.

Dear God, we need a shepherd. We need Holy Words and a Holy One, a Holy Resurrected One, because the terrors of the week were quite enough, thank you, and we need somebody bigger to be in charge. We need someplace safe to lie down. We need a drink of cool, healing water. We need green things and flowers and beauty and softness and birds twittering like they do in the animated movies, not that other Twitter that this week carried violence and rumors of violence to us minute by minute, scrolling by on electronic streams.  

Among the oldest depictions of Jesus is the image of the Good Shepherd, a fresco on the ceilings of the catacombs, the burial places of the early Christians near Rome.  We have always needed a shepherd.  Oh, dear God, we need a shepherd. Because to be shepherd-less is terrifying, wandering aimlessly, stumbling near the cliffs in the night. Because without a shepherd, we’re not a flock, not really. We’re just a buffet dinner in wooly clothes waiting for the next wolf to walk by. We need your Holy Words and Holy Nudges and the comfort of learning your songs because you need a song to sing in a time like this.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. The odds are good that someone, somewhere taught you that. You learned it in Sunday School or Religious Education or by recitation at countless funerals, or perhaps from your grandmother. There are other Holy Words too, touchstones, sacred songs from scripture and tradition, songs that you lean on because they are heart-songs, heart-prayers, borne of constant repetition.

A woman with dementia in the hospital where I did my chaplaincy, who had witnessed violence in her own home, was practically nonverbal until the day I said the 23rd Psalm alongside her, mumbling along until we came to the valley of the shadow of death where she proclaimed triumphantly with a prophet’s voice so the entire wing could hear, “I will fear no evil!

My Catholic grandmother used to say the rosary when I was in her cool apartment on a summer’s day.  And though I was raised protestant, my heart knows the words.  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death, Amen.  I know this, from hearing my grandmother recite it countless times. It was, and is, a heart-prayer.

I was scared of the dark as a child, scared to go down the dark hall to turn on my bedroom light, scared to get out of bed in the night to use the bathroom, and I remember running down the hall reciting the Lord’s Prayer at lightning speed as if it were a talisman against terror, leaping onto the safe haven of my bed. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Maybe it’s not Psalms or the prayers but more recent songs you sing in these times. Maybe it’s from the hymnal in your childhood church where the spine cracked open to “Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.” Perhaps it is Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, or “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn… through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” Perhaps it is the echo of an organ resounding with the great chords of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, A Bulwark NEVER failing…” and a congregation, a cloud of witnesses singing in four part harmony.

"For still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe…” When we are scared, when we are terrified, when we are wounded, sick in body or spirit, what Holy Word, what Holy Tune is so deeply ingrained in us that it comes to our lips, unbidden? It is that tune, that prayer, that story, that we learned in childhood. It has been said that in singing songs to our children, we are preparing them for their deathbeds. Such are the songs they will sing, the songs and prayers and theology that will pulse through their heart, be breathed through their lips in their last days. Such were the Psalms offered up by the wounded and dying in Boston, by the first responders, by the ambulance drivers and trauma surgeons, by the police officers in their cruisers, on their house-by-house search, by those behind locked doors and drawn shades, and even by those watching their televisions and computer screens with bated breath. 

And though it makes this mother ache to think of, in a time of terror, these are the songs that our children will someday have to draw on.

So I ask this body of Christ, on this Bible-giving Sunday, on this Sunday following terror (not after, never after, not until the last trumpet sounds) on this day where we talk of sheep and shepherds, I ask you parents and you grandparents, you aunts and uncles, you Godparents and faith friends and adoptive and surrogate parents, you brothers and sisters in Christ, you baptismal promise-making, flock of Christ-following ones: How are you claiming your promises?  How are we preparing our children to walk through life? How are we preparing them to walk through the valley of the shadow of death? With what holy words and sacred songs, with what heritage are we equipping them?

How is this flock showing its children that this is the Shepherd and you can trust his voice? How can we teach them the song the shepherd sings and how good it is? How do we set the table for their adulthood?

Oh, dear God, we need a shepherd. The adult sheep, every one of us, and the adolescent sheep and the young sheep and the stumbling, toddling baby sheep who have just come into the flock, those whose little legs can’t hold them up yet, the eldest sheep full of life experience, having seen a lifetime of wolves and valleys and shepherds and streams. Dear God, we need a shepherd.

Let us pray together:
I believe I need a shepherd.
Because I am sometimes timid and other times overconfident,
because I often don't know the best path yet pretend I do,
because I rush into dead ends or lead others into hazardous places,
because my brightest ideas are seamed with darkness,
because the things I crave may not be what is good for me,
I need a shepherd.
I believe in Jesus, the best possible shepherd;
his wisdom leads me to the best opportunities,
his word comforts me when I'm anxious or afraid,
his arm steadies me when I feel weary and heavy-laden,
his wounded body displays the cost of my rescue,.
I believe in Jesus, the best possible shepherd.
I believe that I do not find him but he finds me,
that I live under his care by virtue of sheer grace,
the love he gives me is to be shared with others,
that he treasures my name and prepares a place for me,
that his fold transfixes earth and heaven.
I trust Jesus, the good shepherd. Amen.

"I believe I need a shepherd" (c) Bruce Prewer, used with permission of the author.  Sermon preached at McFarland UCC on April 21, 2013 by Rev. Kerri Parker.   From the Revised Common Lectionary texts for Easter 4C, Psalm 23 and John 10:22-30.  With the exception of the previously stated copyright, this sermon is under a Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons License

Friday, March 29, 2013

everyday bandits

we have been letting them kill jesus
different names to be sure different
baptismal names given names adopted
names of poor rich artbringing musicmaking
different skin different attitude different

when things are less than clear we call
for a scapegoat face mixed-up mixed-in
out of place lingering in the margins face
so an everyday bandit in a three piece suit
or casual friday khakis may just get away
but the one who declines to rule who just
wants to celebrate the sheer power of life -

that one, we crucify.

we have been killing jesus for a long time now
jesus with different names faces genders loves
family trees places of being passions and tastes
but this passion for life shown by a child of god
is the one that must be crushed obliterated
ignored marginalized not matter not ours no

an affront. dust and ashes whose insignificance
we must prove by forcefully casting aside a threat

to everyday bandits everywhere

Inspired by the passion story
in the Gospel according to John
Holy Week 2013

what is truth?

things are moving too fast
can we not stop this dissonant parade?

passover dinner to garden to prayer
and in a sleepy fog they came, we fought
over him and thought not much in a torchlit
terror-filled garden

to Annas to Caiaphas to Pilate we cannot
keep straight where they have taken him
but he is moving, always moving, they are
moving him and striking him and asking
ever more questions that have no fair answer

questions that lead to one conclusion
a painful one a shouting crowd
the kingdom of something certainly
not the one we were looking for

what is truth?

Inspired by the passion story 
according to the Gospel of John
Holy Week 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dinner with A Dead Man

It was a revolutionary dinner, if you believe John’s account of it. Six days before the Passover – shortly before Jesus entered the great city – there was a dinner. It couldn’t have been a quiet dinner if he had tried, because the whole region was buzzing about what Jesus had been up to. The teaching and the healing was one thing. Breaking the Sabbath laws were another. But this rabbi had the chutzpah to raise the dead! That was the problem. What was dead, was supposed to stay dead. And here Jesus was, upsetting the natural order of things.

Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for four days when Jesus called him out, called him back to life. And it’s in the home of Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha, that we find ourselves for today’s Gospel. With Lazarus – dead and buried and alive-all-over-again Lazarus, at table. The Gospel writer tells us that people came from miles around – not just to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus for themselves. Scandal, or Good News? Hard to tell. Difficult news, without a doubt. Revolutionary news, without question. A dead man, hosting a wanted man and his associates for dinner, at the eve of a great festival, not far from the holy city, just as the Roman governor was preparing his own arrival. Nope, sounds totally innocent to me. There can’t be any trouble brewing here. Move right along, there’s nothing to see.

Imagine the tension in the room. Imagine the nervous energy. There’s a dead man at the table, one overly grateful sister in the kitchen cooking up a storm, another overly grateful sister crying on Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair. (Awkward!!)  There are hordes of people outside the door wanting to see this not-dead man for themselves. Pharisees and scribes somewhere in the neighborhood plastering up ‘Wanted’ posters.

And Judas picks this moment to start complaining about the expense account? You’ve got to be kidding me. “But Mary, who authorized the purchase of this ointment? Who said you could use it?,” Judas wanted to know. He badgered her over and over – surely this could have been used more efficiently, surely she could have waited and saved it for a rainy day. Mary, for her part, didn’t care, not even one tiny bit. Her brother, whom she had given up for dead, was alive. Her beloved teacher, Jesus, was on his way to Jerusalem in what was clearly a suicide mission, as far as she could see. Judas could stuff it. What better time was there to use that jar of precious ointment, than to celebrate death and resurrection, to celebrate love and learning and fellowship?

The room was buzzing with excited voices, with the expectation of a new world to come. This was it – the moment had come, the moment they had all been waiting for. The energy had built up and built up, they knew it, they were on the threshold of something amazing. Finally, it was time, and past time. They were ready for the talk to be over; the acts of individual compassion, the healing and the hugging of children was all very nice, but wasn’t there a revolution to get rolling? Meanwhile, the doorbell kept ringing and people kept hopping up to peek in the windows, to get a glimpse of these infamous characters.

Chaos. Utter chaos. And Mary’s hair was wet with oil and with tears and her face streaked with road dust, and the whole place smelled like the perfume department in a fancy store, and the dishes just kept coming from the kitchen, Martha can you cut it out already, we have enough to feed an army! Judas, shut up! Enough about the bills. I don’t care about the reserves. Can’t we at least manage one simple meal without being at one another’s throats?

Except it was anything but simple. They were so ramped up with hope and exhaustion that everything seemed simultaneously possible and impossible. Too many options, too many futures to consider, too many things going down all at once; now that the ball had started rolling it couldn’t be stopped. Forward, through, was the only way – there was no backing out now, they all knew it. So caught up in their own hopes and dreams, in the promise of a Messiah, in the avalanche of promise, that they missed the simple truth in their midst: They were eating at a dead man’s dinner table.

They were eating dinner with a dead man. A dead-now-alive-man. There’s not much more revolutionary than that, breaking bread with a dead man. A dead-now-alive-man. A marked-for-death-man. Sure, you can march behind his banners, you can listen to his teachings, you can follow him all over the Godforsaken territory, and leave your fishing boats in dry dock. You can keep company with the outcasts and the turncoats and the tax collectors and the ne’er-do-wells. But until you sit down at a table with one of his miracles, a living, breathing, miracle right in your midst, and realize that is what you’re eating with – a miracle – then you don’t get it.

It’s all academic, it’s all theoretical, right up until the moment that you see the truth: Keeping company with Jesus is keeping company with death and resurrection.

Keeping company with Jesus is breaking bread, on a regular basis, with miracles. Multiplying loaves-and-fishes miracles. Lost-and-now-found miracles. Coming home miracles. Barren-and-now-fruitful miracles. Second chance miracles. Blind-but-now-I-see miracles. Terrifyingly transformative miracles. World-shaking miracles. Worth-getting-up-for miracles. Worth-living-for miracles.

Do you know, you who keep company with Jesus: do you know that you are sitting in the middle of a miracle? Do you know that you are about to sip coffee and eat cake with miracles? Do you know that you just declared your resurrection faith, with miracles? Do you know that you worship in community with a resurrection story? That every time you come to worship, you are sitting down with Lazarus? That the person sitting beside you, in front of you, behind you, is a resurrection miracle?

 If you did not know it before, or if you had forgotten, know it now: To be a Christ-follower is to keep company with death-and-resurrection on a daily basis. And if we do not remember – from time to time – that we are in a death-and-resurrection story, then we are as guilty as the disciples, of missing what is under our very noses.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, whether you are weeping all over Jesus’ feet, or whether you are counting the money in the common purse; whether you are eating your dinner, stunned to be alive or whether you are just peeking in the windows to see what this is all about…. You inhabit a resurrection story. You are part of a resurrection revolution.

Claim your miracles! What was dead, is alive. What is dying, will have eternal life. What has come into being is life, and the life is light for all people. The light shines in the darkness – in the midst of imminent terror, in the midst of death and destruction and overwhelming injustice – the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.

Nevertheless:  what is alive, will die. Death always comes before resurrection. There is no shortcut.

But here, where the family gathers, on the eve of the festival, there are tears, there is food, there is hope, there is flagrant waste and generous gifting. There are songs to be sung and miracles to be witnessed and, yes, budgets to juggle. But there are living, breathing miracles among us and those – those miracles exist as a truth beyond words, a truth that fills the room more than if every window-peeker tried to cram their way through the door at once.


They were sitting at dinner with a dead man. A dead-now-alive man. A living, breathing miracle. They were sitting down at dinner with a wanted and a marked-for-death man. And it was almost time to head into the city.

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Amen.

Preached Lent 5C at McFarland UCC.  Text:  John 12:1-11.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Merciful God,
I confess that I am not you
(although I sometimes try to be).

Merciful God,
I confess that sometimes I forget
that I am made in your image.

Merciful God,
I confess that I am full of compromises
(Or maybe, I'm just full of it),
when I could, instead, be full of you.

Merciful God,
You know what it is I need.
You know what it is I hide from myself,
and what it is I try to hide from you.

In this 40 days of Lent,
remind me that life is
dust and ashes and glory,
mingled together.

Great Creator,
Lord and Savior,
Spirit of the Living God,

Draw me up from the dust,
Out from the places of death,
And ever closer to you.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

My large cat is a metaphor

My large cat is a metaphor
struggling off my lap.

Limbs splayed at awkward angles
attempting to clean off indignity

but also the solidness in my arms
the certainty of unmistaken presence

extending and retracting claws
pressing nose into my armpit
insistent search for kittenhood

relaxed gaze upward regarding me
as I stroke pawpads to open up
a clenched feline fist.

Change of seasons


The next small thing
is to get rid of some unnecessary things.

To face the wall of pride-and-shame
and tear down the blocks one by one -
with teeth and claw
and hammer and
prybar, with major
equipment if needed.

To prepare the way
a road in the tangled
wilderness of my heart:

smooth -  broad  - 

open - peace-filled


with vistas
that draw the eye. 


My boxes and bags
are accumulated fear.
I long to put their
contents on sale,
a wandering Savior
picking up an item
from the bin, declaring
"I"ll take this one"
and walking away with it
- the price already
having been paid.

But it isn't market day
 - yet,

and my merchandise
waits for labeling and display;
as I have been protecting
it from theft for so long
that I do not know
a proper customer
when I see him before me.

(I am tempted to wait
a little longer, even as
the fruit grows overripe.)