#NIGHT: IT MAY BE A BIT DARK

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

it’s hard to write about the night
when the room i sit in is full of peaceful natural light,
and the company i dwell beside
in my home and in my life
is full to the brim with intentionality,
knowing even when i’m in the dark
i can send a call
down the street or down the hall,
and someone will come close to me.

even still, the night comes earlier now,
and i can still remember how
some years it was so hard to get through
the winter because it was bleak and dim
and there was no one to talk to;
awaiting and waiting,
longing to enter
the spring; the hope of life and bloom
and better things.

this year i’m settling in to this space
that may be a bit dark,
but allows for the grace
to rest and expect,
to pause and remain,
and abide in your love.
god, come again.
god, be the spark.
i’ll be the flame.

the world is so dark
and we need you again.



#FOCUS: HE COULD SEE HER THEN SO CLEARLY

 le Lorraine, Louis Joseph. “King David Kneeling in Penitence.”

le Lorraine, Louis Joseph. “King David Kneeling in Penitence.”

david came to gaze before you,
both emboldened and afraid,
by all which had been spoken of,
what you had set in place.

looking deep into your face
he wondered, gently, at his place;
speechless yet so full of praise,
considering tomorrow-days.

and he could see her, then, so clearly;
a daughter of future generations,
the mother of the one you promised
embracing a small lover of the nations.

he pondered all this in his heart
just like that girl would do.
“hold her in your focus, god!
sustain her in your view.”

i wonder what could come from me;
by love, grafted in to this great story,
forgiven, and allowed to be
a tiny sprout on jesse’s tree.

david seemed to understand
we’re only carriers of glory
and when david prayed for her that day,
he also prayed for me.


Inspired By: 2 Samuel 7:18-29

ALTHOUGH THE LIGHT IS OUT

 Pond, Clayton. “The Kitchen in My Former Studio.” 1968.

Pond, Clayton. “The Kitchen in My Former Studio.” 1968.

the light is out above the kitchen sink,
so cleaning is harder.
this thing is true;
the light is out above the worktable of my heart,
attempting surgery in the dark.
soap, water, brush, rinse.
air dry.

later, on the drying rack
dishes are still dirty.
this lack of light, unbearable.
more soap, more scrub; no difference.
there are always bits left behind
and I must wash again.

oh, to stop scrubbing
my own heart
and let Love
wash it clean.
no bits left behind
although the light is still out.
a perfect clean,
although the light is out.


I stumbled across this, written over a year ago, as I was searching my archives for the perfect first post for The Mustard Seed Conspiracy. At the time I wrote it, I was living in a house whose kitchen boasted but one single light, two bulbs, in the center of the ceiling. On dark winter evenings, I’d wash my dishes and think them clean, only to wake up the next morning and see them in the light - still dirty. My weary disgusted-ness at gross bits of old food are how I feel when I discover my flaws resurfacing time and time again, no matter how I try to amputate them. The annoyance of re-washing dishes over and over mimics my continual frustration at being human, at my endless attempts to get it right and the mistaken feeling that perhaps I could, if only I could see a little better.

The last stanza reflects my best hope for myself: that I could live as God sees me, relaxing into His love and letting it cover over my multitude of sins.

FALLING

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

she resonates with the fall trees,
as they whip about in the fall breeze,
feeling small among these tall trees,
eager to shed off the death in their fall leaves.


eager to shed off the death in her fall leaves,
she resonates with the fall trees.


she clings to her belief
like she clings to this forsaken leaf,
shed by the fall trees
being whipped about by the fall breeze.


being whipped about by the fall breeze,
she clings to her belief.

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

the crisp air reveals her breath
as she gazes and reflects on this beautiful death.
each color of leaf
a different shade of gold, a different hue of grief.
just like them she’s changing.


just like them she’s changing.
the crisp air reveals her breath.


in breath, she heaves
a sigh
of relief,
like the breeze
in the fall trees.
in death, she believes.  


there’s beauty in the  f
a
  l
  l
 i
 n
g
.
.
.

HUTCHMOOT

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

I am finally able to sit down in silence with this piece of scrap paper covered in scribbles of half-processed and fast-written thoughts; a slight drizzle drips outside, a cup of hot tea in hand (although where’s the crisp air?), and a cuddly kitten on my lap (who can’t quite seem to decide if she wants to stay or go).

Yes, I can write now.

The top of the paper says “Hutchmoot.”

After five years of dreaming about it, I was finally able to make it to Hutchmoot. That’s a long time. Also, it seems, the best time. A year earlier would have been too soon. A year later, possibly, too late. I entered into Hutchmoot at the tail end of stripping so many things away that don’t belong to me or who I am. I arrived at the precipice of entering into a truthfulness, staring down into it from that cliff of doubt and practicalities, but filled with the courage to finally jump. I knew deep in my spirit that this weekend would give me the wings to glide off. I knew that I was ready.

Yet, as I entered the doors of Hutchmoot on the first day, paging through all of the books, observing the artwork and listening to the conversation, an all too familiar voice whispered to me, “You don’t belong here.” The lie is deeply rooted in the fall of humanity. This lie I have been tempted to believe most of my life. Many times I have reached out and chosen this lie. Many times I have accepted it. I have chosen it out of self-doubt and perfectionism, thinking I could never be good enough. I have chosen it out of protection from opportunities and dreams and people and relationships that I long for and love deeply, that mean so much to me I would break to be rejected. It’s a lie that has usually left me on the outside looking in. This is a lie that seperates.

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

Thankfully, the spirit of Hutchmoot is a Kingdom spirit. Thankfully, the Kingdom spirit sings over the lies. The lies feel stupid amidst all the beauty, and they leave. They quickly realize they have no power, even to the smallest of humans, standing on the edge of the cliff, peering off into the abyss below, wings strapped on tight. The fog below ebbs in and out, giving way to patches of intense clarity. Yes, there’s something down there.

I hesitantly walked into the auditorium on the first day for the first plenary, not knowing what to expect, only to be quickly and warmly scooped up by Hutchmoot veterans before I could even find a seat. I would soon find out I was in a place where the welcoming speech mostly consisted of comforting all the introverts. A place where people don’t ask the dreaded, “So what do you do?” - but rather, “What do you create?” or  “What do you write?” or “Why are you here?” A place where even the chef is a writer, and even the meals are immersed in story and meaning. I was in a place where you don’t have to constantly be on the lookout for “your people” because you’re already surrounded by them. A place where every form of artistic expression is deeply woven into each other.

I was in a room full of resonators, and the ring of our notes playing off of each other was loud enough to drown out a thousand lies.  

And the truth is, if I don’t belong there, than I truly don’t belong anywhere. Hutchmoot - it’s essence, is mission, its values, its people, its joy, its community, its passion, its vision, everything! - embodies who I’m becoming as a person. It embodies who I’ve always been. It embodies who I am.

I am a writer. I am a creator. I am a servant in a Kingdom of beauty, with the gift of the eyes to see it, and the responsibility to show it to others.

Hutchmoot gave me the permission to create. It said “YES” to all that needed affirmed. It surrounded me with a group of people to cheer me on, some from the top and some from the bottom, as I leap off of the cliff.

So here I go, awkwardly winged, into the fullest of truths.

The Voice that I love says, “Welcome home. You have arrived.”

SNOW

 Photo: K. Dagen

Photo: K. Dagen

Outside -
a shovel scrapes;
panic.
No.
I want to be the one,
I want to be the blessing.

Layer up;
hurriedly.

Dig, scrape, lift,
labor -
for me and for my neighbor.
Let me be the blessing.

Don't watch,
don't look,
I need this more than you.

Irritants
give way to shame;
overcome by my own humanity.
Even my best attempts are ugly.

No stirring, no movement.
Apart from me all is still.
I labor.
But the world waits.

Quick to bless?
No, quick to mess.

 

My shovel only interrupts a work that is not yet complete.
Neglecting
to see the smooth subtle beauty
before it's destroyed by human frustration;
all for me and for my neighbor.

The snow keeps falling.
It covers over all I've done,
and gives me the grace,
the space,
to try again.

Outside -
the snow falls;
peace.
I wait.