Empty Handed

And I feel like I am standing before Goliath

without a sling.

Not like David, who was confident of his bare hands

that had saved his sheep from dangers already.

He knew what he was doing

when he challenged the giant at his door.

He would not put on another’s strength,

dressing in form for form’s sake,

could not pretend to be something he was not.

He was just a shepherd’s boy after all.

So he took his stones and his confidence,

ready to prove the greatness of the God of Israel.

The sky saw his secret,

spied his advantage easily from its bird’s eye view of the scene,

so high above even Goliath’s head.

Those blue waves had been practicing it for years

before Isaac was even a twinkle in his father’s eye.

It would seem absurd to them too

to cover up their stars with a painted backdrop

or to veil their windblown clouds with curtains

however pleasing.

And the hills on which the two armies sood,

their flowers waving in the breeze

and their springy turf trampled under foot,

knew it too,

were content to be walked upon.

But me,

I am not so sure,

standing before you with nothing in my hands.

No sling, no armor, no shield, no proof.

Just my words and this skin.

How can I be enough?

How can I win you over?

when —

Do I have the courage to trust

and bring glory to the One who made me who I am,

that what I have with these two hands

is just right

for taking the empty pair hanging at your side.

When You are Old (Hummingbird)

When you are old

your body will not look like it does now,

will not be firm, will not hold the appeal it does now

at least to so many other women.

But it will still carry the strength of your character.

Your eyes will still hold me

and you will still smell the same.

[I will still want you.]

The other day I was walking through the grocery store

and I passed an older couple.

The man had to lean on the cart for support

while his wife moved from shelf to cart, to shelf and back again, all along the aisle.

And I wondered

what you would look like when you were old,

how your body would change,

lose its elasticity, labor to move;

its own burden.

You are light now – flitting around me

like a hummingbird for nectar.

(It’s a wonder you don’t fly farther

-around the world if you wanted to.)

But I think I will love you more

when you are broken down,

halting and slow,

each movement a shadow of what your full wing span once was.

Settled, but after you’ve had your flights and adventures.

Then I can circle you

with care.

Widen Your Hearts Also

“Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide.  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.  In return – I speak as to children – widen your hearts also.”  -2 Cor. 6:11-13

  • not like the widening you avoid on the highway; those yellow and black “Wide Load” signs that have you half-driving on the shoulder – warning grooves blaring at you like the horn of a tractor trailer – your hands tight on the steering wheel as you maneuver around the hauled farm tractor, or motor-home, or whatever oddly shaped package the truck carries, speeding on to wherever you’re going that’s so important.
  • but a widening like a pair of open arms, invitation unspoken.
  • sometimes we need to be told the obvious, in simple terms, because we are too distracted in our complex and involved lives; too closed off in our own minds, reviewing the day, of what still needs to be done; do we even hear the invitation?
  • who will take the time to widen his heart when that means opening up his life for interruptions, of being put off [what he’s got his mind on], inconvenienced, of being made to feel [something unexpected and day-changing], of being humbled by words.
  • but once you’ve seen it – the open, the free man – can you ignore it? standing in front of you, heart in his hand, eyes open and unafraid, fully human, inviting you to open up too just by having a wide heart himself.
  • it is a sigh of relief; no, it is when your heart instinctively stretches the rubber bands around it in response and you toy with the idea of letting everything go.
  • shoulders relax, heart settles, and you lean against the counter, holding your coffee mug, delaying the moment, and something inside answers, yes, this is what my life is for.
  • “I’m standing under a white flag.  Oh.  Can you see me?  Oh, can you see me?  I’m standing for everything we have.  Oh.  Can you hear me?  Oh, can you hear me?” [The Script, This=Love}