Formed out of the clay,
the wet earth from the stream welling up
and watering the thirsty ground,
why should I not conform to your hand
and let you collapse my walls,
pushing down with the heel of your palm
until all I had built
is returned to you and I am
another formless lump
ready to be fashioned anew
into what you have in mind.
Better to be soft and malleable
than broken pieces
that tried to put up a fight.
Again and again
You will reshape my life,
and I will let you.
This is our pact: You will tear down
all that will not last,
and build up what you see in me
that is good.
Yesterday I was driving through the high plains of Western Kansas
when the sun was setting,
the sky a dusty pink and orange.
And every hill brought a slight change in direction
to and away from the sun
until there was a row of little black holes
blinking at me across the horizon
as my eyes strained to recover from the sun’s fierce glow.
It reminded me of one summer
when we missed the chance to say goodbye.
You walked out alone and threw me one brief glance
before stepping out of sight,
a glance so filled with emotion and things unspoken,
that I could only blink at the empty spots
left in your wake.
I don’t think you know that you light up the sky.
You could have chosen anyone
to love the blessed Mother and Jesus,
but you named Joseph
as the one they would need.
No one else could love them
the way he did.
So when I wonder
who you are making me to be
and what it is that you are teaching
I can know
that it is not for nothing,
what You have put into my heart.
to make a beautiful sound
I must bend under your hand, bowed,
your strong hand must push me out
while you brace me against the floor
what good would I be
if I were to stay straight
no, I must let you shape me
however much the strain
Back then, at the beginning of things,
we were all just too wide eyed with amazement
to really grasp what he was trying to teach us.
Now I would tell a younger me
that just because he was with you
did not mean that he would not deliberately
take your boat into seas
where a storm waited out of sight
And where I would have fled before
or looked for a way to calm the waves,
today a wiser me is content
to let him steer this ship
into the squall,
knowing that with him I will not perish.
You will be my shield, my rock, my refuge
–no need to harden my own heart
to hide in,
for there I only shrink in isolation, suffocating
until I press up against the walls holding me in.
It is You who can lead me out
by pathways unknown,
away from the worn and dusty roads I travel
again and again,
where I only find the desolate and deserted places,
the empty castles that I have built
stone upon stone.
But when my strength and hiding place is in you,
when your voice is the shield that surrounds me,
and you stop my hand from placing another stone
by grasping it in yours,
I can see clearly
enough to fight to follow You,
stopping the worst of myself
that keeps me from loving.
Burning like a flame,
you lit up the earth,
pointing the way.
But you were just burning for God,
reflecting the radiance you saw
in a baby boy.
I too search for the spaces in the night
where I burn the brightest,
and I look to find the small and hidden glory.
The same hand guides my heart.
thick clouds and darkness —
but God has placed us here,
you and I, to shine.
So throb with beauty
and exalt with radiance
at the dawn
and the happiness and treasure of your heart.
For look, they come to see your light
and know it too.