Tag Archives: pain

After – Albuquerque 1996

1294519_10151934672121063_245716286_oAfter the prayers had been said
and the motions had been made;

after the rulings had been dispensed
and the speeches had been delivered;

after the instructions had been given
and the buttons had been pushed;

after the votes had been tallied
and the results announced;

after the passion
and the decent order;

after . . .
. . . the assembly sat in quiet contemplation,
pondering who had won
and who had lost,
considering what was gained
and what the cost.

My heart sundered the silence,
breaking, softly breaking,
for those, who by official action,
had been denied their full humanity,
and, whose gifts, but that same official action,
had been rejected.

A tear slid down my check,
coming to rest in tangled whiskers.
A single tear
shed for those beloved of God
who the vote would exclude
and for those
who out of fear
or prejudice
or lack of love
or for whatever reason
sought to shut doors –
and build walls –
and keep out –
and settle once and for all;
and in so doing
lost an opportunity
to join in
God’s amazing,
welcoming,
including,
affirming,
door-opening,
wall-smashing,
never-ending
love.

This was written after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 208th General Assembly (1996). That assembly met in Albuquerque, New Mexico and took action to recommend a change the church’s constitution that would ban LGBTQ individuals from serving in ordained offices. I attended that assembly as an observer. As the United Methodist Church meets to wrestle with similar questions, I remembered this piece and choose to share it. 

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Filed under Current Events, Family, Friends, Human Rights, Poem, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Reenter the past

Memories rise,
unexpected, unbidden:
haunted, haunting specters
from days before.

Ancient pains recur;
old wounds ache, ooze;
what was, and what was not,
pierces the heart.

Old patterns emerge,
crystallize, gain strength,
seeking to shape behavior
yet again.

Old habits appear,
shatter new resolutions
with ease,
reasserting former ways.

All occur as we
cross the threshold
of once-lived places,
reentering the past.

28 August 2014
Cleveland Heights, OH

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Poem

There is you

Years roll on, time goes by,
there is you.

Tears do flow, tears do dry,
there is you.

Fears arise, fears subside,
there is you.

Many miles may divide,
there is you.

Sorrows fade, as does pain,
there is you.

Laughter, joy, love remain,
there is you.

And I give thanks.

For TDK
15 February 2014
Shire near the Hudson

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Filed under Family, New York, Poem

Life

In a world tattered and torn,
a world battered and worn;

In a world of sorrow and pain,
a world of horror and shame;

In a world where I weep for the evil we do,
a world where I grieve for what sisters and brothers endure;

In such a world,
I give thanks.

In this world,
I give thanks
for hope and faith
for love and grace.

In my world,
I give thanks
for tender mercies and boundless joy,
courage unexpected and strength unforeseen.

In our world,
I give thanks
for a baby’s first cry
and a parent’s first smile.

I give thanks
for life.

23 January 2014
New York, New York

For
Joann, Mike, and Austin
Roja, Joel, and their newborn daughter whose name I will list as soon as they tell me
And all new parents and babies

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An achy night

My fingers ache
from the cold
and for those
who cannot come in
from the cold.

My heart aches for family, friends
and people I have not met, will never meet,
who heavy loads bear:
illness and sorrow
grief, pain and worry.

My soul aches for God’s children
in this city and around the world
who endure violence,
overt or structured
this day, every day.

I ache.

And I wonder,
is there a balm?

7 January 2014
Shire Near the Hudson

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After the fall

Fire races
from his hip to his knee;
his shoulder
stiffens and throbs;
yet both pains,
all pains,
pale against
the strangling grief
that crushes
life and joy
from his heart.

3:10 AM
23 November 2013
Shire on the Hudson
Manhattan, New York

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Filed under Friends, New York, Poem

First came baseball

baseball_2I am not sure I would have asked the question. Too many people have experienced abuse, abandonment, failure to love, and more from their fathers. Too many fathers have died too young. Too many wounds remain unhealed.

“What is your favorite memory of your father or your father figure?” Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, asked near the end of his sermon today.

My first thoughts went to those who had negative experiences of their fathers. I felt my heartstrings tightened as I considered the profound pain the simple question could touch.

Images of my father, gone too long, filled my head and heart. He was not perfect. None of us are. But he was a good, good man who loved me and my brother and sister well.

Memories came at me as thick as gnats on a hot, sultry night. When it came my turn to speak, I went with my first memories:

“Baseball. Playing catch in the back yard. Going to games. Baseball. In Pittsburgh.” I remembered, although I did not share, that as I child, when I would have to go to bed before a Pirates game finished, I would wake up in the morning to find a piece of paper with the score written in my father’s handwriting.

Memories. Blessed memories. As I rejoice in mine, my heart goes out to those who know pain.

Happy Father’s Day to fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and all, male and female alike, who have filled the role of fathers.

See you along the Trail.

P.S.:
Dodgers 3
Pirates 6

 

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Filed under Baseball, Family