after the tears {spoken word guest post}

a beautiful spoken word testimony from my dear friend and sister Moriah
many thanks to her for allowing me to share it with my readers
her poetic voice is beautiful and strong and touching
play the video to let her reach out and touch you

joy in the midst of them

I wrote this last year, right after experiencing a Sonoran Desert monsoon…

Dash across yard, dodging scattered raindrops, to the shelter of tree branches. Mist surrounds me and I smile. I close my eyes and feel – really feel – the moment. This moment, one of a thousand gifts.

image

Strange cold summer wind takes my breath away. Rain and wind intensify, swallow me up. Me – eyes still shut, experiencing the gift with my whole body. Thinking of the weight of His wind and mercy as water soaks me to the skin.

Dash back across the yard, dodging plentiful raindrops, to the stronger shelter of the porch. Eyes now open, watching buckets and low ground fill with the rain. Thinking of sinking in His grace like an ocean as hair and clothes drip.

A different story plays out nearby.

On the other side of the house, winds push rain onto and into boxed books meant for blessing others. Unusual rain, reaching too far, too fast. People struggle to save anything from destruction.

warped pages

Is this rain a blessing or a curse? Is it wrong for me to smile, oblivious to the destruction a few yards away? And what of the distant sirens that scream of emergencies worse than warped pages?

These questions are not just for today. These questions are for tomorrow when I will eat three meals and a child will die of starvation. And for yesterday when I wore Sunday best to church while a woman wore rags in isolation all because she believes God is God.

Is it fair to be thankful for a gift when someone else could have it?

Can a child on his way to eat his one meal of the day rightly laugh while kicking a ball made of garbage bags if a child miles away has neither ball nor food?

kenyan-boys-soccer

Far from condemning him, we smile at such a one who can find joy in such a place. We admire the woman in a wheelchair who paints with a brush in her teeth. We long to be like the man without hands who writes and speaks hope into fellow men.

Why? Because they have joy. They have joy not because of what they have or don’t have. They have joy not even in spite of what they have or don’t have. They simply have joy, found in the midst of their possessions, relationships, limitations. In their midst, because God is in their midst.

All is vanity without God.

All is joy with Him.

Thanks dad (Mark Newhouse) for the photos!

what is life?

a sequel to {what is death}

life
quiet sometimes
joyful noise at times
invaluable grace-filled gift for all
normal

normal
but not mundane
each moment bursting with
hidden gifts to be discovered
miracle

miracle
a child breathes
his first breath after
nine precious hidden months
of life

of life
developing
the being and the growing
confound the one who tries to fathom
this

this…
what is this?
an unasked-for journey
trudging through time for what?
death

death
ever nearing
until you breathe your last
at two weeks or two-hundred years
the end

the end?
or the beginning?
for True Life only begins
when this first life ends at last
freedom

this is life and death for the Redeemed

I should have said it

When you were here
I took it for granted

I could study the intensity in your eyes
I could listen to the way you spoke
I could say what I held in my heart

But I didn’t

I let myself be distracted
and didn’t look into your eyes
I heard the confusion around me
and ignored what you were saying
I kept silent or spoke of shallow things
and never let you know what I was really thinking

And now you’re gone
And I can’t see you
Or listen to you
Or tell you . . .

. . . I should have said . . .

. . . I should have said

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I love you

image

Shattered oblivion

She stared at the Free Speech Board, reading.
I asked her if she agreed with anything she saw.
She said,
Well, yeah. Pro-choice. It’s a woman’s right. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
It is safe, legal, and rare, right?

Safe? Debatable. Legal? For now, at least.
I chose to focus on “rare.”

22% of our generation was aborted.*
We looked around at all the young people on campus.
22% missing.
Is that rare?

I directed her attention to the exhibit.
We were facing the genocide panel.
She read the numbers for herself:
“40 million humans killed (and counting)”
“4,000 killed daily in the U.S.”**
That’s not rare.

I didn’t know…
But what about…
Is it really possible that…

The information was almost too much for her.
So I just listened to her talk through it.
Her sentences trailed off.
It was sinking in.
Slowly.

I gently shared that there were two more sides to the exhibit.
Her eyes told me she couldn’t handle any more.
But her mouth told me she didn’t want oblivion anymore.
So I handed her a brochure version.
Gave her my email.
Said if she wanted, she could process on her own time.
And if she wanted, I’d be available.

The truth can be painful.
But not knowing about it doesn’t make it less real.
Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean no one’s getting hurt.

Open your eyes to another’s pain.
Take that first step to help them heal.
And protect someone else from the same fate.

*Page 6 of this paper from the Guttmacher Institute has a chart showing the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth from 1991-2011.

**JFA’s “What Are the Facts? paper accompanies the JFA exhibit and includes updated numbers that correspond to the most recent numbers from the Guttmacher institute. The number 4,000 referenced here was accurate at the time that the JFA exhibit was printed.