“Deeply Personal”

photo courtesy of Justice For All

In this, my final Justice For All newsletter update, you will read a very special story from my friend Mariana, hear JFA Executive Director Steve Wagner’s perspective on my internship, and get a glimpse into the exciting project I will be doing in 2016!

{click here to read my most recent newsletter }

You can read past newsletters here

I cannot grasp love

I have read 1 Corinthians 13
a list of accomplishments
that mean little without love
and thought the problem was simply a matter of order

Surely one still needed
to do those things
but only after mastering
the art of love

Maybe that’s true
but what I’ve learned
in a year defined by love
is that love isn’t easily mastered

The more I learn love the less I can grasp it
The more I experience it the less I understand it
The more I look for ways to love the less I feel I’m loving enough
The more I let people love me the less deserving I feel

But

The less I worry about deserving love the more I accept it
The less I worry about loving enough the more ways I find to love
The less I worry about understanding love the more I can simply experience it
The less I worry about grasping love the more it holds on to me

Because Love
is a Person
an example to emulate
not a skill to be mastered

Because when one becomes caught up in Love
all those things
the ones that really matter
come naturally

Because 1 Corinthians 13
isn’t about accomplishments
it’s about love
the only thing that lasts

You’re Valuable

photo courtesy of Justice For All

The unborn are valuable human persons, but how can anyone see the value of the unborn until she recognizes her own value? Earlier this month, at Justice For All’s outreach event at the University of Oklahoma, my goal was to share the message in this poem with the students I met (including those pictured here).

{click here to read the poem and see more pictures in my most recent newsletter}

You can read past newsletters here

love’s casket

love?
I shuddered when he said the word
I used to know love
back when I knew pain

I tried love then
and love served me well
for a time
until I let love carry me away

then love
right when I felt highest
let me fall
and I broke

love stayed with me
claiming to nurse my wounds
rubbing on ointments
that felt like salt

I pushed love away
and without my feeding love
or encouraging love
love died

I laid love to rest
buried love
in a casket
under the ground

“so you see”
I told him
“I no longer know love
love is dead to me”

dead to you is different from simply dead
he said
“perhaps love is only waiting
to be awakened”

could it be
that love had been buried alive
and that it might
still live?

I was afraid
who wants to dig up a casket
in hopes of finding a living soul
only to discover a corpse?

he left me alone
he couldn’t dig it up for me
this was my task
my choice

I sat at the graveside
as I watched the sun set
and before leaving
peeled back some of the turf near the headstone

the next morning I returned
with a shovel
and began to dig
trying not to wonder what I would uncover

as the sun rose
my sweat and tears
turned me into a muddy mess
I stopped digging at noon

my shovel scraped wood
and my whole being throbbed
I could not go on
so I sat and stared at love’s casket

until it began to rain
and the water from above
rinsed me clean
of all the grime of the work

I watched it pool on the exposed wood
mesmerized by the concentric ripples
running into each other
and off the edge

the water finished the job
I had begun
and love’s casket
lay fully exposed

I took it up
still afraid to open it alone
and took it to him
a gift

a sad gift
perhaps nothing
but a moldy box
full of rotted memories

I couldn’t watch
as he pried open the lid
but as it gave way
I couldn’t take my eyes off him

and when his love met mine
my love began to revive
like mouth to mouth CPR
simultaneously intimate and dangerous

it hurt
but after knowing
the paralysis of self-protection
I found that the pain of living is unparalleled

mama’s body

mama’s thirtieth birthday was special
but what I remember most isn’t the golden crown, cake, or icecream
what I remember most is mama’s body

mama’s body, great with child
I thought it was beautiful
and I knew it was a miracle

I remembered being three
when mama told me she couldn’t carry babies
her body rebelled against her desires

but God crafted a miracle
through a little girl’s prayer (my prayer)
and gave not just one, but two babies

the first came when mama was twenty-seven
the next, two weeks after mama’s thirtieth birthday
two sisters for the girl who was supposed to be alone

three daughters for a mama whose body
rebelled against her desires
this body that seemed too weak to carry a baby, carried three

and continues to carry them
at first, she carried us in her womb
then in her arms

she still carries us
even though so often our bodies are far from hers
she carries us in her heart

sometimes I hate my body
it’s weak, and that isn’t its only flaw
some of its flaws were inherited from mama

…inherited from mama…
my body came from hers
perhaps mine could be as beautiful as hers

I look at my body again and smile
because my body came from my mama’s
and mama’s body is beautiful