God Joined Me for a Drink

The trickle of unconsciousness

filled the tin cup.

I couldn’t handle the half empty

of hope and a future.

 

I drank and drank to quench

the mystery of the largess of God.

But God had salted the water

and assaulted my soul with an eternal thirst.

 

He held out his hand

and I set the dented tin

over the scar imbedded

in His lifeline.

 

He poured into my eyes,

right through and down

to the bottom of my arid heart.

This Tin-man echo of mine.

 

“Here, take, drink of this cup

In remembrance of Me.”

The chalice, cool in my grasp,

brimmed with blood red wine.

 

A sip of God consciousness.

 

“Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus

 

/

Leaning toward Sunday,

Tilting away from Friday,

Today is a back-slash.

A hyphen won’t suffice.

 

An and/or proposal,

Crux of a both/and scenario.

This end of a Holy Week,

Feels likes an ellipsis…

 

This Saturday,

Post back lash,

pre punctuation scars.

This in-between

 

where faith hyper ventilates

and doubt choke holds.

Where a stone weights

the wounds of the world.

 

Friday/Sunday

Before/After

Death/Resurrection

Both/And.

 

/

Faith and/or Doubt.

Life verse. Seems a bit narrow minded to pick one verse to frame a life. I get it though, those who tattoo a verse on their calf don’t throw the rest of the Bible to the wind. If I plucked one scripture out of the barrel, John 11:35 comes to mind. “Jesus wept.” Simple. Poignant. I mean, I used to cry all the time. Yet, for the past week or so, I’ve thought about “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I even had to look up the reference: Mark 9:24.

Yep, those words track the best with my life. Not because I’m a big fat doubter. Notice the order…”I believe” comes first. Actually “Lord” comes first, which assumes an “I’m your servant” attitude. But that aside, the tension wedged between belief and unbelief is palpable. It’s as down to earth as dirt itself.

Yes, I walk by faith, and trip on doubt. Like cracks in the sidewalk, if I don’t look down I might stumble over the fissures.

These are the words of a father who had a son with a real problem. A mute spirit got ahold of his boy a long while back. A situation which throbbed for years. This dad, shoulders slumped, carried concern for his son, and when the disciples showed up, he asked for help. Who knows how many times the dad witnessed the spirit in a throw down with his son, but when the equivalent to Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show arrived in town, well… They tried and failed, but the dad didn’t cave, he went to the top. I can almost hear him firmly say, “Let me speak with the manager.”

This father was desperate, probably tired, and maybe a little resigned. He had heard of the healings. The news got around, and by the time he and his son arrived, a crowd had already gathered. The scriptures called it a multitude. Multitude schmultitude. The Dad cut to the front and told Jesus his story.

So, Jesus gets the scoop, sighs, points out the disciple’s lack of belief, and beholds the son who had a mute spirit. That spirit who, by the way, shut him up, threw him down, and caused foam to come out of his mouth. Then he gnashed his teeth and became stiff as a board too. Wait. Gnashed his teeth? What? Gah-nash. Gah! The definition means “to grind ones teeth.” The closest this son got to talking was grinding his teeth.

Almost doctor-like, Jesus enquires, “How long has this been going on?”

“Since childhood.”

Well, that explains a lot. A dad watching his son struggle and struggle and struggle. This was real, old, and chained to their lives.

Ah, the struggle. The ole “life is difficult” as M. Scott Peck would say. Difficulties come. That’s a fact. The struggle is real. Fact again.

Take the apostle Peter when he jumped ship and strolled out to Jesus on the water. He had no particular problem, except he wanted to be close to Jesus, ASAP. He saw his Lord standing atop of the waves and stepped off. No snorkel. No life vest. Just steps of desire and belief. Then pistol Pete began sinking like a rock when his focus was taken off the Lord. He looked down, saw the waves lapping over his toes and remembered his Jr. High science lab. He was a fisherman too, for crying out loud. Fish swim. Boats float. Humans? Well, they sink.

The father of the mute spirited son came in the context of struggle.

Peter came from desire. Impulse. Longing.

I suppose it doesn’t matter how we exercise our belief. Experientially, when I take my belief for a walk, the resistance is not far behind, or ahead for that matter.

It’s as if the father asked, “Jesus, my belief only takes me so far, can you help me the rest of the way?”

In the story Jesus’ response to the father’s words was almost a non-response. Jesus didn’t rebuke the dad. Jesus didn’t fold his arms and point at the father’s unbelief and say, “Until you have perfect belief I can’t honor your request.” No. Jesus takes action. Jesus shows compassion.

It’s comforting to me that Jesus can operate within the tension. It’s the tension between present reality and the desire for a better reality I suppose.

So, Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief.

Heavy Cream

In hot water,

into the grind,

the grounds

of black semantic

overture.

 

Simple strain,

drips, rip, tip

my conscience

awake,

then steal time

 

to brim the rim.

Steam lifting,

Cream diving,

touch bottom,

to rise as a dream,

 

spreading like an

early morning kiss

of fog, dulling the

pain, easing

the tension

 

between the dark

night

and singed

light.

A sip of silence.

White Ceramic Cup

 

April Fools Eve

I don’t mind the snow.

April’s fool arrives tomorrow,

but today each flake waifs down

in its own personal space.

 

A small squadron of geese

honk by, swirling the snow

in their wake.

They kept flying northeasterly.

 

Their laying bets spring

hasn’t gone anywhere.

It’s just an Indian winter,

flaps down.

 

So, to the white freckles on the wind

I say, “Enjoy your visit.”

Then I honk at them, “Get out of the way!”

And lean into spring again.

I Love Peanut Butter

Like spiraling a spatula

round the bottom of a

peanut butter jar,

 

so am I each morning

in a futile attempt of

scraping in hopes of a

 

slather of meaning on a Monday.

Why is the wholeness

divided into seven daze?

 

Does a heart beat me, ever?

Are there breaths beneath me?

When do steps become strides?

 

I lick the spatula with gratitude,

wave it like a wand,

and pray for grace and mercy.

 

For every day is Monday, really.

Monday Morning

Monday Morning

 

Coffee and creamed,

truth and grace,

or so it seemed.

 

That mixture of

strong and soft,

and how oft

 

I wanted to slip

into a week,

geeked and tweaked.

 

But it’s Monday.

A do over day,

to pray, play, slay.

 

Another new mercy say.

although nothing new,

but everything.

 

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,

            the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.

I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—

            the feeling of hitting the bottom.

But there’s one other thing I remember,

            And remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

 

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,

            his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.

They’re created new every morning. (Even Monday morning)

            How great your faithfulness!

I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).

            He’s all I’ve got left.

                        Lamentations 3

Poor Over

Always early morning,

when the quiet nudges me awake.

Then the fridge hums,

and the computer fan whisper syncs.

In a trance, I hope the kettle

cooperates for my mandatory

pour over.

 

Pour over coffee…

On what grounds?

Might I incriminate myself?

The process gives me pause, literally.

Have you ever prepared a pour over?

It’s like being in the Army…

Hurry up, then wait.

 

The weight of it all

while I wake is what grinds me.

On a good day I’ll distract,

watch the weather report between pours,

fiddle with my phone etc.

On a better day I will look and listen.

I observe the brown noise falling.

 

They say the two inches of oxygen

between the cone of milled beans

and the awaiting mug

enhances the flavor.

If I close my eyes and open

my imagination I hear the trickle

of a brook, and the mending of my mind.

 

A prayer of sorts, as I sort through

yesterday, and prepare for today.

I thank God for coffee,

then poor over the humanity,

mine, yours, the world’s.

I grab my mug of brew,

and cream it with “Lord have mercy.”