Heaven at the Edges

Heaven at the Edges

I’ve seen it I’ve seen Heaven poke its toe in under the curtain There where light meets water and waves dance glory I’ve seen it where the sun peeks round the fireline edge of a cloud Like a groom looking shyly for his bride I’ve seen it at the place where spring kisses winter to bloom And where green gives birth to cooling gold I’ve felt its silk in newborn skin And breathed its ache at the side of a grave Where flesh meets clay and the veil thins I’ve heard it catch in a throat as a sob becomes a laugh And it’s risen out of flames where ashes end and beauty takes flight Heaven’s horizon isn’t far off It’s here and here and here In familiar lines and creases At the tips of fingers and in the pulse and stretch of hearts It’s where we see And the seeing pulls us...

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The God Who Opens

The God Who Opens

I have this thing about flowers. And the Highlands of Papua New Guinea is a good place to have a flower obsession. All year round our yard is an explosion of pink roses, red and yellow dahlias, tiny orange honeysuckles, peach gladiolas, and these poofy purple things that I’m sure have a name. But my favorite flowers are the gardenias. We have five bushes scattered around the yard, and they all seem to bloom at once, and then I have to run outside barefoot and visit each blossom because there’s just something about having warm grass under my toes and lungs full of gardenia scented air. I pick one flower, one that’s just starting to unfurl, and bring it inside to finish blossoming in the red glass cup on the piano. There’s glory in the opening. Gentle spreading,...

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Scars and Stories

Scars and Stories

The wooden floor in our dining room is scratched from years and years of chairs being pulled up to the table. It’s not pretty. The varnish is peeling, and the discolored planks are grooved deep. This floor has stories written across its grain, generations of stories of missionary families from all over the world who have lived here. Bare little feet running in at dinner time, conversations in Japanese and English and Tok Pisin, homework and letters home and family game nights. Every scar in the wood has history. Scars have always intrigued me. They speak of life lived and lessons hard learned. I have a shiny white one on my left foot from when I was eleven and thought mud sliding in the garbage dump sounded like a good idea. (Lessons learned: broken glass is...

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Lullaby

Lullaby

I recently wrote a poem for a dear friend who was returning to the U.K. for a few months to have a baby. As I was writing, though, I realized it was just as much for me… Lullaby The sky lays down its golden head On weary mountain height, And emerald fields in shameless spread Roll intimate and wild. His song pours over, in, and through And pulls us to His side. The Love that calls us all by name Says, “Rest, come rest, my child.” This broken day has broken us And laid us open wide, And here we’re held in Broken Hands With nothing left to hide. The Love that sees us as we are Sings peace into the night And gently lifts our eyes to His. “Come rest, come rest, my child.” “Come rest and lay the struggle down. Don’t...

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When the Rain Does Come

When the Rain Does Come

It’s a grey and wet day, the fifth day of rain this week. For long, dusty months we’ve been praying and watching the sky as our water tanks empty and the river runs low. So this is welcome. But the mud and fog look different than what we’ve gotten used to. When black clouds roll in pregnant with precious rain, and the cracked ground softens and the dirt roads run like muddy streams, the world changes for a while. No sunshine. No birds singing. All the colors somehow sharper against the dark sky. And when the rain comes especially hard, sometimes the world changes permanently. Landslides happen and bridges are swept away. And we are left feeling disoriented and unsure of how to get where we’d been planning to go. The rain is a gift, but it’s one that changes the...

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Of Blue Tongues and Blending In

Of Blue Tongues and Blending In

“What did you eat for breakfast?”  My friend Gina looked quizzically at my mouth. We had arrived at church a little early, a rare occurrence, clean and combed and dressed in our best for our first Ukarumpa Sunday service.  The day before I had bought a bag of mints in town, which was my first mistake.  It should have been a clue that the ingredients were listed in Indonesian, and two of the few English words on the package were “Cool Blue”.  Not wanting coffee breath to be my first impression on all our new neighbors and coworkers, I had popped one in my mouth as we left the house. The results were not very cool, but very definitely blue.  Very, very blue. My tongue was a brilliant shade of turquoise. This, of course, was the Sunday they ask all the recent...

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