Thursday, December 8, 2011


One of the most haunting stories I’ve ever read was “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor.  O’Connor was such a master storyteller that this one story has generated numerous theories, countless essays and other writings.  O’Connor didn’t pull any punches; the story of the family who happens upon ‘The Misfit’, a type of psychotic serial killer straight out of the darkest episode of  “Criminal Minds”, is  horrific. 

There is much to consider in this story, but the thing I was thinking about today was what ‘The Misfit’ says, just before he shoots the grandmother (such a terrible thing, shooting the grandmother, irritating though she was).  I don’t have a copy of the story, but he says something like ‘Jesus threw everything off balance.’  How true that is.  It makes me think of the Beatitudes, and how upside down they seem.  And then I think of my family and all the negative things I could say about us, and then I think about how God loves us anyway, misfits that we are, and then I write my own version of Matthew 5 where Jesus turns everything upside down.   

                         Blessed are the black sheep,            
                                For their shepherd knows them.
                         Blessed are the unlovable,            
                                For they shall be adored. 
                         Blessed are the illiterate,           
                                For the word of God is written on their hearts. 
                         Blessed are the afflicted,            
                                For they will know grace.
                         Blessed are those who doubt,            
                                For he will be revealed.
                         Blessed are the addicted,    
                                For they shall be released. 
                         Blessed are the disenfranchised            
                                For they shall be restored.                       
                         Blessed are the generous,           
                                 For they reveal the heart of God. 
                         Blessed are those who seek God,            
                                 For they will find him. 
                         Blessed are you when surrounded by doubt, and you believe; by ugliness and you see beauty; by violence, and you reveal peace. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crossing Over


Maybe it’s like
standing in the wings
waiting to go on.
Unable to remember the words.
Unable to remember where you are. 
  And it’s almost your turn
to step out
take your place
on your mark and
you’re afraid.

It’s so easy to make a fool of yourself.
Maybe it’s like that.

And then, just as you’re
past all hope
it comes back:
the words
the music
your voice.

The spotlight is waiting for you.
You walk into warmth
raise your arms
and begin to sing.


Maybe it’s more like
on a tightrope
and the panic
that has been lurking
somewhere above you
   on your shoulder
refusing to let go.

So there you are
too far gone to go back
and the other side
seems so far away.
Every muscle strains
You’re shaking
calling for help
but really, no one can help you.
  You’re going to fall.

First the head, then the shoulders
then the arc of your lovely body
lean into release
like a dancer
like a baby being born.
And you’re off the tightrope
but strangely, not falling
after all, but soaring
light as air
into the stars.


Or maybe it’s like a summer day
that’s gone on too long.
And the cozy old boat
That seemed like such a good idea
at the time
has dropped its oars.

The river widens
fog sneaks in
the sun is gone.

You can’t believe you didn’t notice
the rusty bottom, seeping water.
And the swelling nausea
that insistent smell
of old, long-gone fish guts.

You long for shore
a solid piece of ground
to plant your foot. 
A tree,or a bush,
anything but this endless drifting
on flat, lonely water
accompanied only
by the missing sky.

Maybe you see it from afar,
and you wave your arms
like a sailor calling “Land ho!”
Or maybe it catches you by surprise
as you feel a small bump
   and then another.

And suddenly,
you’re sitting in a sweet old boat
on a pebbled beach
under a blue sky.
The smell of a campfire,
     The song of voices,
                  voices of those you love.
You are certain of it.

And then you’re sliding
    out of the boat,
slipping on pebbles,
running toward the sounds
and the smells
above all else,
you know
you’re home. 

Maybe it’s like that -


February 12, 2011 
For Connie