Saturday, August 1, 2015

Closer


I thought you weren't there
because I couldn't feel you
for the intensity of my circumstances.

   The feelings of your gentle,
   general presence were wiped away
   by the trauma I was facing.

      As I learn to read the story
      over again, I see you everywhere
      so close and surrounding me,
      especially when night's at its darkest.

   What I thought and felt
   as your absence was
   an intensity of presence
   for which I had no reference point.

"Trust" you whisper.
"Hold on, even when
you don’t feel me, because
I'll never leave you
or let go of you."


© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Friday, July 31, 2015

Religious & Spiritual

Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

At its – and our – best,
religion is a community and
a window through which
people glimpse, desire, and
pursue spiritual journey.

The true test of religion's
cultural component comes when,
at ever-changing locations
on a spiritual path,

we are challenged to continue
gathering with people
who both reside in and travel  
to a place named Other.

It is here the African
proverb speaks her truth:
"If you want to go fast,
go alone. If you want
to go far, go together."

Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

© 2015 Todd Jenkins


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Within

Photo by Jerry Gorman

When I didn't give you
   what you wanted,
      it wasn't because
         I didn't want to or
            I don't love you.

            Whether or not
         it was what you needed –
      an important distinction
   you need to make –
it was not mine to give.

Whatever it is you think
   will make you happy,
      or even bring you joy,
         you'll have to
            give it to yourself, or
               at least accept it in yourself.

               Here's the great mystery of life:
            IT is already within you,
         and always has been;
      that divine spark of love
   with which you were graced
before you were born.

Your mistake is
   to believe ego's lie
      that whatever you've done
         and whomever you've been
            or become has somehow
               extinguished that fire.

            You're not that powerful,
         love has no such weakness,
      and grace is exponentially
   larger than that.

© 2015 Todd Jenkins


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

By the River

Photo by Jerry Gorman

There we sat, singing first
   the songs we knew,
      then ones we’d only heard once,
         and, finally, as the horizon
      swallowed the red ball of fire,
   we sang new songs –
ones we’d never even heard.

It wasn’t Babylon, but it
   might as well have been.
      We were learning to let go
         of parts of what we’d always
      known to be true; kinds of things
   that, when squeezed tightly,
keep you from seeing bigger truths.

Our open hands trembled
   as the water washed across them,
      baptizing us with a hope
   we now knew more deeply
than we ever imagined possible.

We arrived with filters and magic –
   or technology as we’ve named
      and tamed it all these years –
   yet found ourselves wrapped
in a shawl far more holy and life-giving.

The stories, new friends, lives shared
   freely and without hesitation,
      all caused the water to flow like grace,
   into and out of our own brokenness,
“Safe water for a generation!”



© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Feelings

Photo by Jennie Roberts Jenkins

The feels we have are filtered ones,
always subject, like UV,
to the glasses of the life we've lived;

each as unique as our particular story;
none even close to a carbon copy.
Yours are yours, mine are mine,
no one authorized to invalidate them,
including our very own selves.

The best we can do – the way forward –
is to give them free reign deep inside;
to let them unfurl, unhindered,
within the confines of our soul.

Give them the pen/keyboard,
so they may fully convey
deepest and richest passion
to our narrative's protagonist.

Then read the story again.
When we find the earlier chapters
from which they are foreshadowed,
and the already-trod ground
from which they're fertilized,

we will begin to see how
they may be woven into
this week's chapter healthfully.


© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Monday, July 27, 2015

History

         It's been said that
         the prize of victory
         includes the privilege
         of writing history.

   In many cases, this is true,
   especially when international conflict
   ends in total surrender.

But one of the strange consequences
from the hellish incivility
of the mid-nineteenth century war
waged within our nation's bowels,

   brother against brother,
   is that each side had the opportunity
   to write its own version –
   at least the white sides.

      And now, 150 years later,
      the aftermath of these dueling histories,
      along with the stories still-buried,
      from those middle-caught, voiceless,
      is the bitter fruit of both
      our silence and our discord;

   waving in flags of defeated battlefields
   resurrected when history taught 
   bumps up against reality altered,
   and Emancipation’s lament
   marches us farther down Justice’s road.

Peace remains in the hallway,
whispering her plea for ears
willing to listen, daring us to hear
others’ stories, even when
their truth challenges our own.
Photo by Joe Stephenson

© 2015 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Leftovers

Photo by Owen Jenkins
We confess, O God,
   that we have become accustomed
      to making do with the baskets
         of leftover bread and fish
            taken up after your gracious feast.

All the while, our senses
   have become oblivious
      to your Holy Spirit
         pulling fresh-baked loaves
            out of the oven,
               right under our noses,
                  all day long.

Awaken us, O Lord,
   that we might once again
      learn how to see, hear, touch,
         smell, and taste the bread of life
            that's piled on the banquet tables
               of our lives every day.

Give us hearts of generosity,
   that we might learn to live
      the ways of your amazing grace,
         through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

© 2015 Todd Jenkins