Monday, September 30, 2013

Home by Another Way

Even when home is not exactly
the thing for which we hope,
it is a place of consolation,
though its comforts be comprised
mostly of old wounds
from which we gained our limp.

Years may have passed;
journey still has a vague familiarity;
its shortening rewinds the projector,
returning us to a child’s cameo role,
subject to whatever parenting came
from the garden of our adolescence.

Going back by the path on which we left,
straining for individuality with every breath,
seeking differentiation from all genetics,
can be painful, breathtaking.

There is another road;
one with neither nostalgic Photo-Shopping,
nor anesthetic memory-wipe.

G2 is the highway’s name;
Gratitude for all that has shaped us
as creatures of both habit and hope;
Grace for the ways we learned,
letting ourselves be unshaped, reshaped.

This the way that allows new baggage,
giving Homeland Security new meaning
as wrinkled, misshapen garments
from our past are Goodwilled,
and repurposed to a safe place;
the wardrobe of now
is modeled with genuine humility.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I’m sure I never looked finer today,
rolling into church in my purple shirt,
fresh off a Saturday evening
of sumptuous grilled chicken, rich onion pie,
and flavorful bacon ranch potato salad,
along with the beverage of my choice.

And then I had to listen to Jesus
get all-up-in the Pharisees’ face
about a rich guy, whose name we’ll never know,
and an oozing-scabbed beggar
at his gate whose name means “God is with me.”

“It’s a good thing I’m not rich!”
I thought, as I measured myself
against Forbes’ list.

That’s when I noticed God’s gaze.
It was a lot broader, and maybe
even deeper, than mine.

I was looking at Gates and God
was looking at Guatemala and Ghana.
I was seeing Buffet and God
was seeing Belize and Botswana.

I was imaging the Kochs and God
could clearly see Kenya and Kandahar.
I was looking up at the “Haves” and God
was looking over at Honduras and Haiti.

Lazarus: “We are not alone.”
So when we feel estranged,
isolated, gated, and afraid,
perhaps it is a loss of central vision –

a failure to recognize our raison d'ĂȘtre –
and a focus on the peripheral.
Perhaps it is time to get back
to the heart of the matter;
back to the table where all are welcome.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Person of Interest

Once we consume, co-opt, or subdue
all our imagined external enemies,
two new ones will emerge:

the children of all former foes,
who understand neither why
their DNA defines them as combatants,

nor why they must spend their lives
gasping for every breath
beneath the boot of dominance;

and the very machine of victory itself,
with its pervasive and probing
hand that knows no limits.

The conquering beast, once awakened,
will not be denied; its appetite
both insatiable and indiscriminate.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Grief is an emotional snowflake;
each piece of your life's story
a unique crystal, suspended in place,

yet attached to and floating
through space and time
with all the others.

Its shape, and yours, formed
by how and when each event arrives,
as well as how much time and space –

exterior and interior – you find
to process them, layering one
upon another, in a form as likely

to be malignant and atrophying
as artistic and cathartic,
depending on grace’s arrival. 

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Knot's End

The knot’s at the end
of the rope for a reason;
your story touches lives
you don’t know.

Remember that hope
is not just a season;
it's the breath and the plot
of the whole damn show.

(from the greatest song never written)

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The 1

And those who owned the 99
were so surprised that
they were also the 1.

Of course, we are capable
of participating in the search
for another 1; on those occasions
when our own 1-ness  has been
woven into the fold once more

by the shepherd who
never ceases searching
and is always ready to weave
our exhausted, broken selves
back into the fabric of community.

Being the 1 always catches us
by surprise, when we realize that,
no matter how much we have,
how much we've done,
how great we are, we are still the 1;

the 1 who has convinced himself
that he’s invincible; the 1 who is sure
she has more of life figured out
than anyone else; the 1 whose words
say, “We’re all in this together.”
but whose attitudes and actions scream,
“I’m better than the rest of you!”;

as well as the 1 who
is sure that no matter how much
he does for others, the deep truth
of his own self is not worthy
of being found and celebrated;
neither by God nor anyone else.

Here’s the catch: the shepherd
will never give-up on us;
will pursue us to the ends of the earth;
to the end of our life and beyond;

because he’s the one who knows our true worth –
who knows why we were made
and what we’re created for.
We’re all priceless coins in God’s eyes.

So, the question is really
whether we're going to join
in the celebration when
God finds us again today,

or whether we're going to insist
that we've never been lost,
because we own the 99.

No matter how much we have,
no matter how many other
lost ones we’re helping search for,
we still need to let ourselves be found,
again, today, and every day.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, September 12, 2013


For all the days when we
are train wrecks with skin on,
O God, we pray for the courage
and patience to let you gently gather
the widely scattered debris,

shift the track ahead with the tender but firm
fire of your Holy Spirit, and redirect
the engine and cargo of our lives toward
a destination of your choosing. 

For the few times when our own baggage
happens to have been recently secured,
our own cars uprighted and track-steadied,
give us compassion and courage

to offer all whom you've formed us into
and all with which you have gifted us
toward those whose own flesh
barely contains their current derailment.

Remind us that life is not a race
to the end of the track,
but a many-charactered story

whose mystic healer gave grace away
at every crossing; whose end came,
not when everyone had been convinced
or conquered, but when unconditional love
had been blessed, broken, poured out,

and shared with all who accepted
an invitation to table; invited,
not because of who they were
or what they'd amassed or accomplished,

but because they recognized,
if only for an instant, the freedom and power
in no longer pretending that their own lives
are a well-deserved, scenic tour of utopia.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Ego drives desire
to make the mundane
appear extraordinary,
or paint amazing with
fluorescent self-deprecation;

both ends of the spectrum
send trawlers into shallow waters
 of the Gulf of Compliment.

Contented soul, resting
in Jordan's baptismal decree,
"You are my beloved;
with you I am well-pleased."
claims burning bush’s identity,
"I am who I am."

Without the need
to generate praise, the self,
freed from others’ expectations,
finds security in creation’s purpose.

Whom will you become
when you realize you
don’t have to be
who people think you are?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Broken Hearted

How is it that our hearts
seem whole before they know
anything but self and same?

Yet when they break
with fear and pain,
they open-up, revealing
what we've longed for
since the beginning:

courage to risk being known
for who we truly are –
nothing more and nothing less –
and letting others come and go at will,

with little more than hope
that who we are is enough
to warrant love's return,
not because it's earned,
but because it's freely offered.

These are the maddening,
yet passionate ways of the one
who turns us loose upon the world
with nothing but everything that's grace,
tucked deep within our hungry spirits.

So, when you put yourself out there
and fear begs you to retreat,
remember that love is not a rare elixir
to capture or hoard, but a universal way
of cracking ourselves open to the gift
that already lies within us.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Mastectomies are comin’;
tomorrow is the day;
so we are gonna break out,
and open up to pray.

For patient and staff,
to gee and haw right,
workin’ like the Dream-Team
throughout the day and night.

Thorough and efficient,
with tenderness and care;
they’ll get the job done,
while we wrap it in prayer.

We’re sendin’ cancer packin’,
to never come back.
As Uncle Si says,
“That’s a fact, Jack!”

To everybody prayin’
we give a shout-out;
you’re blanketing peace
and pushing back doubt.

For a good night’s sleep,
we’re prayin’ right now;
lettin’ go of worries,
‘cause God knows how

to put our hearts at ease,
 and let our minds rest;
sleepin’ on Jesus,
like a baby on his chest.

Lettin’ go of worries
for surgery and fam;
turn ‘em all over
to the great “I am!”

© 2013 Todd Jenkins