because you want to feel fine

I sit in near darkness at noon. Outside is an orange sherbert sky. We go outside mid-morning to take photos. To remember the strangeness that we hope isn’t a new normal. To record the upside down. To note the unbelievable: it feels like the sun didn’t rise.

Friends implore social media to pray: “We are evacuating, but we’re okay.” “John got up at 3 am to drive to the house to dig trenches around the property, hoping the ditches will deter the flames from reaching the house.” “Pray for my parent’s home. They are safe, but the fire is really close now.”

I join with my friends in praying. For the wildfires to subside. For protection and peace. For hope and light to fill our hearts. For a cure for Covid. For my heart to stay connected to Jesus. For help for the hurting and the broken, the weary and the lonely. For our voices to cry out to the One who loves us. For God, our hope, to be our protection in this desperate season.

Jesus, keep our eyes on you.

I once learned from the wise and kind John Eldrege how “Henri Nouwen once asked Mother Teresa for spiritual direction. Spend one hour each day in adoration of your Lord, she said, and never do anything you know is wrong. Follow this and you’ll be fine.”

You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.

I want to feel fine. I want to feel whole. I want to feel loved. I want to feel safe. I want to feel desired. I want to feel joy. I want to feel hope. I want to feel peace. I want to feel inspired. I want to feel encouraged. I want to feel confident. I want to feel solid. I want to feel known. I want to feel God in me.

Sons’ bedroom, 11 am in California

So I look for wisdom from sages who love Jesus, and I take steps to do what they did. Adoring Jesus. Adoring God. Surrendering to him my mind, my imagination, my heart and letting God lead. Not writing anything down for 45 minutes so I am not distracted by handwriting or incoherent thoughts or trying to get details down. 45 minutes of focusing my attention on God and on Jesus: eyes closed, heart open, instrumental music often playing in my ears so I can block out noises around me. Then 15 minutes of conversing first with God and then with Jesus–and writing it down.

Because I want to feel fine.

For the Loop Poetry Project this week, consider writing a poem only after spending time in meditation first. It doesn’t have to be for 45 or 60 minutes. But consider writing from an unrushed state, after having spent a period of time surrendering to God your heart–giving him your full attention. The poem doesn’t have to be one of adoration. (Although, of course, it can!) But let your heart lead you. Find words for ideas that come after spending time with God. You might write about a memory, or an imaginative scene. You might write about an emotion or a specific observation or a problem or a hurt or a dream. You might write about a conversation–or your feelings about love or death or orange sky.

Write a poem about feeling or not feeing fine.

I can’t wait to read it. In addition to sharing your poem as a comment below, you can also share it with the community at Loop Poetry Project, a private Facebook group for women writing for personal wholeness. (It’s a very caring and kind group.) 

Much love to you, beautiful friends,

Jennifer


How Beautiful It is

When the girls and boys in drama class gather
around each other in groups of five and three
they are not pretending to be kind
like they know how to make love look
authentic better than we do
and I am mesmerized by their care
for one another, as well as their
jocularity and their
comfortableness with quiet,
the choice to not speak a word
or paint their hair red or yellow or purple
or sing loud broadway tunes
or reach their arms around one another
when they are sad and cry
and I wonder
if I grasped this freedom when
I was younger if I would not
observe love from afar but dance around it
and let it swallow me whole
even while I melt with angst
and beg you to accept me just as I am
right now,
how beautiful it is to be loved.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com