In the Everything and Nothing Going On

Originally published Tuesday, 01 March 2022.

My mind is not full of ideas. I haven’t been reading much. Just snatches of news—alarm and sadness and problems to be solved.

This week I haven’t been engaging with friends face to face. Just occasional texts—checks-in and catchups.

My mom calls me to tell me my grandmother died. She asks me to say a prayer at the service on Wednesday.

I read and respond to emails from women who are hurting—women in this country and across the world. I feel their confusion—the questions that come from suffering, from isolation. Where is God? Does anyone care? Why is this happening to me?

It feels simple, this posture—though I am not sure how I grew more comfortable with it. A willingness to be present with another person without having any right answer, any way to personally alleviate heartache and pain.

I remember the NICU nurses who cared for our son 18 years ago. He was in the hospital for just 10 days, having contracted a virus that demanded more tests. And I was amazed by the women who came to hold the babies who were very sick, the babies who had been there for months and whose families had to temporarily go home. Rockers were set up in front of these plastic cribs, and the women would hold the babies against their chests, being careful not to bother the cords and taped tubes attached to their tiny chests and legs.

In the coffeeshop where I sit now, my back pressed against green tweed and worn brown vinyl—Justin across from me—people come and go: collections of women, teens on winter break, older men with canes. Jeremy, who manages the shop, greets everyone with a boisterous “hello,” and listens to every long-winded beautiful story anyone is willing to tell. I love this place, its calmness, its way of holding us in our regular, glorious mess.

Justin, Abby, and I have moved into temporary housing with Justin’s dad while our home is being renovated. It has been a week of controlled chaos. Three times we have realized there is another item we inadvertently packed—things we need to leave with our old house as we get it ready to sell. This has meant us plunging—literally head-first, sometimes—into box upon box in an attempt to excavate the items. The fireplace remote, the hook to open the attic, the controller for the boys’ skylights.

Another non sequitur: I need to remember to water my plants, now temporarily corralled in a single room.

In all the rambling there is beauty. Our minds and hearts hold majesty. In the cold mornings I taste it in the air. At the table where I listen and write, I hear it. In the evenings of cooking and organizing and relaxing, I feel it.

Lord, help us turn our faces to you. Show us again, what you want us to notice, remember—and, with our hearts—see.

Friend, what details of a day—or a week—can you hold more closely and explore? What simple observation can you make about your surroundings? How might the act of writing down that observation make it hold a different weight to you? How might the describing it—to yourself—give it a significance you might otherwise have never known?

This week, for the Loop Poetry Project, I invite you to write a poem about something you’ve observed that, at first, feels relatively simple and unimportant. You don’t need to try to make something bigger—more significant—than it is already. Rather, let the observation you’ve made sit for a while upon the page. Study it. Listen to it. Trust the words the moment deserves.

I can’t wait to read what you write. Share it as a comment to this post…or with the lovely community right here.



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