How do you write new words, find new meaning, when the landscape becomes familiar? How do you find freshness? How does your heart remain awake?
What happens when what was once strange is no longer strange? What do we do when strange becomes a new normal? Does strange lose its meaning? Does meaning become strange?
What grounded us before? What grounds us now?
The answers to these questions become clear just when we feel the old patterns, once so familiar, slip away. By choice or not, the old patterns are removed and we develop new rhythms. What we once knew slipping into memory. How much can memory hold?
The days feel stretched out, unhurried. Yet I am distracted. Busy and not busy. My heart is often open–but also, sometimes, numb.
But the days fly by. How do the days fly by?
I keep events on the calendar, wanting to remember what was lost, how life has shifted. I want to not forget what life used to hold. Gatherings and journeys. Celebrations and obligations. I feel defiant, my heart both raw and strong at once, realizing that I have adopted a posture of surrender while suppressing anger against an enemy invisible and calculating and cold.
If this is war, what does it mean to push back, stand up, and fight? It might begin with gratitude. Worship. Adoration. Surrender. Praise.
Surrender, dear one. All emotions. Give them to Me. All to Me.
I give God thanks for holding Justin’s and my hands through the fire of last year–the year of our individual rounds of psychotherapy and our shared marital struggling. Last year we fought for words–and deeper understanding of our own hearts. Sanctification is not easy. Or pain-free. Our choosing to surrender and die, again and again, to our old selves, helps us now. In our marriage, in our work, in this shelter-in-place situation, we are better equipped to go forward together, knowing our Father has never dropped His gaze, never dropped His hold of our hands.
The struggle was worth it. The work of therapy was worth it. Choosing to seek new eyes to see, really see, an old way of living is always worth it. And the peace in this home, as our God led us through that fire, is a gift of that work. Thank You, Thank You. It is a gift we have to choose to pick up and work on each day, again and again and again.
What can you say about the impact of this Covid-19 pandemic on your relationships? How has it affected the atmosphere of your home? What is it like for you now, after a month of being forced to a new way of living, working, relating, with the people in your life? Can you put words, maybe in the form of a poem, to that new atmosphere now?
Write your poem in the comments below, and/or share it with the lovely community of poets in the private Loop Poetry Project Facebook group. (Click here to join.) Or share it on social media using the hashtag #loopoetryproject. I can’t wait to hear how you are doing.
Bless you, His dear ones.
with much love,
Let me linger here
where children I know
awake from dreams,
hair tousled and wild
to leap out into day
swinging legs over bikes
and calling out (like a proclamation of freedom)
their peace within a day,
the natural moving from
one moment to the next
without time cajoling them
to move faster,
for they are at ease with
what they can’t control,
taking for granted agency
to determine outcome,
weigh a result with a stick or scale:
their voices calling
out to each other (I can
hear them still) to teach me
what it means to not capture life
but let it move through me,
and I drop my bold bare hands.
jennifer j. camp