28 February 2006

the courage to begin

"The part you must jettison is not only the best-written part; it is also, oddly, that part which was to have been the very point. It is the original key passage, the passage on which the rest was to hang, and from which you yourself drew the courage to begin."

Annie Dillard

black velvet & torn jeans

19 February 2006

Be still and know that I am God.

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.
If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified.
Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God.
Continue to persevere spiritually.

15 February 2006

"I was waiting for such a long time," she said.

"I thought you forgot."
"It's so hard to forget." He said. "When there is such a big space when you are gone."

12 February 2006

(read between every line i draw)

Silence is my greatest act of love.

(If you hate this, you can change it. But I can't.)

09 February 2006

Oh Sylvia

My life, I feel, will not be lived until there are books and stories which relive it perpetually in time. Writing breaks open the vaults of the dead and the skies behind which the prophesying angels hide. The mind makes, and makes, spinning it's web.

- Sylvia Plath, Journals

08 February 2006

Pity that this is out of print.

Mysticism for beginners

"C. S. Lewis had the right idea. Teach your children stories about magic, and they will be ready for the mysticism that is real life."

-Dr. Mitchell on Plato and Lewis and education and faith.

07 February 2006

Like I Wish I Was

The migraine was a bad story
I knew when I said Goodbye
You told me I had to pull out
Leave it behind
Leave what
I think you knew
I passed Christmas Day
On your sofa, Grandma
Trying to hide my face
In an afghan you knit
White and blue, with
Holes the size of
Sounds, voices, smells that
Came in anyways, quietly
Beneath the interior shudder of
Bending steel
Whole bridges were collapsing
Inside of me
While you peeled oranges at the sink
And my aunties drank red wine
While the children skated across
Hardwood floors with new toys
I twisted my fingers in the wool
Bracing myself
When we walked to the ocean
Along the busy road
I walked ahead
You walk the beach
Gathering sea glass, lady slipper shells
Looking out across the bay
Not looking back
You told me once that
Love was best an accident
Unfolding on its own
You might have been just as glad
Living with a lot of girls
In the boarding house across the harbor
Bookkeeping at an office in town
My sister is at the edge of the surf
And her shoes getting wet
Her sweater doesn't match
Her hat
Her hair is lost in the wind
She is throwing stones
She is like you, Grandma
Like I wish I was
Looking straight ahead
Happy alone
(HEC - 12/05)

06 February 2006

All my words are hands.

One could write an essay on the theme of hands in poetry, as poetry. So much of postromantic lyric poetry has been about connection and disconnection. About reaching out across a divide in an intimate gesture--sometimes desperate, sometimes futile--toward another person, a destined "you." Or it is about the inability, or refusal, to make such a gesture, turning inward instead toward a greater interiority and a deeper interiorization.

-Edward Hirsch

04 February 2006

Noah's Arc

(this were just supposed to be pictures of my trip to NH, but my photobank added a few others)

To Dave and Lori, who make me laugh for hours and whose red house has become a refuge

To Noah, who encourages them because he built his arc on faith for a hundred years and believed the rain would come

To John Mark, who took me on the road trip I needed the day after Christmas, gave me a pilgrimage, and let me listen to Over the Rhine and Sufjan Stevens and Ryan Adams (against his taste and better judgement)

To Miss Sarah Coronato, who can take out an eye in a single poke and will never be underestimated again

Ice Pops

Lydia wishes that she was sick because then she would get ice pops for dinner. And maybe soda, but she would have to drink it slowly because it's so poppley. And she thinks its worth being sick, especially throwing up, because at least you get ice pops. She thinks she should give up building forts because she's not good enough at it.

03 February 2006

I'm glad our heads have walls.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.

I remember running with Jules, between the fields, on one of the rare warm days last February. Running, both of us, because we needed outlet and release and because we could say anything we wanted to one another. Fighting the wind, feeling the sun, saying the truest things we knew. We had a lot of new thoughts that didn't have any place yet. I was reading about Jacob then, like I am today. That same story that I cannot forget. I read it and it changed my perspective on faith, my perspective on God, made me want to be a little more bold, to fight a little harder, even if it hurt. Made me realize how unwilling I was to fight, and how afraid I was of God.

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

Those were the days when we would solace ourselves with the fact that we were struggling. "Are you wrestling?" We would ask eachother. And we were content just to know we were discontent. That was a hard February. Like this one. And now I am standing on the other side of so many changes and emotions and delusions and rough truths and am still provoked the same way. I am still asking the same questions.

Jacob wrestled with God and he looked God in the face, but he walked away limping, with an injury he would never forget. We cannot hold onto God without His glory burning our fingers a little and usually we can't look Him in the eye without death. What does it mean to hold onto God? to wrestle until dawn? is that why my steps today are marked by pain? am I limping?

It seems strange what a year can contain, but stranger still what a person can contain. I have been catching glimpses of my own face--and that is frightening enough--but I have also begun to see the faces of others, a little more clearly. And I am realizing that I am surrounded by people who I've been passing off as shallow or naieve who are wrestling perhaps more than I ever have in my life, and still getting dressed and writing papers and smiling over their cafeteria coffee. I am getting suspcious of the way we all interact and live, now that I know what complicated pain some people are hiding with all of their routine. They bear it so calmly, spread their faces so placidly, walk so purposefully. And I am doing the same thing. Looking at them levelly, speaking sanely, only letting it out a little in drivels of cynicism.

I know all the lies, I've been taught well, and I would tell you that I'm glad our heads have walls. You don't want to know what I am thinking during poetry class, or behind the conversation about soup over lunch. The mind can wander a million places and hurt can stay disguised and perhaps never be dealt with. But not much changes even in a year where everything changes, because I am still limping, from the wounds I got last winter. And I think I'm holding on a little tighter because of them, and getting destroyed a little more.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

02 February 2006

About the face was a gold-tinged blackness...

The voyage into self is long and dark and full of peril, but I believe that it is a voyage that all of us will have to make before we are through. Either we climb down into the abyss willingly with our eyes open, or we risk falling into it with our eyes closed. I believe that if we search ourselves deeply enough, we will begin to see at last who we really are, we will begin to see, very dimly at first, our own true faces. And then, although on the surface the fever may rage still, I believe that a strange calm does begin to come, a peace that passes understanding.

Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

Who are you?

Struggling with the God whose persistence I find exhausting, whose very will requires me to relinquish my own, I dare to ask. "Who are you?" I want to shout, "And what do you want from me?"

French philosopher Michel de Montaigne writes of that which we know to be true of life, "There are triumphant defeats that rival victories." Along the road to surrendering to God, the battle is an unavoidable illustration. And there is much truth in the notion that surrendering to God is a battle that begins again every day as if nothing had yet been done. But it is in this great surrendering where we find, as Fredrick Buechner observes, "the magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God."


01 February 2006


I place you by the window so your skin can receive the setting sun,
so your flesh will yield to succulence, lush with juice,
so the saints of autumn will bless your flaming fruit.

Because cancer has left me tired.

Because when I visit God's houses, I enter and leave alone.
Not even in the melting beeswax and swinging musk of incense
has God visited me, not when I've bowed or kneeled or sung.

Because I have found God, instead, when I've crouched in bathrooms,
lain back for the burning of my skin, covered my face and cursed.

Persimmon: votive candle at the icon of my kitchen window,
your four-petalled stem the eye of God in the Temple's dome,
tabernacle pulp and seed,
dwelling place for my wandering prayers,

I am learning from you how to praise.

Because when your body bruises and softens, you are perfected.
Because your soul, persimmon, is sugar.

Anya Krugovoy