WWJD on the streets of Dub

Have you seen the wee girl
In the street by our college?
Kicking at the rubbish,
With her high, high heels.
In her eyes, there is no spark
Bringing each man to her side
Yesterday’s lost innocence
Bringing pain in today

So how can you tell me you’re missional
And it’s all going well in your own church.
Walk with me and talk with me
I’ll lead you through the streets of Dublin
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind.

Have you seen the pigeon kicker
And his burly thuggy mates
They live in hopelessness
And dark, dark times
They have no time for me
Or even know the Father
Yesterday’s lost innocence
Bringing pain in today

In the doorways, hey
You’ll find Paul, Bert, Sean and Mark
Nick and Jim and even Siobhan
You’ll see duvets and damp pillows
Black plastic bin liners
Worn down faces
Past caring today

Would you give your new shirt?
Bring them home for dinner?
Walk the two miles
And turn the other cheek?
I’ve no time for Pharisees
I’ve no time for lip speaking
I want to see in you
Head, heart and hands

So change your sail to missional
Show tough hands that you can use
To change the world one bloke at a time
Show them Father through me
Tender-hearted
Lovingkindness

home
I wrote this poem with a song tune in my head, I wrote it in March 2016 after spending a year of 1-day-a-week in Dublin. I met all kinds of people, the old, young and in between.

Three Poems

I was asked earlier this year to consider entering a poetry competition. I don’t ever do this but I had some spare time so churned out two new ones which are so obviously in their raw format and one I had been sitting on all year. I did not win {doh!} but now the event is over I can publish here.

Candle

She sat behind closed curtains

Staring at nothing

The light gone from her eyes

The chin candle no longer used.

 

She waited for death

A relief of sorts

No longer active

No longer cared.

 

Her life had been long

With many twists and turns

The good bad and ugly

Rolled into one.

 

No longer concerned with

Life outside the window

Only the magnitude of her naval

Pursued her to her bitter end.

 

Truck-stop

 

It was more than a statistic

the empty truck on the side of the road

it was a testament and last will

An epitaph to man’s greed.

 

But the newspapers honed in

the sixth truck found this year

slight mention of tragic death occurring

but the “Sixth” struck a chord, in me.

 

The other five, what happened

to those desperate survivors –

sent back home or

refuged in a most inappropriate way?

 

It was the photo, slightly out of focus

in the corner by the open door –

a mangled Tonka digger

Like my son would often drive.

 

People, real people with

blood and breath and skin

were hidden and suffocated in

the truck by the side of the road.

 

A real child, with real hope:

of a better life, green hills, milk and honey

expired their last breath

in the white truck, now abandoned, on the road to Ballina

 

Silk

 

He liked the feel of nylon sheets

And lacy satin briefs

He resented them on his wife’s body

It had to be his skin and his motifs.

 

He tried through life to be

Inoffensive and remained incomplete

He didn’t know how to love his wife

Once initial passion was replete.

 

No soul was ever told of his slinky longings

The shame would have all but killed him

So he lived with his guilty secret

Long past his wife’s last swim.

 

But one snowy rural night

This pillar of community reposed

On the kitchen floor by an upturned chair

wreathed in rose pink lips, his life foreclosed.

 

 

Tears shed

Tears, what are they?

Made up of water and salts

They cascade down her face

No time to dry one before another forms

Streams of salty water roll down her cheeks

Their shape, a rivulet, bursting through

A tiny aperture,

pressure creating

What is their purpose?

Leaf shaped buds of emotion

Floating endlessly to her neck

Joined by two candles of snot

Crying,

she cried out

Not in words from her mouth

But direct heart to heart.

And in that moment she glimpsed, or perhaps

Imagined her unsaid words

appearing on each tear.

Are tears really heaven sent speech bubbles?

For when the words don’t.

Releasing the pressure of a heart

That doesn’t know whether to sit or stand

Lie down or crawl under a rock.

Are tears a coping mechanism sent from God

To help the helpless

To provide for the needy

And emotionally spent.

For the times when the only sound

Is a resounding natter

Of: any language will do.

For when rock bottom

Is hit with a thud

Rise: City of mine

Friday began the moanfest From the delightful “he” number one

A concert he didn’t want was coming to town.
The other he, was excited he loves to sing

And dance weirdly to any music

He loves the atmosphere of a live concert.
Saturday moanie moan set off

All the way to the capital

Such a long way to The Pale.
Sunday he moaned about the train

Full of children going to a concert

The same one he was travelling to.
The other he, got up and danced

To the tunes of the young American

And ignored the girl children on the train.
Another concert in another town

And I remembered the girl childs 

No longer screaming the words of songs.
Wailing, screaming in the violent times

The city that rocks determined to stand

The kindness of strangers pervade.
My city will not cower or hide

In my city the people will rise

On a flood of lovingkindness.
The tragedy has floored “he” number one

As he realises it could have been his town

And the girl-children on his journey.
My city, the world is determined not

To be defined as hostages of fear, 

In a disconnected disassembled life.
My city rose not in anger or fear

It offered beds, food and drink

To the stranded and lost.
My city loves you see, there is

No judgement in Manchester

Only love, pure love. His love.

It started with a …

hairband. Never thought it would end up with me in a supermarket car park praying for something, a word out of sight, a notion, a piece of wisdom carved in rock I could carry with me. I was fleetingly plumbing the depths.

I lost my hairband. I lost my identity. My life was that hairband. I threw it on and people thought I had groomed and the bits that stuck out were a new coiffure style not yet encountered (on the planet).

Hairband was less than a month old. I probably wore it every day for two weeks and it became a part of my morning routine. Dress, throw hairband on, grab keys, gulp coffee, go. I have this down to five minutes but I can do it in three if pushed.

I had cast hairband in a starring role. I have done much visualising of my future, casting a net over buildings and imagining me in those architectural nightmares. It is part of the coaching, life skills, communications guru stuff I have gone through in the last while.

Hairband was supposed to get me ready. It is part of the routine except that on Wednesday in Dublin I left it behind in the guest house and arrived at college sans hairband. Everyone noticed. Well actually that is a slight exaggeration, no one noticed. It was in my head that what was on my head mattered. But it is my head so to me it mattered.

I missed hairband, it added structure to my exterior. The hair is a woman’s crowning glory and hairband was my crown. Because it was all about the paintwork. It reminded me of the Year of Self Control. I learned so many things in that year about other people and their perceptions and also after nine months discovered why I was to focus on self control.

It wasn’t about the money, clothes or coiffured hair. It was about sitting and listening to some news that rocked my world without reacting in “old self” ways. A number of years previous to this I had not learned this valuable life lesson and sought out numbness in all the wrong places. I remember the morning I so wanted to go to church but family ties meant I caught a plane instead. I guess I did have the beginnings of knowing where to turn but not the gumption to halt proceedings.

My world rocked on its hinges, fell off the axis and smashed. The history I had built my life on disappeared and a new history began to appear. A history that took time to form and questions raised and answers sought. But it is formed now.I didn’t need a hairband for that.

What is it about talismans, necklaces, brooches and hairbands that make us feel more confident? And was this what I was pinning on that hairband – confidence? Surely not, after life coaching and guru communication sessions. Surely now was the time to stand confident in Christ alone. For an hour or so I smugly agreed I did not need a hairband.

And then I left the confines of the building into a howling Dublin wind and realised the real reason I needed a hairband was to keep my hair out of my eyes. So I bought a new one and wore that to the meeting. It was not about hairbands.

So what brought me to the supermarket car park? I lost focus, and navel gazed too long. I was remembering a similar journey three years ago. Could my pride allow me to go through the door? I sent out a prayer request for urgent covering as I sought God’s opinion. The answer I got was yes there will be humility involved but He would protect me from humiliation.

I continued on the path that would teach me more about humility than I had expected and with no massive cost of face. I was just myself and fielded the questions and answers with the ease God has given me. Confidence comes from God not a hairband.

Jeremiah 17:7

‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him’

Such confidence we have through Christ before God.
It is with His confidence I continue walking along a precarious path. I was reminded of the delicate veil between old and new when talking to someone stuck in a moment this week. On one day this week I met some struggling and someone hiding behind a facade of propriety. And I looked at myself through a different lens, where was I on the line of “in it” and “over it.” This took me down a few different routes of self discovery and awareness.
And I got here ….
Focus
Focus
Focus
on God alone, Christ alone, Spirit alone
and all those “troubles” will stay clear.
through writing this piece I realised I sang and stole lyrics or concepts along the way so …
It started with a kiss never thought it would end like this
stuck in a moment
stranded at the drive thru – branded a fool
brain drain

The Christmas Bauble

Bauble shards glimmered in the cold light

Tinsel strewn in ancient ritual

And only an hour before they all arrive

Mary sat amongst the broken glass

Her arm skewed in a ragdoll way

The rainbow of colour danced across her face

In a cruel waltz that reflected her life

Jamie stood in the doorway

Smirking down at the mess

And his wife broken before him.

 

The family arrived into a tidy, clean house

Mary’s arm strapped up for now

Even the gravy did not belie

The undertones of the house that day

They chatted and gossiped about sundry and all

Jamie was mine host extraordinaire

Mary the cook, barely sat down

When it was time for the contingent to leave

The tree looked elegant sans baubles this day

As everyone ignored the nuance and tone.

 

Please think of those not having a “Happy Christmas” this year

glass

Love {arrived}

van-gogh-nativity.jpgThe thing is …

No that won’t work

 

Joe, Joey, my beautiful man

God says I’m pregnant

O Lord give me the words

 

I get it, the whole angel thing

I really do -but Joseph

 

Lord he’s a chippy not a theologian

How is he going to understand?

 

~~

Mary, my Mary my sweet angel girl

She is still sweet

 

The angel dude he visited me too

Explained it all so even I could take it in.

We are having a baby… Whoo hoo.

 

~~

two thousand years of literal and liberal,

of conservative and radical

 

there are some who believe the incarnation

and there are some that doubt

just as some scoff at creation

 

and here’s their deal – the argument they say

Mary lied to cover an indiscretion

 

How could the Messiah be born

In such a lowly way

To a peasant girl in Bethlehem

 

~~

Me – I’m all in, believe the whole thing

Creation, Fall, Rebellion, Redemption

 

And the best bit, as in any story

In the last few paragraphs …

Of a city, a hill and no more sorrow.

Random {chat} between sisters

Me:

What is in the hampers?

Friend:

Two bottles of wine, a bottle is spirits, a box chocolates and/or biscuits. I’ll see what comes tomorrow when the delivery arrives.

Me:

really??? wow… we could never do that

Friend:

Hampers aimed at non Christians. They have money too!

Me:

I know, I am not judging, just comparing what we do here

to what you do there

Friend:

The joy of different churches.

Still. You get to preach and lead. I don’t. Different strokes.

Mer:

I guess I prefer my side of the fence then