The Real Quiet Place

In the stories of Jesus’ public ministry there are accounts of people who have been healed of skin diseases which would have set them apart from their communities due to infection prevention measures codified by the Mosaic law.

In some of these stories, Jesus heals them and gives them permission to not tell people they were ever infected with these diseases.

I think this injunction was made (at least in part) to allow them to have a new life, unencumbered by prejudice.

When my family moved to a new place a few years after we found out that our adopted son had sexually assaulted some of our children, I realized that this was our chance to “start anew.”

We had pushed for legal consequences for Charles. We had a good counselor in the aftermath. We moved to protect the children. We were open with everyone in our previous community.

But we chose to continue

To tell our story.

The result has been fascinating and lonely.

There is a lot of prejudice about victims of sexual abuse and their families, maybe especially in churches.

We could be contagious?


Or maybe it is our openness that scares them.

Either way, we call it “the island.” We live on an island

An island made of truth and pain and loneliness

With a single, unwavering resident

The one who heals us.

The one who knows this quiet place.

The one who tells us the truth will set us free.

My family is healthy, happy, and stable because we have never tried to hide

The story of our grief

But it can be quiet

On the island.

Planting Daisies

I pull down the old book, look for recipes for cultivating children, like the time she sewed the earth with dragon’s teeth and made them into men…

I don’t want men

I want daisies

Dozens and dozens, hundreds and hundreds, legions and legions, fields upon fields

Filled with Bellis perennis–beauties everlasting

Because only God can

Make lasting

Children out of words

And wildflowers

From the River

come at some peril to watch

The wind do what it wills

And the river contend with it

Begetting crests then waves, blues then greens, blues then greens

A million times a million times a million

Breathing in and out, back and forth all the way to the sea

Of clouds above us

Moving fast

haloed in the most unearthly light

Oh ordinary sun, willing to be

Obscured, taken for granted

Like the God who made you

And all your endless


Flight 752

They boarded the plane. Put their bags in overhead compartments. Scanned the list of drinks and snacks on what they thought would be a long flight. Buckled in the children. Watched the international pantomime for safety on an airplane. Assured flight attendants they were old enough for exit seats.

None of us are

Ready for the impact

The percussion, the fire, the fall

As though the story we had been always told about Icarus was a slanderous lie

He did not fly too close to the sun at all

No warning, no premonition, no string long enough to thread them free of

The labyrinth, the

Friendly fire

You and me from the past

The cat thinks morning tea might lead to cream, or better yet–canned food. She follows me to the kettle and I tell her hope springs a turtle.

A quote from you, of course

You from the past

Me from the past. A person who seems so remote to me now.

I had to let you go

Would be content with a turtle

For all that hope

I had for you and me

Still eternal.