Machine Translation

The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.

This time we all know we are contagious, right?

They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English

Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.

The devastating depths men may plunge to

If the womenfolk fail to speak.

Rapture

Waited in the animal clinic

(It was touch and go those days)

looked up at the plastic picture fitted

over the flat fluorescent light

A joyful tangle

of cats, dogs, suitcases, lamps, unicycles

Bowler hats and other ephemera

as though a world populated entirely by domestic animals had

Lost its purchase on gravity

Things rise in a riotous jumble

Rapture, I think

One day we will

Rise and float

Balloons in blue sky

Tethered

In the end, I picture you

Crossing paths unexpectedly with someone much like me only nicer

Between trains in a crowded station

She is going one way, you the other

And she knows there is only one minute left

Amidst the noise, the crowd, the excruciating sound of braking

To say something

To change the course of your endless

Destination

There is no end of the line?

Who will meet you at the station?

Jesus, the ticket pressed into your hand

The only way home

Ah-buh-nim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

And brand-spanking-new shoes

He approached the chicken in the unfamiliar garden

With the utmost deference,

The pears still hung on the trees, each carefully wrapped in old newspapers to shield them from pestilence

An unseasonably warm day to worship one’s ancestors and

The food at the restaurant was good

Something about historically accurate food

In the last few moments before

The two little red-headed children

Reported

All they saw–aggressor-accomplice-victim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

Lazarus

He walks into every room looking for someone who might comprehend

what it is

he has seen and heard

He weighs their solemn waiting-room-faces

Do they have

Better memories now? Do they still need to write things down or

Know every word by heart?

Are all the lambs among them and

can we see their scars?

Who can end this waiting

By calling us out

Out into life

My Covid Story

Around Thanksgiving I got Covid. I work in a doctor’s office, so eventually all of our staff got the disease as did our immediate family.

Symptoms and severity sorted out by age. The youngest two had the mildest symptoms, the oldest–me, ended up in the ER for a day, facing a diagnosis of damage to my heart and lungs.

First, let me say, that I am mending. I am the recipient of miracles and healing.

But the 24 hours leading up to the ER visit were really scary. The day in the ER was a gift. The oxygen machine they sent me home with was a gift.

And my current pulse, O2 stats, and general health–belong to the grace of my Ransomer.

Jesus gave me miracles, as He has done my whole life.

Covid is a really scary disease. It leaves some scars. It leaves fear and memory of the pain and uncertainty.

But Jesus is bigger than mountains. Jesus is bigger than tiny killer viral agents.

And Jesus never walks away from us.

I know I have been saved and given the gift of my life back.

I will do what I can to praise the One who saved me.

And I will use these beautiful lungs to pray for all of us.

That we feel him there with us,

No matter what.

The Namesake Dilemma

I have been waging a Sisyphean campaign to draw scrutiny to a large business deal.

One of the companies involved has clearly secular goals which are in frank opposition to the stated identity of the other.

The other bears the name of a good friend of mine. My best friend–

It troubles me that in recent years this second company seems to be more concerned with monetary transactions than honoring the name applied to its legal entity.

It is a good reminder for me–if I want to mark my life, my identity, my business, my things, with the name of my Beloved, well

I better make sure

They all really belong to Him

And we both know

He is my best friend, my boss, my king

Savior, Redeemer, Lord

God’s strong right arm.

Revelation 12:17 NIV

[17] Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.