Once, you made a promise to a lonely man.
You took him out into the twilight,
And lifted his eyes to the swirling crush of galaxies.
“Your children will outnumber the stars.”
His gaze swept the heavens-
Multitude pinpricks of light-
Until his eyes were filled with starlight and grateful tears.
I stand beneath that same darkened sky,
But the stars aren’t so visible anymore,
Overcome by lights of our own design.
The promise is dim.
One star burns above, alone,
And I wonder if this might be
Moonlight pools in the furrowed fields.
Each grain-topped stalk reaches up
To caress the dark sky’s face.
A hush has fallen over our common earth,
But the heavens are alive with song.
The stars pour forth melodies, harmonies,
Endless arias, spiraling refrains.
Their silver voices sing clear in the night.
Who but God has ears to listen?
Who but God and his legions of angels?
If we could hear but one chord of that song,
We would never again doubt the beauty of existence
Or the perfection of eternity to come,
Wrapped in the symphonies of heaven.
Do not call me Naomi.
I am no longer pleasant.
I’m Mara, I’m bitter, I’m empty.
I was filled, but I’ve been hollowed out.
I’ve lost the sweetness of the rose.
I’ve lost the flavor of food.
I’ve lost my love and my legacy.
I’ve lost my faith and my trust.
Do not call me by my old name-
The name that, when on his lips,
Meant promise and future and passion.
It is a bitter reminder of who I was,
Who he was,
Who we were.
Naomi died with Elimelek, Mahlon, and Kilion.
Call me bitter. Call me Mara.
Evil must be stronger than good
Why else can one drop of poison
Turn the whole well?
One cruel person
Shatter countless lives?
Why is it so easy to break,
Yet so difficult to mend?
Surely evil is stronger
Or is it that
Of turning dark to light
Deepest stain to white
Is the monumental task of a God
Who we would not know we need
If we could do it ourselves so easily
In knowing him
My heart is satisfied
My soul is justified
There is nothing more I need
And still I’m searching for something
If I really knew him
I would know peace
Would know content
But all I see of him
is a blurry silhouette
Every glimpse I’ve had of him
stirs my heart
But glimpses aren’t enough
to sustain deep, abiding love
I need to stare, to watch,
to study long and hard
this one whose beauty
captivates and mesmerizes
if only looked at truly
As wax held in the fire’s heat
Let holiness and my heart meet
For in that purifying flame
My heart will never be the same
It will grow warm and soft and tame
To take the imprint of Your Name
Let me be tempered in this blaze
And make me pleasing to your gaze
For everything that I desire
Is gained by passing through the fire
“God is love,”
the Scriptures say.
But “God is spirit”
and his body is not present with me,
only his intangible soul.
I cannot touch or hear or see
and he says I am blessed for believing anyway.
But I long for the animal comfort
of a heartbeat beneath my ear,
an arm around my shoulder, holding me up.
Or to hear affirmations, declarations of faithfulness,
whispered, murmured, spoken aloud.
Not just pages of red letters,
not just tears blurring an empty ceiling,
not just crying out with no reply.
The glass is dim, the mirror dark,
and all I have is a promise,
not yet attained.
I cannot touch or hear or see
but this present distance must suffice for me.