Poetry, Prayers for Pastors, Racism

Charm City (a prayer for pastors)

City Pier, Baltimore
The Baltimore a tourist sees.

The last time I was in Baltimore,
a hot bright summer day,
I remembered why I love it there,
a real city,
with troubles,
beautiful and eccentric,
Charm City.

It’s a place that feels real,
where it’s dirty and pretty,
no pretense,
and now it’s burning,
and kids can’t go to school,
and maybe they are hungry,
wishing for the school lunches
my ten-year-old picks at
knowing there is plenty at home.

And it’s churches feeding people,
feeding children,
and it’s pastors who lead protests,
peaceful ones,
strategizing first,
then taking to the streets,
trying to make a change
where there is so much strife,
with such long history.

Lord, I pray for those pastors,
doing work harder than mine,
no doubt wounded by the scenes
playing out on television,
or running eternally on Vine.
(Do not read the comments
on the Internet, that horrifying
collection of everything hateful.)
They are speaking to the press
and ministering to the people,
and cleaning up the mess.

All I have to do is this:
decide whether to talk about it.
I sit in a safe suburb,
and I weigh the possible reactions
of people in the pews,
or the ones I call my friends,
the ones who watch the news
and see a different story,
or only one side of it.

All I have to do is decide to talk about it.
I’m embarrassed that it feels like a lot.

So I’m praying, Lord,
for the ones with more courage,
who may not have known they had it,
but are working for You now,
clearing away the debris,
trying to clear a way for peace.

Maundy Thursday, Poetry

Maundy (a poem)

Sometimes it’s hard
to love one another,
To love into the foibles
instead of around them.

Mine are uncountable;
Unaccountable, too.

I leave the lights burning,
Turn up the thermostat,
Slip off my shoes anywhere at all.
I turn on televisions then walk away,
Forgetting, the sounds white noise
Underscoring my life.

It must be hard.

...a small portion...
…a small portion…

I have more yarn than
I could ever knit,
Projects begun, put down,
Why I loved the color
Or the texture
Forgotten.

To love each other transcends forgetting.
We know and care, but know the truth.
He told us to love so others can know us–
Know him–
It’s a mandate, a commandment,
A rule for living,
Loving orders.

~ Martha K. Spong (originally blogged April 1, 2010)

Children, Mothering, Poetry

The kind of mother I want to be

On NPR they told the story
Of helicopter parent glory:
Moms and dads of grown-ups calling
Corporations to ask why they are failing
Evaluations and reviews —
Because it all reflects on who?

Perhaps they fear the future for them,
Comfortable kids who may be poor then.
We are punch lines of late-night jokes
And not the least bit like our folks
Who sent us off and wished us well.
Instead we hover, raising hell.

LP on her way to Vespers at Smith.
LP on her way to Vespers at Smith.

The kind of mother I want to be
Flies in when asked, and just to see
The way she dresses for the concert,
His gold tie jaunty with the black shirt,
A glimpse of mustache (is it curled?),
The ways they move in their own worlds.

These observations aren’t just surface,
They give a sense of inner purpose
A frame of mind, a turn of heart,
A choice to take the better part
All show the people they’ve become,
the things they carry learned at home.

Admittedly I miss the times they
sat and told me of their dramas,
making me feel like Wonder Mama.
I think they hesitate to say
the things that matter, which then might
move out of dream and into sight.

If you tell your mother, it must be true,
that conclusion you’ve held for only you.
I love them, even tied in knots.
To help them rearrange their thoughts
Is still a loved, familiar task
But mine now only if they ask.

~~~~~~~~

(Inspired by a conversation between Krista Tippett and Brene Brown.)