Friday, November 8

A Closing Ode

The Journey                                               
One day you finally knew                        Five women began it – this sojourn to renew the mind.
what you had to do, and began,              Then we were six,
though the voices around you                  then eight.
kept shouting 
their advice—                                          Three and a half years
though the whole house                           Eight books of the Bible
began to tremble                                     Twenty more friends
and you felt the old tug                            Two retreats
at your ankles.                                          Brunches
"Mend my life!"                                        Two more groups.
each voice cried. 
But you didn't stop.                                  They told me the effects; I saw with my own eyes.
You knew what you had to do,                  This shaped them, connected them, moved them into mission.
though the wind pried                               We began in a place where we just showed up
with its stiff fingers                                    and we ended in a bond that made us new.
at the very foundations,                            Today.
though their melancholy 
was terrible.                                             Together we filled the canvas with colors
It was already late                                    from the stories of Jesus,
enough, and a wild night,                                        words from Paul,
and the road full of fallen                                         bravery of Esther.
branches and stones. 
But little by little,                                      And then James came and told us all the truth of the moment.
as you left their voices behind,                   “If you know what is right to do and don't do it...”
the stars began to burn 
through the sheets of clouds,                    I scratched out a vision for it, expanding it wider and deeper,
and there was a new voice                        gathered a few of them and said, “Let's do this.
which you slowly                                      Can we do this?” But my soul said, “No.”
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company                             It was never my intent
as you strode deeper and deeper              to create something that broke down walls.
into the world                                           It was my intent to build.
determined to do                                      But the foundation where we all began is gone.
the only thing you could do—
determined to save                                   I thought I could keep my fingers around it.
the only life you could save.                     When everything else was torn away I said, “This is mine.
                                                                 No one can take it.” And no one did.
- Mary Oliver                                             But in the end I chose to give it.

                                                 Because a good shepherd lays down her life for her sheep.

                                                 Because when you delay a death, what is the value of a life?

                                                 It was here that I found them, love inside their warm embrace.
                                                 It was here that I found that teaching voice, the heart beating fast
                                                 over truth. It was here that I struggled through the hard season
                                                 daring the words to find my faults and finally discovered what
                                                  wisdom would say: Above all else, be pure.

                                                 "Oh, the wildness of this night,
                                                  It's already late enough."

                                                  I can only do the next                                                                 right thing.