LettersJan 15, 2021
Dear Old Wooden Pew
A pew is like a barge traveling through the sea. Whether the waters bring rage or calm, she continues to journey forward with the weight of that which she carries. She has but one unfaltering goal: an encounter with destination where all will be lifted from her.
INHALE: I am your child...
EXHALE: help me remember.
(repeat as many times as needed)
Dear, God –
It is hard to hear through the shattered. I know there is some part of her that longs to recognize You, to know You, to love You. It is those scattered pieces that blame You, hate You; at times, don’t believe You are there. So, what’s the point of my writing?
Tethered to her and I, like an endless cord, is the past. It is a disease that, flows in and out of remission, and now, leaks beneath my wood, festering. I know what you ask of her; she's heard Your voice. As she begins, her fingers grip me. Aching from the weight of this letter I hold.
Has it been two years ago now that I was the conduit for Your first whisper into her soul? A moment I still am unable to explain, those poetic words with which You impregnated her wanting hand. If not developed, time will ever consume the presence of that first encounter. The fire within that scorching pen released freedom, an offering - inhibition. Dulled emotions became palatable. Words clarified the many fanciful directions she'd followed. It was all to bring her back here, was it not?
The flooding of poetry formed a trickling tributary leading her to a dam. Now broken, memories rush forward. I attempt to support her as pain forces its way through my tiny cracks. One trust-filled break connects with another, then another. My facade crumbles: the depths begin emptying a relentless rush of quenching destruction. Upon this stable fortress, I will join the two - her, with the child she submerges.
- Your Faithful Pew
Children have not met worry. They do not know despair or grief. If they met them along their way, skipping, smiling, how do you think they would greet them? Does it resemble the greeting you provide? Would they analyze why they were beckoned? Or would they approach first with complete trust that they could change threat’s posture with one game?
What prayers do you lend to the old wooden pew today? If you were kneeling, hands clasped, eyes clenched, shoulders raised - what words linger in that posture? Give them to God right now. You can write them down or simply state them but let the pray flow openly. Spend several moments here - if you are sad, be sad; if you are angry, be angry - just be honest as children are honest.
Now encounter the child within you - become that freed spirit. If you are kneeling, would you find fun in rocking back and forth feeling the way your bones embrace the wood? If your hands are clasped, would you begin to wiggle your fingers, perhaps making little steeples with their shape or would you try to make some funny sound with the way they were bound together? If your eyes are clenched, would you begin to open them sharply, then pull them back together to see how the light desires to stay with you? If your shoulders are raised, would you begin to jog them up and down as some song you heard earlier begins to beckon movement?
What words linger in these silly postures? Are they lighter? Have despair and grief been invited into your world? How has your greeting toward another’s thought stained in this manner transformed? Perhaps childish hope has joined you.
Dear, Faithful Pew
She returns to you,
My old wooden pew.
Lord, please, she cries,
I search for any sign of You.
She encountered today
that man called despair,
just like that,
he stole her heart
and began his crafty wear.
She met with a woman;
by name, she is grief,
and like a tree in the winter,
her soul shed all sprouting leaves.
But, you saw today a child;
I believe she answered to hope,
yet it was hard to hear her
due to thoughts's tethered hold.
The child appears to be coming,
yet she does not know why,
for every expression she lends
only hints at good-bye.
Pew, steady your wood,
as I continue to push.
Lord, she appears to be weeping.
My pew, cradle her screams,
"why won't she just hush."
Sitting now face to face,
faithful servant support them both.
As she raises weary head;
now realizing she looks at self -
this child returns - so long now fled.
"Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." (Luke 18: 17) When we feel we have lost our way, that we cannot carry the weight of worry, help us to find the will of little children. It is from this encounter that we hoist prayers lent to old wooden pews upon our shoulders. We journey, light on our feet, for we hear You: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)