Sunday, February 27, 2011

Risky Business and Me Too

Last night I attended something called Gallery Night hosted by my church. I'm still at the early stages of getting involved and connected there, and attending events outside of Sunday morning is a big deal. I always get these emails about groups that are meeting and things that are happening, and I think, "Oh, that sounds so cool!" and then I chicken out and don't go. Am I the only one who does this?

Anyway, in the emails about Gallery Night, they asked for submissions from the community. They wanted submissions "from ordinary people at Exodus doing art, music, writing and anything else creative." And in a highly uncharacteristic move (seriously, I never do this), I emailed the organizer and told her I had some poems I wanted to contribute.

I love to read poetry. And yes, I occasionally write it myself. But aside from a creative writing class in high school where we were required to share our classwork, I have never let anyone else read my poems. Heck, I've never even told anyone I write poetry! Even typing the phrase "I write poetry" is ridiculous!!!!!!!

Hours could be spent psychoanalyzing my insecurities about writing. Who knows what possessed me to voluntarily contribute my poems for the Gallery Night. And then follow through by actually bringing them to the Gallery Night. And then stand around talking to people at the Gallery Night who might actually match up the name on the paper with my face! But I did. And the absolute best thing that could have happened in that whole scenario actually happened.

I met a new person in the mingling, and when I introduced myself, she asked me if I had submitted anything, because there were a few different Wendys who had brought pieces. I said yes, and identified the poems I brought. "Oh, that winter one..." she said.
"Yeah, when I showed it to my roommate she thought it was really sad."
"It was," she said, "but I definitely know the feeling."

The most comforting words a person can ever say are "Me too."

And, just for posterity, here's that poem:

I am glad
you broke my heart in winter.
I don't think I could bear
to see things growing
to hear birds chirping
to watch children playing in the sun.

Winter is cold

like my heart.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't you just love spring?

I know, it’s February, and not actually spring yet. But we’ve had a string of warm days here, and now I can’t seem to get to all those chores on my list, like cleaning the bathroom and stacking wood in the basement. I just have to be outside!

Spring is great for everyone and everything in the Little Yellow House. The cats are less destructive inside the house when they get to burn off all their energy outside. They chase everything --birds, frisbees, each other-- except the neighbor dog, who chases them! Thankfully there are lots of trees nearby for escape.

Last week I sat outside one afternoon and watched them play. I am an avid observer of nature in all seasons. I love to see small shadows speeding across the ground, and search the sky for hawks gliding in the summer heat. I love to see the foliage splashed with color in the fall, like an exuberant toddler was let loose with finger paints in the forest. I love to see the snow shining like glitter on the ground, and hear the frozen winter branches tapping together like morse code. And I love spring, because everything seems to begin again. I listened to the birds singing, and they seemed hesitant, like they were using tunes that had gone unsung for too long. A woodpecker circled the trunk of a tree, tapping tentatively to find a good spot. The ground is damp and waiting, and though it is still too early for flowers to begin uncurling their leaves, the buds on the trees are beginning to swell.

I am ready for spring in my heart, too. Ready for new things, and beauty, and life. Lent begins soon, and as the church calendar goes, things will get much darker before we can truly celebrate the miracle of rebirth. But I am ready.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I enjoy writing. Unfortunately, since I finished school, I seem to only write when inspiration strikes, instead of as a discipline that would develop my skills. But since what I have is all I’ve got, I might as well try to find something that works.

I know lots of bloggers schedule their posts in advance to help with the consistency and continuity of their blogging. I’ve started to do this with my poetry blog since I have only sporadic internet access. It might work here, too. What if, during my moments of inspiration, I take the time to churn out a few blog posts instead of just one, and schedule them to be posted at a later date? We’ll see how this goes.

Do you remember taking hearing tests in elementary school? I remember it being something mildly exciting for me and my young classmates. As a group, we would leave our room and file into one of the back basement hallways, and wait in line as our peers were taken in a few at a time. The room was dimly lit (Why are they always dimly lit?) and at the hearing test station, we put on a pair of giant noise-blocking headphones and were instructed to push the button every time we heard a beep. We had to hear a certain percentage of the beeps in order to pass the test, and I was always a little bit afraid that I would miss too many.

I feel like that with God sometimes. I sit there, my senses on edge, straining to hear his voice. I stretch my ears to hear a word, a whisper, some direction.

--Did you hear that?

Was that your voice, God?

...or just background noise?

I wish I had a pair of worldly-noise blocking headphones, because I can’t always hear the beeps. Sometimes they’re unmistakably loud, but sometimes I just know I’ve missed one. Sometimes what I think I've heard turns out not to be from God, and sometimes what I think I hear doesn't seem like it could be true.

How do you hear God?