Love

Ramadan in Memory and Imagination

Photo by Naim Benjelloun on Pexels.com

In Memory 

I call a few friends

Who used to live in China 

To ask about Ramadan

What foods they shared

For Iftar

And what it meant

It was nutritious and delicious

Huge meals of soup, 

rich and meaty main dishes and

Fresh and dried fruits and nuts

It meant

Love and connection

Solidarity 

With family, friends and neighbors

I find it painful to ask

And painful for them to remember

Since they have left their homeland

Since the lockdown

Since the genocide of their people

They haven’t heard news

Of their families

For too long

They have not heard 

Their voices or their laughter

Or words of hope

That this will end

And life could be normal

And they could celebrate

Ramadan again

With love and connection

Solidarity

With family, friends and neighbors

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

In Imagination

(When I lived in a city called Gulja, I remember hearing mothers calling their children to come home. They would sing their names out the doorways or open windows. The children would start making their way home when they heard their names.)

If only I could hear her voice again. She called me from the window, singing my name down the street. The sun had set. I knew it was time to come home and eat the delicious meal she prepared every night for us. I would skip home throwing open the door to find her in her apron serving the food to my father and brother.  She would nudge me to the sink to wash my hands. My father would tussle my hair, my brother would give me a playful punch. We would eat our meal together, savoring the flavors and the love we had for each other. 

In my dreams I hear her calling, singing my name down the street.  I can never find my way home. There is always an ocean to cross or a gate I can’t get through or soldiers blocking my way.

Categories: borderlands, Faith, Hospitality, lament, Love, pain, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Blessing for Open Eyes

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

Open our eyes to see

What is happening in our world

To see with eyes that care

About the suffering of others

To see the connections

And understand

Why these things are happening today

Give us insight

And vision 

To see solutions beginning

Small and thin

That lengthen and thicken

Into strong ropes

Strong arms

To lift 

To carry 

To free

© 2021 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Flag

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

For all those

Waving a Jesus flag

Big shoes to fill

Big steps to follow

Better get started

Developing love

Self-sacrificing love

Takes a lifetime

Posers will be revealed

Examine our hearts

Whose path am I on?

No idols here

No judgements either

Fruit will reveal

Better than a flag

Who I serve

Who I truly love

© 2021 Julie Clark

Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com
Categories: Faith, God, Love, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts on Change

Let us

Search for the light

Like wise persons

Follow it

Come out of the blinding

Darkness

Shake it off

Shake ourselves awake

And free

Let love

Come down

Melt the hardness

In our hearts

Let the tears

Flow

Do their work

Break us open

Just as the rain

Finds a way

Through the earth’s 

Hardened crust

Look up

Rise up 

Follow the light

Our paths

Need examining

Need pondering

Where am I headed?

Who am I?

Who am I becoming?

Is this who I want to be?

Is this path leading to life?

Leading to light?

Leading to love?

If not

Step off

We can change our course

We can grow

We can choose

We still have breath

We are still alive

© 2021 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

(This was a prayer/thought I had Saturday morning before we heard the results of our recent presidential election.)

Are you counting?

Like the votes are being counted 

One by one, day after day?

Are you counting

My every thought

Every move

Every deed

Weighing on scales?

No, not counting

Loving

Pouring it out

Day after day

The love that covers

Every mistake

Wayward thought

Angry word

Unkind action

Hateful look

The self-pity

Self focus

The pride

All of it

Again and again

Until it is covered

Until I learn mercy

And do the same

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: Autumn Poems, Faith, God, growth, Hope, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Raven

Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

Flew to the tip of the garage

Standing there now

In front of us

Outside our window

Your message from the One who loves:

I am here

Standing guard

Leading you

In this work

In this way

Pay attention

Step by step

Look for me

You will find me

When you search

With all your heart

I am for you

I am renewing the earth

And it’s peoples

Don’t be afraid

I am with you

I see you

Even when you

Cannot see me

Look for me

Pay attention

Categories: Birds, Faith, God, Hope, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Fruit Trees

The fruit trees

Have put on their new attire

Traded in the bare naked look

From buds to shawls of fragile blooms

Now with sturdy green working clothes

These garments will take them through the heat of summer

Their job, with branches stretching far into the sky

Collect all the glorious light coming their way

Transform the energy to feed the world

Fruit their goal, their hope, their song

No fruit, no life ahead

These trees will bear fruit

The leaves will do their job

And begin the cycle again

After the fruit is picked

Ripe and juicy

The old tired leaves will give

Their last hurrah

Decked out in the best of their colors

Gold, reds, oranges and yellows

The grand goodbye after all their labors

Before they fall to the ground

In storms of rain and wind

Will we like leaves

Live our lives

Dressed for the occasions

Of each stage of our being?

What are our goals, our passions?

Will they feed the lives coming after us?

How will we weather our storms and troubles?

Will we leave in a glorious hurrah

Having done all we can

To leave a rich inheritance

Of a life fully lived and a heart full of love

To the next generations?

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, growth, Hope, Life, Love, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Am I Hoarding Jesus?

 

When I was a young person coming back to faith in Jesus in the mid 70’s I was taught I had the answers to the questions of life. My experience as I traversed different parts of the world and met different kinds of people that this was not all together true. Yes, my young life had changed as I made following and learning about Jesus a priority, but I had a lot to learn from the people I met. Yes, I could offer prayers and encouragement from my perspective and I did see people encouraged, and even recovered from sickness. Yet, I learned to be quick to listen, slow to speak. Well, I had to be, because I was learning a new language! One of the many gifts of learning a new language. I also was learning and seeing beautiful things in the culture and people around me that I had not learned in my own culture. I learned to look for what good things God was already doing in a person’s life and in their culture. I learned to affirm those good things. Of course every culture has it’s light side and dark side, including my own. Now as I look back on those early years I think it was arrogant and naive to believe I had all the answers. Is it possible that Christians are hoarding Jesus? Saying and teaching that the way I interpret his life and teaching is the only way seems a bit narrow and exclusive.  As if I know all the mysteries of Christ who died for the sin of the world, the very same who is reconciling all things, all people, all creation to himself. I do believe those points. I just don’t pretend to know what they mean exactly or how it will happen.

Here in the form of a poem are some reflections from Mark 9:38 – 41 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me…”

Here, the path is wide

The door flung open

Us and them dismantled 

Here, we celebrate 

Our commonality – our humanity

See the goodness in each other 

Here, the hoarding of Jesus

Is not allowed

Trust the outcome 

To the one true judge

Of all motives, all character

Here we love and respect

We build up and affirm

The God given love

In one another

© Julie Clark 2020

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, growth, Love, Paths, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blooms and Thorns

Blooms and thorns

Outside my window

Growing on the same branch

Wheat and weeds

Outside my door

Seeds blowing on the same wind

Which will I choose to focus my attention

Who do I want to be

Do I want to be kind and loving

Or indifferent and uncaring

All this growing together

In our hearts

In our world

Intertwined

The world turns

Seasons change

What will we see

In the next season

After this pandemic

It seems we get a restart

Will we be a better world

Will we be better people

Or doom ourselves

Once again

I have read

Love triumphs evil

Light pushes out the darkness

Good wins over injustice

Shall we join

This hard work

Turn the soil and plant

The good seeds

Turn our weapons

Into plows

Our despair

Into faith and good deeds

Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, Lent, Love, Paths, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watching and Waiting

Sorrow follows close

To shroud me

When my gaze 

On love wavers

The impossibilities

Of hope

Too much to hold onto

At times

When justice and peace

Slip away

In a mudslide


What I cannot see

Calls me 

To look closer


Do you see the courageous ones 

who faced

Down their fear

The generous ones who share

What once they hoarded

Do you see

The peacemakers plowing fields

 with what once

were weapons

The trusting ones letting go 

Of all they thought

They needed to control


Change is happening

In incremental steps

Think of what happens

With seeds

Or yeast

Explosion of life

About to happen 

All around us

Keep doing good

And growing 

Into the person

You are and truly want to be

© Julie Clark 2019

Categories: Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Love, Poetry | 2 Comments

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