September Sunday


As I arranged September flowers in purple vases
with the heavy sweet nectar of sunflower, marigold, cosmos
clinging to my hands
I marveled at the riotous beauty
of yellow, orange, magenta, lavender
gifts from the Creator
my privilege to enjoy.
And I thought
how I invited you again
but you didn’t show
and my welling tears
streaked hot with disappointment.
Do you not worship
even in autumn’s glory?
You and I, who shared
wordless understanding
better than anyone else—
now we do not share faith
and perhaps we never did.
When I speak of Him
you boil with rage.
We tried compromise:
shopping, sushi, cocktails
all on the surface.
But my deep ache persists underneath.
You refuse to envision
how I crawl into the lap of the unseen Abba
and find peace and security in his arms.
Jehovah-shammah never abandons.
Though we share soul caverns,
deep fissures and fault lines
crying out for restoration
our healing journeys will differ.
Still I fear for you going alone.
I see the thorny cares of your world:
your plush interiors
your bright beads and baubles
your cheap comfort
and I worry for your choked soul.
I wish you could know this:
You must stoop to see him.
If you seek the Truth
you will understand
He is far more gracious
than you can imagine.
I hope and pray
someday we will share
our heavenly Father.
Until then days of grief
mingle with moments of hope
like autumn’s chill
that frosts brilliant leaves.



When I drive my husband’s truck
I select the Jamey Johnson CD
against my better judgment
so unlike my regular Christian fare.
Yet I choose to slip inside his sorrow.
I’ve listened often enough
to hear the devil’s lies
in my favorite songs on this bitter album.
The lie that Jesus turned his back on him
in a Southern Baptist parking lot
where he routinely got high.
The lie that no one cares where he’s been
once the fame, money, and glory
played out.
The lie that no one understands
his lonesome song.
Perhaps this is his own doing and undoing.
Perhaps he hides his pain away
where no one can see.
Perhaps he bears consequences
like the prodigal son in a foreign pigpen.
I blast the song
until the dash trembles and my ears ring.
As the bass line climbs
I slip back into the darkness
when I believed
no one understood
no one cared
not even God.
Then I used sleep and food as my elixir
not unlike his whiskey, women, and cocaine.
He’s wrong—I understand and sing along
to the words to a song nobody wrote.
Can’t nobody sing along.

I’m drawn to his mournful wail
like a mother to her baby’s cries
wanting to comfort him
wanting to comfort my old self
with the truth:
You’re not alone!
But I only knew that truth
once I turned back to my Father.
When I step out of the truck
with the song resounding in my head
I whisper a prayer of thanks
for my deliverance
and prayers of comfort
for the lonely.