The Mother’s Tenderness

I have been caught in my Mother’s tenderness.
She sees my stress and soothes my forehead.
She knows my turmoil and hugs me close.
She hears my broken prayers and murmurs her love.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow

of death
of pain
of angst
of brokenness
of disappointment
of fear
and anger
and “why me?”
and self-pity
and bitterness
and loss
and yearning
my Mother is with me.

She brushes my hair and holds my hand and kisses my cheek.
Surely mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, for
I am caught in my Mother’s tenderness.

Praying through Micah 4:1-5

In the days to come,
will you stretch out your hand and inspire your people,
Spirit of the Living God?
Will you raise up prophets with tongues of fire
to denounce the crimes of war and of hatred,
to protest the lukewarm tolerance of discrimination?
(And will those prophets be us?)
Spirit of the Living God,
will you shake us from our slumbers
with visions of the work that is needed,
the sweat and labor that are necessary
to turn swords into plowshares
(guns, too, and maybe hummers)?
And after the plows have turned the soil,
will you give us courage to melt the metal again,
this time into bells:
huge, loud, clanging bells that we will ring unceasingly
until the harvest of justice is reaped.
Will you, Spirit of the Living God,
in the days to come?

What Are Your Six Words?

Recently I bought a new book (oh how I love books!) entitled, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, edited by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser (Harper 2008, 2nd edition). The concept of the book is simple: Can you convey your life story using only six words? The challenge was given to people from many walks of life, women and men, old and young, famous and not-so-famous, and the results were collected in Not Quite What I Was Planning. Here are two examples from the book: “Found true love. Married someone else.” and “Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult.” Simple. Powerful.

What would you say or write about yourself if this challenge came to you? Would you look backward and encapsulate your past in those six words? Would you reflect on your life today, the people you love, the significant challenges, the emotion of the moment? Or would you press forward, looking to the future and using your six allotted words to outline your hopes and dreams?

The above paragraphs are an excerpt of my letter in Grace UCC’s most recent Shalom newsletter. But now I want to take the letter in a different direction and see if we can share our own six-word memoirs here! Here’s mine, and–because I know it sounds heretical–I’ll explain below:


Lol. “Busier than Jesus” comes from an actual conversation in Sunday school a few weeks ago. I was teaching the kids’ class, and my two children were the only ones in attendance. Trying to give background to the gospel story, I talked about how Jesus would sneak out early in the morning to pray and find some quiet, after spending his days swamped by the crowds. Somewhere in the midst of our discussion, my son remarked (tongue-in-cheek) that my work as a pastor makes me busier than Jesus. 🙂 From the mouths of babes…

So, what’s your six-word memoir? It’s a risk, I realize, to be candid in front of others, even online, even in only six words. Not to mention, it’s a challenge to write a six-word memoir! Take some time, think about it, jot down some ideas. Anyone willing to post a comment and share her/his memoir?