Tag Archives: friendship

that’s a gift

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To stop wondering
if what you have to say
is valid, acceptable, reasonable, or appropriate:

That’s a gift.

And to say something
because you need someone who knows you
to hear it
and accept it
and after hearing it reply to you
saying

“I hear you”

without solving it
without explaining it
without answering it:

That’s telling the truth.

And the gift and the telling the truth together:

That’s friendship on a Sunday night
over bourbon and crying babies.

And it’s a sign that the kingdom of heaven is real.

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

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almost there. almost enough.

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My fingers have been afraid to push down on these keys. I’m not sure what I have to say or whether it’s worth saying. I’ve been in the world of everyone else, fighting to make sense of the day to day and hoping that every now and then something of meaning squeezes out of it. Paperwork is usually late, dinners are cut short, stories aren’t completely told. And while I feel like I almost have something to write, it seems like it’s a little short of worthwhile.

But in each of those moments, I still know something magical has happened. I’ve met a buddy for a beer or a friend for a coffee. We’ve eaten too many chips in queso or had too many mozzarella sticks. But we’ve been offering rounds of “me too” and “yes, exactly” in the meantime. We share the same anger at the same institutions, the same grieving around the same situations, and the same hopefulness toward the same possibilities.

And it only feels almost there. Almost enough to write home about. Almost enough to remember. Almost enough to be worth reminding others that something worthwhile comes along every now and then. But it always seems just short, so I’ve chosen not to write it down. In the last week, though, those moments of almost have seemed just enough to be worth it. The moments that fall a little short of important seem very important. The conversations that fall a little short of profound seem very profound.

And it leaves me wondering if it’s not worthwhile moments I’m waiting on to write about, but perhaps I have forgotten what moments are worthwhile after all.

So, fingers to the keys and eyes on the horizon. I’m doing my best to pay attention. At least, that’s what I intend to do.

djordan
Pine Tree

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when time sticks together

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He stood closely to the base of the towering tree, him at about three and a half feet tall. His father was on the phone in the front yard for some privacy, but just called him over to see. After hurling my luggage into the trunk of their car so they could deliver me to the airport, I walked over to see what had caught the attention of both boys, now studying the bark.

All three of our faces now––nearly pressing into the tree’s trunk––were studying the creatures. At first glance, it was the same old bark towering up into the leaves as I had likely stood staring at over twenty-five years ago in that same yard. My mysterious and celebrated great, great-aunts likely then inside the house speaking poetry or reading Spanish and cooking spaghetti sauce. The one gracefully and quietly grinning as the other loudly laughed, the elastic waistline of her skirt bouncing up and down even with her navel where it rested.

Leaning in closer, the bark was a layer of cicadas woven golden-brown into a pattern mimicking wood chips. I’ve heard them for days now outside, but had not registered the source until this very moment. I flashed back to my own front yard over twenty-five years ago. Standing with my brother and another neighbor on the wooden ledges that formed the flower box squaring out the trunk of a towering oak just outside my bedroom window. We were filling a gallon-sized glass jar with cicadas that morning. I don’t know if we finished or what was done with our collection, but I remember that moment all those years ago as crisply as I remember this morning in my own front yard under the shadows of my great, great-aunts’ tree.

One white cicada stood in the middle of all the other golden brown creatures climbing around the curved sides of the tree. It stood out now boldly, or was now finally noticed to be standing out boldly.

The father is now back across the yard for his phone call, the son is now being directed by his mother back into his carseat rather than the road, and I’m now scanning through a mental list of things not to be forgotten before weeks away from home.

For a moment there, though, decades worth of time stuck together and I was reminded to look and see.

djordan
London

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a faint sound of something

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I could hear it
our shoes making a shoddy moon
on the fifteenth floor looking out over the city.

I can always hear the other
the sound of killing
shooting, the ringing of it
the sound of racism
silence, the subtlety of it
the sound of oppression
cash registers, the shininess of it
the sound of isolation
weeping, the breath-stealing nature of it

I can always hear the paranoia in the shadows of the other
I can always hear the anger in the panicky crisis
I can always hear the hopelessness in the news banner
flashing across the bottom of the screen

but there
moon-shaped shoes filled with
women and men now family and friend
the best and true of both
standing up and holding hands in prayer
as if holding hands kept us from blowing down
or blowing apart
or blowing away

thy kingdom come
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven

thy kingdom come
to the ringing
to the subtlety
to the shininess
to the breath-stealing

and make things whole
we asked.

And it was in that moment
over and above and beyond and inside and all around
I could hear the faint sound of something
a symphony of some kind
a little more melodious
a little more beautiful
a little more free

I could hear a faint sound of something
–a symphony of some kind–
and it sounded like hope.

djordan
Rosemary Beach

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the chime of the bells

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I heard the sound of the dog lapping water from the kiddie pool in my back yard.
The kiddie pool I get in when I get home from work on the days I actually get home from work.
I heard the sound of the dog lapping water from the kiddie pool in my back yard,
and then I heard the chime of the bells across the street from the Presbyterian bell tower,
the one I imagine when reading Buechner’s sermon, “The Clown in the Belfry,”
and then I clinked the ice cubes against the edges of my glass and returned to the book
to read the academy’s take of disaster and trauma in communities,
and the promise of resilience and growth and hope
in the face of destruction and death and doom.

And it was silent for a moment.

I was struck with the promise of life
as I was struck again today,
holding a child in my lap as the words of the New Testament were read aloud
by people believing and
people wanting to believe and
people who are furious they ever believed at all.

But I was struck with the promise of life today
holding a child in my lap as the words of the Lord were read aloud
prayed aloud
sung aloud
questioned aloud

And I remembered the lapping of the water in the kiddie pool,
And I remembered the workday filled with stories of life and loss and love and heartache
And I remembered the child in my lap who was waited on and prayed for
And I remembered the dinner with a new friend asking the same questions
And I remembered the old friend reminding me of my answers
And I remembered the everyday nature of the moments when
all promise and reminder of the kingdom crashes in unannounced

And I heard the chime of the bells across the street from the Presbyterian bell tower,
and the lapping of the dog from the kiddie pool,
and the promise and the boldness of the prayer on
mornings when I believe it and
mornings when I d0n’t
was echoed louder than all the hymns I’ve heard this month:

As our Father taught us, we are bold to pray:

Your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

djordan
Pine Tree

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to travel alone

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To travel alone out of state for several days is a certain kind of luxury. Yes. There is training all day long in a stale training room that could be identical to the one in your own office basement, but then training ends a few minutes earlier than planned. You now find yourself anonymous in a new city with new people and a new zeitgeist you’ve never been wrapped up in before.

And to travel alone means you don’t feel guilty, finally, to have your headphones blaring music which you are probably humming or badly singing harmonies to just under your breath to make it even worse. So you are walking down streets and looking in windows and in people’s eyes with a soundtrack of your favorite music pretending as if, since they will not see you again, that they don’t see you staring at them now. While you hum or sing badly just under your breath.

And then to travel alone means you pull up a chair and sit at the bar top with a book and more time than you remembering having in the last several weeks with nothing planned or pushing in on it from every angle. So you pull out the book, order a drink and maybe an appetizer, and then you sit and watch the people lining the rest of the dimly lit bar top, the people scattered at low, round tables along the edges of the restaurant, the people walking hand in hand down the sidewalk who may or may not live there but you suspect they do.

And suddenly, you begin to see something very familiar in this out-of-state place at this out-of-state bar top as this anonymous observer. You begin to see couples and groups and buddies and girlfriends laughing or bitching or crying or pontificating, and you see yourself and your friends at your tables in your restaurants on your streets. You see people passing plates and tasting each other’s drinks and it seems as though you belong because that’s what you do when you sit in your place with your people.

To travel alone out of state for several days, followed by your own soundtrack and land suddenly in the world of other humans, you ultimately find your own humanness. You find your friends and your enemies and your struggles and your hopes as you watch them pass the plates and share their glasses, and something feels oddly familiar. In the presence of the humanity of others, we find our anonymous selves at home. And at home, we find ourselves.

djordan
Lantern Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC

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prayer for a friend

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So I give thanks
for something there’s no way I could have earned
for something there’s no way I could deserve
but something I realize I cannot do without
people who listen well
people who challenge well
people who feed well
and toast well
and laugh well
and cry well
and even make the space
to witness well
as we learn the truth about ourselves
in the comfort of their presence.
And in reflection,
we know we cannot make it without them.
And so we pray for them that they experience
sometimes from us and often from many others
the same kind of listening, challenging,
feeding, toasting, laughing and crying,
and even that they may find others who will be witness
to their learning the truth about themselves.
We know the great peace and security they bring to us
that is surely a kind of kingdom peace and security that is from you,
and so we wish all of that
and ten fold
for them.
Amen.
djordan
Pine Tree
a grateful prayer for a certain friend

 

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just because

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every now and then
not because we earned it
or even because we asked for it
but just because
God knows what we need
when we wake up on Monday mornings,
we are given people
who make our minds wider
who make our hearts broader
who make our joys richer
who make our questions braver
and for those people
we give thanks on Monday mornings
when the real threat
is not to delve into the
wide-minded
broad-hearted
rich-joyed
brave-questioned
but is to choose not to delve into these things.
good friends
near or far
make us people of another kingdom
and every now and then
not because we earned it
or even because we asked for it
but just because God knows what we need
we wake up on Monday mornings
giving thanks for these people.
Amen
djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

 

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