Monday, December 26, 2011

the baby

I understood it all the moment I saw her,
looking like the Evil Emperor from Star Wars,
warily blinking at the world.

The sudden punch to the belly,
a power hit of joy, awe
and fierce fighting fire.

My first thought, "she's beautiful"
very closely followed by my second,
"if anyone hurts her, I'll kill them!"


She's not even my child,
she's just my niece,
but she was small, squishy and defenceless.

And something more...

She was a child, a baby.
Not just a symbol,
but the very essence of all that is important
and precious
and vulnerable in this world.

How could you let Him come like that?

The joy of seeing Him born, crushingly overshadowed
by the shit and blood and stench of His death.

I feel sick
and then

Friday, December 23, 2011

babel's verbal bricolage

Have yourself a melancholy Christmas,
let your heart be stone.
From now on your troubles will be
on your mind!
Yes have yourself a melancholy Christmas now.

Hark! The drunken uncle sings,
blast Nauru and kill the chinks.
Heat on earth, and Cooper's mild,
Aunt Dot won't be reconciled.

Joyful all ye 'lations rise,
join the triumph, eat the pies.
With th' angelic host proclaim,
Dudley's dead, it is a shame.

Hark! The drunken uncle sings,
glory to roast turkey wings.

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie.
Above thy automated sleep,
fake snow falls fill the sky.

Mechanical street choirs
all make a tinny sound,
the English look is rather grand,
but odd considering Palestine...

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
thou totem to depression.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
hear now my sad confession.
I always want to gather round,
with family to hear the sound
of something more than Christmas trees,
cheap presents and fake niceties.

Dear Jesus, please please please help me to hear you above the din!

Help me when I'm sad about other things that you gave us all the most incredible gift.

And help me when I'm happy about that awesome vegetable curler I hope I'm getting, or my new icecream maker, or what I believe will be a very good book, help me then not to forget you either. Help me remember that vegetable curlers will pass away, but your words will never pass away. Help me to remember that as the sun rises and the sun set, your unfailing love surrounds me.

Help me to remember after I stop feeling sad about my first Spinster-Alone-With-Parents Christmas, you've got some really exciting, challenging blessings in store for me.

Help me to remember after I stop feeling tired from smiling as constantly as possible, being polite and patient all day, and not killing anybody that you will have a reward for me later.

Thankyou is such a wooden word to me at the moment, so I want to thankyou, but I don't want to say that...

I want to say that you give me a reason to get out of bed every day.

Whatever mood I'm in, whatever thoughts cross my mind, you walk along with me, talk it through, and pour your heavenly wisdom into my very empty bowl...

In those moments after I've stopped crying, or have just seen someone treated with injustice, or am suddenly struck by the universe sucking futility of plastic plants in the Macca's drive through, you are there.

In those moments when I'm laughing loudly at something very stupid, or am smiling smugly over a cake, or am suddenly struck by the astounding beauty of the clouds next to the highway, you are there.

Thankyou doesn't cover it...


Amen :-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

o come

O come all ye baleful,
joyless and defeated.
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and ignore Him,
born the King of angels.

O come let us deplore Him.
O come let's overlook Him.
O come let us deform Him,
Christ, the Lord.

God of God, light of light.
Lo! He abhors all Platonic dualism.
Very God, begotten, not created.

O come let us deplore Him.
O come let's overlook Him.
O come let us deform Him,
Christ, the Lord.

Sing, in-store angels,
sing of your vacations.
Sing, all ye members of the discount pool.
Glory to God, bringer of the pudding.

O come let us deplore Him.
O come let's overlook Him.
O come let us deform Him,
Christ, the Lord.

Yea, Lord we greet thee,
born this happy morning.
Jesus, arrived just in time for tea.
Word of the Father, followed by the Queen.

O come let us deplore Him. 
O come let's overlook Him. 
O come let us deform Him, 
Christ, the Lord. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I shouldn't be surprised that toothache reveals the barely-hidden evil in me.

How many of us, your 'greatest' creation, fall at the slightest twinge in the gums?

But we do. 
We fall and fall and fall, 
for soft flesh, 
greener grass, 
nicer houses,
and the removal of any discomfort.

My impotent rage at my pain rises and crashes against the facade of my civility.

I begin to wonder about Hitler's dental care. Did Mussolini have stomach ulcers? Did Pol Pot have a problem with his knee?

My energy is spread too thinly between the pain and the polite. I can't be a Christian and have toothache!

How would I cope with martyrdom?!

Fortunately I haven't reached the nuclear-brinkmanship/trade-off part of this prayer yet, where I start promising good behaviour in exchange for pain relief. I hope I'm never mad enough or scared enough to do that. I'm relieved when I do occasionally grasp the truth that you are not the Trunchbull or a disgruntled Grandmother who bribes children with sweets (especially unhelpful in my state!). I'm glad that you're not just some giant mathematician in the sky, weighing good against bad and compensating accordingly. You're much more lavish than that, and I thank you for it!

Having said that, I've also not reached the nuclear brink of visiting the dentist! Unfortunately, dental is not on Medicare...

Instead, I shall summon every remaining shred of self-control to say, 'thy kingdom come, thy will be done' and hope as strongly as possible that your kingdom includes free national healthcare and your will is for everyone's wisdom teeth to grow peacefully!


(Alright, I'm willing to grant your divine will might include a few other things, but seriously, I'm putting in a vote for pain free teething in the new creation!!)

Monday, December 5, 2011


As we drove from Orange to Molong, the sun finally set.

Dusk didn't fall, but rather folded itself around the gentle slopes and sinuous valleys of the central tablelands.

Every scent heightened as the wind dropped, in solemn acknowledgement of the on-coming night.

The sweet, warm smell of cattle began to seep through into the car, mingled with the more herbaceous aroma of roadside daisies, crops and weeds. Somewhere near the top of this rich, comforting, home-like bouquet was the woolly smell of lanolin as a scattering of sheep lay them down to rest.

The lights of the city had long faded, and at last, familiar stars began to replace them. At my right side as I drove, a nameless constellation pricked out its place in the blanket of the night, and I recalled its presence at the bedroom windows of my past, a fixed point of reflection as I fell asleep. That rocket-like shape had peered at me from afar for so many years, but recently, I had lost sight of it, as it was replaced for a decade by kilometres and kilometres of suburbs, sparkling into distance, meeting the shining centrepoints of the city.

To think I had worried I would not find new places to go and sit and be!

How strange that I had looked ahead with regret to the loss of my quiet bay in the harbour, not for its rough beauty alone, but because I feared it could never be replaced with any other equal prospects to calm the soul and soothe the mind.

So many anxieties have crowded in these past few weeks, at the very least stalking me on the dream-trails if not in waking life. To be torn apart by my own hand from my quiet bay was bad enough, but to also be separated from friends old and new, the comfort of their presence assuring me of their love, this rift has opened up an ocean of inner agony.

But you will comfort and walk with me. You are always with me. Your rod and your staff. You will graciously provide everything, as you already have. You know my needs, you love me, and you desire good things for me.

You put those stars there loooooooooong ago, and they will guide me in the darkest night.

I just needed to see them again, and be reminded.

Monday, November 28, 2011

walking to school

Armidale, June, 1997.

I, the frightened child,
stand gazing at the frosty mist
escaping from my mouth with every breath.

Though it hangs in space,
suddenly substantial,
I feel my self to be
the nothingness of vapour.
My breath makes a mark where I do not,
then fades.

I am unable to move forward or backward,
but instead I freeze also,
like the grass, the leaves,
the air around me.

I glance up the hill through the tunnel of trees.
I glance back down the hill, toward home,
my eyes sliding sideways, secretly,
not wanting to admit
I don't want to move in either direction.

The street is very quiet,
only the occasional bird wastes warmth on calling out
to a friend,
or a worm.

I am alone on the path.

'How long can I stay here?' I wonder,
lost in a vacuum of time between home and school.

The path obviously doesn't contain much interest in itself,
but I am tantalised, hypnotised, by the possibility
of sitting,
not stirring,
freezing into the background,
until the school day is over,
and I've run out of reasons not to go home.

Monday, November 21, 2011

emotional werewolf

What the hell am I doing?

I, a person who's always used routine and busyness to create the illusion for myself that my life has meaning and value: I am about to embark on a year of no routine, and worse, intentional lack of busyness.

How will I not break apart, when these props of my value disappear?

The stress of the prospect alone is causing restless nights full of violent dreams, and the return of sobbing, 2am breakdowns, which I'd mercifully had a solid two months peace from. Apparently the idea itself is enough to transform me back into my emotional werewolf self... What will the reality do?

What the hell am I doing??!!!

I, a person who's always struggled to express in writing what I can apparently describe eloquently in speech am dedicating a year not to talking, but to writing; trying to nail the jelly to the wall and then, worse, expose it to public criticism!

How am I going to survive spending every day kicking an empty can around the concrete back-yard of my disappointing incompetence?

The stress of the prospect alone has increased my already troublesome persuasion for procrastination, as usual making an impossible Everest of the 'simple' tasks of cleaning and packing my possessions. How on earth will I complete anything next year if I can't move house now?

As I lay here crying, provoked by these questions into a storm of anxious, desperate tears, I apologised to you for being sad. It felt rude, ungrateful, improper and selfish...

I guess that paints you as some sort of narky, unloving, 1950s male stereotype who is demanding I keep my chin up and stop crying, frustrated by my lack of appreciation for all the work you do out of the house on my behalf...

Nothing of that portrait is true...

But as my cheek grew clammy from summer humidity plus puddle-o-tears, and my inner self grew hairier and hairier and began to howl at the moon, you kept insisting, "since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life".*

But that reassuring attempt to tame my inner werewolf with an understanding whisper only made it worse again! It is true then that I'm selfish, ungrateful, improper and rude to bemoan my misunderstanding, mistrust, misgivings, because I'm apparently precious and honoured, but stubbornly, illogically refuse to accept it!

And so we reach a familiar impasse, You and I...

All the historical certainty of your past actions: all your promised future actions and their empirically predictable strong likelihood may satisfy the anxieties and demands of modernist rationality, but those historical certainties and statistical probabilities fail to staunch the gaping wound of my more post-modern existential angst. My psycho-spiritual frailties are unfortunately exacerbated by my po-mo suspicion of power, grand promises and happy endings... It's not buying what you're selling...

And all the words you could muster, all the promises, declarations, commands, instructions, reassurances and encouragements bounce off the perverse psychological armour my damaged brain has forged for itself, apparently in an attempt to protect me from the slings and arrows of the possibility of failed love... My armour will not allow me to accept these words of kindness and restoration...

In brief, these words of yours, for now, don't stop me crying.

I need hugs, sunrises and prayer for that...

I needed to explain all this to you, distance myself from it, observe it, analyse it, hand it to you, so that I could calm down and re-focus...

And that's really helped.

I needed to see again the fantasy and the reality, so I could have a hope of separating the two...

Thankyou for providing for my needs, for space, time and capacity to pray. Please help me to remember all the other times too: the hugs, the answers, and your promise that the sun will always rise and banish the moon.

And please help me walk with you into whatever valley, shadow-of-death or otherwise, re-casting myself now no longer in the role of werewolf, but instead of recalcitrant, stupid, small, shorn, knock-kneed, wolf-vulnerable sheep...


*Isaiah 43:4

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I wanna go home!
I want to sit on my parent's couch
with a cup of tea
and have a long conversation with my sister.

I want to make dinner with Mum,
say grace with Dad,
and float around in our ool with no p in it,
possibly attempting to joke drown my brother.

I want to feel the sense of comfortable assurance
home brings.
There's somewhere I belong,
even when other places, other spaces fail me.

But you've asked me to be, commanded me to be,
made me,
an alien, a stranger,
a wanderer here.

You've called me to have a relentless desire
for the quiet rest of my true home.

But it's hard to live in unfulfilled desire.
Not just because it feels so unreal most of the time,
but because of my crippling doubt
that even there, there's really no place for me.

It'll be heaven with no Jo in it.
Home, but not mine.

I fear I'll never find rest
from my anxious, desert wanderings...

Monday, November 14, 2011


Distance has ever been our fickle frenemy.
She beckons us seductively
with promise of exotic islands,
rolling deserts, ancient architecture and sparkling seas.
An escape, a fresh perspective,
a new horizon.

But then she destroys,
with estrangement,
poor communication,
isolation and despair.

We discover to our surprise
and sometimes shame,
that distance lurks
across the whole four feet
of a double bed.

She loiters awkwardly between
strangers at a church supper,
and hovers between friend/not-friends/maybe-more-than/friends?

Distance arrives in unexpected places,
and stretches our comfort to its limit.

But our distance from you...
She's another enemy altogether!

Why are you so far from saving me?
Why do you not come near to rescue me?

Why must we be separated
by the echoing corners of empty rooves?
By the resounding silence in closed cathedrals?
Wandering alone in the cool of the morning...

Come close.
Cover distance,
extinguish her,
conquer her.
Draw us to yourself.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

resurrection storm

I offer to you my words of meditation on your greatness, my thankfulness for your rescue from the eye of the storm.


New washed, the earth lies silent.
New born, she shines,
still glistening from the womb.

Raw dawn spreads lambent stillness,
waking world waits life,
stirring from the tomb.


Your words.
Psalm 107:25-30 New International Version (with small changes for rhythm)

For He spoke and stirred up a tempest,
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens
and sank back down to the depths.
In their peril, their courage melted away.

The reeled and staggered like drunkards,
they were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm with a whisper,
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when the storm grew calm,
and He guided them to their desired haven.

Monday, November 7, 2011

this morning I

I know sharing the prayer below subverts the conclusion of my angst.

But that subversion is the reason I'm sharing it with you in front of everybody.

So many missionaries I know talk about spiritual warfare. And it's said the best thing to do is to drag all the evil out in the open, into the light of day, where we can see it for what it is and laugh at it.

Not that laughter is exactly the response I'm looking for at the moment!

But I'm dragging the evil out in the open for you to examine and destroy...

This morning I don't know why to put clothes on.
What's the point of hanging clothes of this ugly carcass?
I could wear a clown suit and it would be more appropriate!
Oh look. I am wearing a clown suit! My taste is horrible...

This morning I don't know why to eat breakfast.
Why feed this stupid body?
What's the point of chew, chew, chew, swallow
when the food turns to cardboard in my mouth,
and all I'm doing is keeping myself alive
so I'll be able to have another mouthful of cardboard.

This morning I don't know why to leave the house.
What's the point of leaving the house,
when I know I'm just going to come back again.
When the reason I leave is stupid.
All that's going to happen is stupid conversations,
misunderstandings and disappointment.

This morning I don't know why to drive safely.
What's the point of driving safely? Apart from not killing all the other people...
No one else looks where they're going.
Look! That woman's eating cereal and texting!
It'd be much better to go screamingly fast, spin around the corners and get somewhere.
Far away.

This morning I don't know why I should ever write anything again.
I express myself so poorly!
But that's all my ideas deserve.
They're just the derivative ravings of a madwoman.

This morning I don't know why.

Friday, November 4, 2011

at the bus stop

Just thought you might like my public transport composition.

After all, you did mention that you like new songs (Psalm 96:1), and I guess this could be sung. You also didn't say what they have to be about, soooooo, yeah... I think its three stanzas of ionic major quaternary dimeter of masculine rhyming couplets... I think!

Also, thanks heaps for beautiful afternoon for wandering through the parks, and also for all the help this morning/week/month with my work. Especially thankyou for all those other people who prayed, what a blessing. Love you!

Bearded men in bright pink glasses.
Slutty girls with pumpkin arses
poking out of short, white skirts.
Slender boys in slender shirts.

Glamour girls in floral dresses,
strappy sandals, 'careless' tresses.
City boys sport gelled up hair,
homeless men sport ragged stares.

All these people at my stop,
heading out to drink and shop,
cast a sidelong glance at me?!
Checking out my pedigree??!!

How shocking!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Ruba'iyat

Come, wash your feet, let all your sinful stains,
be washed by other's tears, by other's pains.
Warm, wounded hands will pour from heaven's bowl
sweet drops of blood which fall, soft-kissing rains.


Reclining at rich feast in heavenly rest,
gold skies resound with song, "Our God be blessed!
Though Adam's bite turned ashen in the mouth,
our Saviour's bread turns bitter taste to best!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do Not Be Afraid *bullshit cough*

"Do not be afraid" the angel said. 
Then handed Mary an AK47, 
a pack of bullets
and a steak for the dogs. 

"Do not be afraid" the angel said. 
Then beat Zechariah unconscious, 
and mute. 
So he didn't have to endure
9 months of pregnancy, 
30-odd years of parenting,
and the hideous conclusion
of his son's bloody death. 

"Do not be afraid" the angel said. 
Then gave Sarah an open womb, 
a good laugh, 
and the right to rape a slave girl. 

"Do not be afraid" the angel said. 
Then pulled Gideon out of his hole, 
gave him a pep talk
and let him loose
with a band of thirsty murderers. 

"Do not be afraid" the angel says. 
And the strangest consequences always follow. 

"Do not be afraid,
for I am with you says the Lord". 
Well you would know, 
this was all your idea in the first place. 

Do not be afraid, 
because like following orders
when you're a Private,
with a particularly thick-necked, vocal Sergeant, 
there is an incentive. 

But it's more than just 
a desire to avoid
a punishment 
created to make best use of
old toothbrushes
and polished concrete floors. 

It's a chance, 
an invitation. 
To be part of something better, 
bigger, weirder, scarier, more exciting and confusing
than anything we could devise,
if you gave us a million keyboards and a million monkeys. 

We've stepped into the mad-house with you. 
On a mad-cap mission
to a mad-dening world.

So we will be afraid. 

Which is why you have to keep repeating yourself. 

Please do. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

To The Cyclist Who Swore At Me

I'm really sorry I bummed you out,
so badly you had to call me a f&%#ing idiot.

Hot sun,
crowded cars,
morning traffic.

I thought there'd be more gap
between me and the next car,
and less gap
between you and me,
one human being and another.

That space instead
would be filled,
with understanding,
and a shared grimace at the traffic.

But you exaggerated the space between
and filled it with hate.
Presumably on the assumption
that you were simply retaliating
to the same attitude from me,
with equal and therefore naturally justified force.

You lived like it's an eye for an eye world.
And I'm trying not to.
But I fail all the time.

So I cried.
Hot tears,
running down and filling my sunglasses.

I hadn't cried like that for a while.

The melting sunscreen stung my eyes,
perhaps the natural justice you looked for.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bless the wind

Why have I so often interpreted
frustration, disquiet and anger,
as lack of confidence,

When a bird pushes
her fine, frail fledgling,
from the patiently feathered nest,
she would feel I presume,
even if just in a
"pure evolutionary sense",
just at the
"biological instinct" level,
a terror and reluctance
at the sheer impossibility of her task.

The child she has nurtured,
fed with her own vomit,
now has to be kicked out
into the wide, wild world.
To test her strength against
fell winds,
rabid dogs,
and that heartless bitch, gravity.

She doubts not her flesh and blood,
but the universe she will descend into.
Rapidly, painfully,
expecting doubt, trial and despair,
and only the survival of the fittest.
Unless your wind opens her wings,
uplifts her,
carries her off,
on warm currents,
to a safe and happy haven.

Bless your wind.

Monday, October 10, 2011

on B's birthday

We few, we medicated few, 
dedicated to the fight for survival. 

We few, we suicidal few, 
who ponder death as others choose their salad. 

We few, we desperate few,
who don't admit it, because we don't want to be dramatic. 

A self-censoring response,
to minimalise or marginalise our pain. 
It feels so out of place, 
so difficult to be taken seriously, 
until we 'do something about it'. 

"Do you have a plan,
to harm yourself or others?"

Covered for insurance purposes. 

I'm a quick strategic thinker, 
I could develop a plan
to turn my nightmare visions into reality. 

But I don't. 

Because I don't need to. 

You sit on the lid, 
keeping that darkness inside the box. 
Not unleashing it on me. 

But I understand when the few, 
the medicated/un-medicated, 
decimated, hopelessly hopeful few do. 

We ask, 
do not hurt or betray us. 

Take our shattered hearts
and give us new, clean, whole ones. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011



I am so sick to death 
of disputes
false evidences
boring church services
limited ministries
petty people
facebook slurs
thoughtless repetition
thoughtless repetition
thoughtless repetition
thoughtless repetition
thoughtless repetition
stupid graspings after power
and crappy songs!

I despise myself
and the part I play
in this 

I hate the church!

And I know that for that 
I deserve to die...

Don't you hate it too

Just sometimes, 
when we're all being nasty to each other?

Just sometimes, 
when a pointless argument
wounds everyone in sight, 
needless collateral damage
to already dented egos?

Just sometimes, 
when we spend all our money, 
all our money, 
all our money,
on new paint and new programs?

I don't think you hate us
when we're just struggling to love each other.

When we've realised we could say hello,
go around and watch the footy,
maybe have a conversation in real life
instead of via email.

When do you hate us?

Friday, September 30, 2011


Won't it be good,
when everyone worships you,
and there's no strife any more
over which God to follow.

Won't it be good when we all acknowledge
and thank you for all your goodness to us,
living in the harmony so many of us desire,
when we're truly at one with nature,
because we're at one with you,
its maker.

John asked us to Imagine
all people living as one.

I rejoice that you are bringing us,
calling us to gather
round the tree of life,
with healing leaves...

And Yusuf and I won't have to fight any more...
That'll be good.

But we only won't be arguing
because he'll be gone...

And that is where my courage fails.

No Beatle, Bono, or Bon Jovi
ever ended a song for world peace
by proclaiming damnation.

No pop songs prophesy the establishment of righteousness
by the rooting out of all evil, rejection and dishonour.
Or if they do, it's about people 'over there'
instead of the ones in here...

Am I like a mistaken German,
loving Hitler?

You're not promising an Aryan paradise,
created by the extermination of all
destructive elements.

But there are many images
of gas chambers,
melting pots,
vats and floods of blood.

I think you promise resurrection
and restoration.

But there will be a charnel house for some...

What do I do with that?

I love you.
I love that picture of perfect peace.
I hope it will come.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I want to talk about Deborah Lord, 
and the difficult path you took her on, 
defying expectation,
social convention, 

Defying 'good Biblical scholarship',
systematic theology,
the pattern of all good things. 


How inappropriate was she?
Why did you put her there?
Was she as tortured 
as blessed Theresa
by mentors crying
"heresy bell!"
"The devil has sent you thus."

Was she annoyed 
by people constantly saying
she was only called upon
because none of the men stood up...?

Only, as though her gifts
and godliness
and courage
played no important part?!

Only, because of the failures of others
instead of maybe because you wished it so?
Designed her for it?
Equipped and blessed her?

Or was she fine with it all?
Content in you?
To serve and suffer and 
prophesy and judge and
Disposed of in whatever way you saw fit?

You know I'm a complete mess of contradiction, 
that I'm frustrated by not having things 
which I probably wouldn't want, 
with all the 21st century jealousy 
of a hapless consumer of
steak knives, aah bras and amazing gym equipment
that I will never use...

Calm the storm as you always do, 
tell the wind and the waves to SHUT UP!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I wish the lost were lost with you Lord. 

Like I am. 

Lost with you instead of wandering, rambling by themselves, 
or worse, 
gathered together in packs of foolishness, 
collections of of ignorance, 
led by the blind, 
going nowhere. 

I'm lost, but in you. 

I too suffer under blind leaders, 
guiding me nowhere, 
but you are always with me. 
At least in you, I stumble in darkness toward hope. 

I saw the moon beside a palm tree tonight, 
and thought it was the sun. 
Why do we call them the sun, 
the moon?
Why do we call Him the Spirit?
Is it a harkening back to the wind?

As I wander down dream trails, 
thought rails, 
spirals and snails, 
I know I'm not lost. 

You're with me. 



Friday, September 9, 2011

what a cliché

I know it's stupid.
That everyone's thought this before,
talked this before,
written this before.
You must get at least a little sick of it!

But I feel it at the moment...

It's the reason I shouldn't listen to Daydreamer by Adele
(beautiful singer, evil, evil song. Who could possibly inhabit that unreal expectation?!).
It's the reason I shouldn't watch Pride and Prejudice when I feel like this
(beautiful story, no delightful implications for Mary!).
It's the reason I shouldn't check facebook every thirty seconds
(beautiful community, no matter what people say, but every viewing only increases disappointment! The deserved frustrations of the village gossip when everyone's closed their doors for the night...).

So I know it's stupid...
But it's love!

I know it's boring by repetition,
but it's love!

It's discontented love.

It's the desire for love.

It's the feelings of love.

It's the reason I'm dissatisfied in you sometimes,
and the reason I don't want to be.

The Proclaimers sing that when you're in love, you're out of your mind.
That romantic love rots the brain.
They are so right!

Even when there's no one specific.
Even if the other person has no idea at all.
Or does and is embarrassed for you.
Or suspects but doesn't want you.
Even then, the brain rot can set in.

I'm sick of feeling like this,
because I don't want to resent you!
Or the life you give me.

But I can't help wishing,
and hoping,
and praying,
that that person will turn and know.
That that person will realise, or confess, or acknowledge...

Or any person! Anyone...

But I know that my struggling in itself pleases you.
That by inviting you in, and asking, and hoping,
I'm trusting.

So please help me to keep trusting you God.
And crying,
and not crying,
and not giving a rats,
and caring desperately about it,
because I want you to be involved in all of that.

And I want you to answer!


Love Jo.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

prayer for Dad

Hey Daddy,

remember that time we went fishing,
you, me and Dad,
up at Yamba,
and I got really excited cos I caught three fish on one line?
You've said you'll never forget it
and I'm like, "duh Dad, you're omniscient.

And do you remember that other time
when I was bullied at school
and I really just wanted you to come pick me up
so I didn't have to stay there any longer
but you have no physical arms,
so it was kind of a long wait...

I hid in a thicket for a while...

From memory...

And remember that other other time
when I was sinking into how totally crap it is
that so many people seem to die alone in jail.
I think we'd had one too many Voice Of The Martyrs presentations at youth-group or something.
Not that you ever can have too many of those,
but turns out staring at one aspect of a problem for too long distorts the whole picture...
I wanted you to fix that too.
And I remember you saying,
"I'll get right onto it!"
And I was confused,
because I thought you sounded a bit too much like a sitcom Dad all of a sudden.

But I remember heaps of other times as well
where everything felt pretty good.
We were singing in church together,
or pondering the state of the universe on long car trips.
You've never been too distracted to listen to my long and glorious internal rants
about obscure theological subjects,
where I twist and turn so many times,
change opinions,
go back over old ground.

We can sit and chat for hours,
and I've always really appreciated that.

Just like my human father,
you're also really good at returning to a subject
after a five year break in the conversation,
without blinking an eye,
as though we talked about it yesterday.
I love that about you both.
It shows you understand my mind,
and that you value our relationship.
I've really really needed that at times.

I can talk to you when there's no one else there to listen,
no one else who can be bothered.
That's pretty awesome.

I hope I don't only turn to you in desperation.
I don't think so, but I don't want to do that.

I mean, it's hard sometimes to bridge the gap,
and just spend quality time with each other
when there's no particular reason to hang out together.
Sometimes it's just hard to communicate...

But just like with human Dad,
I really want to talk!
I don't want you to just be a bill-payer,
a problem-solver,
a house-mover,
a person I only call when I want something done,
or someone to tell me I'm pretty.

Not that human Dad is super on the ball with that last one either!
But I think I've come to accept it's cos he doesn't really care about it,
and loves me anyway.


Kind of everything you look for in a good father.

Thanks Dad.


(Just fyi, this is totally an unashamed tribute to Fathers on Father's Day, especially mine. Love you Dad.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

never give up, never surrender.

"That is why we never give up.
Though our bodies are dying, 
our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are small
and won't last very long.
Yet they produce for us 
a glory that vastly outweighs them
and will last forever!
So we don't look at the troubles 
we can see now; 
rather, we fix our gaze 
on things that cannot be seen."*

It seems like a bizarre solution, God;
to stare into the distance at what we can't even see, 
like lunatics dancing in an Elysian field, 
when they're actually standing in the middle of a busy highway
about to get slammed by a semi. 

It seems like a hopeless solution, God;
to regard our present troubles as small and fleeting, 
when the fear and dread and weight of them 
far outweighs the phantasmagorical mirage of future glory.

It seems like a pointless solution, God;
to never give up though our bodies are dying, 
a hopeless, helpless battle we cannot win. 
A solution that feels ineffective against the current situation. 

We cry out to you in desperate hope. 

I pray for us all that it is not a 
a feeble
for last minute items 
at the express checkout. 

I pray for us instead
that it is a 
that worthily honours
your righteous, 
perfect and 
loving self. 

I pray for firm resolve,
steadfast love,
faithful endurance, 
quiet joy
perfect peace.


*2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT.