Saturday, June 29, 2013

In Spite of Everything

In spite of everything, God
is still in charge.
I mean--He's there.
He sees all, knows all.
He's engaged in a great civil war
testing whether mercy
trumps justice.

In spite of everything, I
don't blame Him.
Not for wars, pestilence,
hate, loss, pain.
Nor all the things that bring down
And life.

In spite of everything, He
loves me.
This . . . I know.
I've seen it.
Heard it.
Felt it
deep in the marrow
of my bones.

In spite of everything, Love
will triumph over evil, mercy
will triumph over justice.
The lame will walk,
The blind will see.
And we.
In spite of everything.

I wrote this a few days ago (June 25th) during an early morning QuickWrite session with Linda Rief, the writing mentor at this year's Boothbay Literacy Retreat in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  I had the privilege of attending this retreat for the first time and I am already needing to go back.  Amazing.  That's the word that kept coming to my lips.  The word I kept rejecting as not adequate, not enough.  What else is there, though?  What word can you use to describe 5 days of "sitting among greatness," as one participant tweeted?

During these five days, we were quite literally listening to legends, writing beside game-changers, soaking up energy from cutting edge learners, thinkers, teachers, writers.  Maybe the word I should use is lucky.  I was so lucky to be there.  Maybe the word I should use is inspired.  I was inspired and excited to go back to my classroom, my kids.  Maybe the word I should use is again.  I need to do this again and again.

The poem comes from a line in Edward Hirsch's poem "In spite of everything, the stars."  The idea of a QuickWrite is to read a short poem, then take a line that speaks to you and use that as the jumping off point for 90 seconds of your own writing.  Any kind of writing, just continual writing for 90 seconds.  This was Tuesday's poem.  Unedited, just as I wrote it.

It surprised me that I could write something that quickly and be OK with sharing it with others...because that's the next step:  sharing.  The only thing that made that part doable is that everyone else had to do it, too.  Sitting there listening to what others did was fascinating--that each one could get something completely different from the same poem.  That's the beauty of the QuickWrite.  It's quick, it's uncensored, it's honest.  And so many times amazing.  There's that word again :)

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