from the earth you were birthed in violent trembles shock and awe propelling you out into a new place absent the molten warmth of the mother’s embrace. carved through time into a new thing called by ancient stirrings to return to the encircling warmth of love where ash and sky are one. Photo credit: Christine Valters Paintner, Abbey of the Arts Poem credit: Terri Stewart, inspired by Christine's photo
Mud washer machines, vacuum cleaners, cars in traffic driving to, driving from, frantic anxiety, tasks, no sleep cooking, worrying, the news footsteps sticking, swishing, squishing eww, gross, slime between toes flying up legs, splattering masking, treacherous ground settling, calming, wreckage falling separating earth, separating water debris from life, ashes born again silently, forming, rainbow of light swaying, dancing, twirling with joy embraced, kingdom come lover and beloved, ecstasy.
One of the classes I took last quarter is the History of Christian Spirituality. We started out by reading some source documents written about two early martyrs of the church, Felicity and Perpetua. These two women were from Northern Africa and gave their lives rather than renounce Christianity. Perpetua kept a diary while she was in prison that tracked her thoughts. This is especially significant because it speaks to a woman with an advanced education. Her family was Roman citizens and she was a mother of a two-year-old. When asked if she would renounce being Christian, she said: “Father, do you see this vase here?” “Yes, I do.” “Could it be called by any other name?” “No.” “Well, so too I cannot be called by anything other than what I am, a Christian.”1 The absolu