Depth of experience

Photo via flickr cc James Fischer Photography

There's something about a poem, isn't there, that calls out of the author (and hopefully the reader, in turn), a new depth of experience.  There's something about a poem that makes us feel a greater joy, a darker sadness, a more intense sense of meaning.  Of poignancy. 

I first encountered this strange ability of words in a particular form when I was fifteen.  The poetry set before me in high school English class had a way of catching my breath.  Do not go gentle.  The road not taken.  No man is an island. They expressed reality as it was, I thought.  My only response: "yes."

I wrote a lot.  I searched out places in me previously undiscovered.  I felt, deeply.  

College left less space for free writing.  Still, I wrote a bit.  I discovered Billy Collins and could not get enough. 

Then came my mom's illness, the fear, anxiety, worry, determination.  Then my marriage began with immigration, waiting, paperwork, anxiety, weekend visits with John.  Then seminary.  Then jobs.  Then moving.  No writing. 

I've discovered that to write a poem requires both a willingness and an ability.  A willingness to delve into the depths of your experience.  And an ability to handle the emotions that come with it.  

When my mom was sick I did not have the ability.  When John and I were married but living apart I did not have the willingness.  I was in survival mode and then only a few inches above survival mode.  

Today, God has brought me to a place of ability.  Actually, I've been here for a few months, resisting the willingness.   Write a poem, he calls.  Stubborn?  Lazy?  I'm not sure- but I resist.  And then- well, if you have a friend to whom you'd give the title, "spirit-filled," picture that person now.  I have a friend like that too.  She's the kind of woman who raises her hand in the middle of a Theology class discussion about interpreting God's will and exclaims, "If the Holy Spirit LIVES IN YOU, of COURSE he'll speak to you!" 

From this, spirit-filled friend, I- yesterday- find a short note in my inbox: 

"Jill, I was thinking of you today
and I was hoping that you were writing poetry in this season 
and that you would at least self publish it in an electronic format.
Just so you know.."

With that preface, a new commitment to poetry and to depth of experience, and to ability, and to willingness: 

A word on the backwards and beautiful journey to adopt my son

It is I who dwell in the womb this time
rather than he 

Formed, already, in the depths
he has passed into light

So instead, I go there 
to be formed, molded, and shaped 
into the thing I am becoming: 

I hear the pulsing 
of time
I know I am moving forward
closer to the day of my birth

 I feel pressure
The world constricts around me 
my own heart slows
I fear that I can hardly breathe

the pressure ceases
I dwell in hope 
and comfort for a while

The rhythm cotinues, 

I am angry
I am hopeful
I am worried
I am relieved

I pray for delivery
from this vague and murky waiting place
I pray for delivery into clarity, into light 
into his arms
into his heart
to see his face

This is a backwards, beautiful journey:

My son,
is birthing


  1. I love it, how beautiful!

  2. Replies
    1. Huge smile on my face at this reply. You're the best! Thank you.

  3. This is absolutely brilliant! Wow!!! Thank you for being brave enough to share it with all of us.

    1. It's not so hard to be brave when I get wonderful comments like this one. :-) Thanks for the encouragement Candice!

  4. Wow. Beautiful Powerful in its message.
    you allow us to share this with our readers at "We Are Grafted In"? Since you are already a contributor, I just need your permission. We already have what we need to direct people back to your blog.
    Thanks for sharing your gift of writing!

    1. Thank you Stephanie! Yes I would love to have you share this with your readers. :-)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Such a perfectly beautiful depiction of what becoming a mother is like for those of us who are becoming one by other means than child birth. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Btw, I'm a new reader. We haven't started the adoption process yet, but hopefully will soon. I discovered your blog today when googling "adoption photo shoot." Your pictures are gorgeous! :)

  7. Just beautiful! Keep writing!
    I did too as a teenager but I stoped... to much to do... Thanks for reminding me!
    I have three bio kids and we are trying to adopt and you are so right there is a similarity...
    Thanks again!


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