This Place

Duck #115

Growing up is a funny thing. I’ve never really wanted to do it. My childhood was lovely. Any time I spend looking back over it brings nothing but a smile to my face. It was filled with adventure, dancing, laughter, imagination, color, love…
This all took place in a home that I loved, in a neighborhood that felt like something made of magic. Moving away from that childhood home was harder than I ever anticipated. I was eleven and I remember crying for a good portion of the drive from New York to North Carolina. Since then, I think little Jayna has been in search of another place to call home. Not one to replace the former, but one where I can settle and rest and let my roots establish themselves in the earth.

I thought, as I got older, that perhaps I would create this home. That it would be the place where I lived that felt the most safe. The Lord is funny and kind, though. Sometimes he gives you what you need in a way you didn’t know you needed it, in a form you weren’t expecting. A soul sister of mine lives in a house she’s created to be a home. Not just for me, but for all who enter. It feels like a fairytale, but it’s so much better because it’s real. I thank the Lord for this place and the friendship that sustains it.

Sadly, the writing of poems is not my forte. However, the way I know how to best describe the way this place makes me feel is through poetry. So, here it is…

——
This Place

near the end of the street clad with age
it sits
light blue, candle lit
quiet
unassuming
robed in welcome
a screen door that whispers the secret of hospitality
yes, You may enter
“please, sit. stay a while,” the walls hum
light rushing in to meet a scent familiar and sweet
cool air
wood floors
opened windows

a crooked chimney makes its debut
an invitation for crooked hearts
(masks removed. it’s okay.)
even the backyard’s greenery beckons to be inside
it longs to be a part of the magic
there’s a rhythm in the baseboards
“won’t You dance with me?”
of course
one, two, three
hours pass
island time vacations here
water & wine play together
hurt & hope converse
mirth & misery swap stories
together…
this place is meant for Us
together
papa in a frame
ink stained on glass
fresh fruit
coffee poured over and over and over

the sun!

oh, how the sun warms this place
oh, how the sun warms this heart
oh, how the sun warms
“look up, Love.”
“how?”
“just as You were always meant to.”

this place
drenched in a thousand exhales
flooded with a New Song

near the end of the street, safely clad
it sits
“You’re home.
breathe, Dear.
You’re home.”

 

We Will Feast

It’s official. I have been graduated from college for just over a year now. For this reason, I’ve decided to go back to counting my ducks in my original format. So, including all of my “Post Grad Ducks” this post makes “Duck #81” Wow!

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It’s been almost 2 days since I’ve returned from a three week vacation/work trip and I feel…wispy. I’m not sure how else to explain it other than that. Well, I guess saying that I’m homesick would work too. But the funny part about this feeling is that I’m unsure of where “home” is right now. My parents’ house has become just that, my parents’ house. My college town feels more and more like a memory. State College feels like the planting pot that won’t let me grow roots because I know I’m going to be transferred to the earth nearby in a short while.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this, this desire for permanence, for home. In fact, a friend of mine wrote a beautiful article about this topic that you can access here. The truth is, we all want a place to belong. We all want a place, a feeling, a group of people to call home. I really think that in this life we get glimpses and pieces and teasers of home. I think home sounds like the eruption of laughter that ensues when you catch up with dear friends. I’m sure home feels like the hug from a parent or sibling just because you’re happy to be together. I bet home looks like your favorite spot that makes you feel giddy whenever you’re there, whether that be a coffee shop, movie theatre, tree by a lake, or house near the beach. But what does home taste like? I mean, I bet it’s similar to Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies or Mom’s thanksgiving turkey; but in actuality, home tastes like something better. It has to. I bet the taste of home isn’t just a taste–it’s a feeling, a sound, a sight all wrapped up into one…

Sanda McCracken writes:

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

If you haven’t heard this song, I highly suggest you look up the lyrics and read them as you listen to it. It’s beautiful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these lyrics recently. As a believer, I can rest in the assurance of a glorious feast that awaits me. A feast with my Father in our Home; I’ll be joined by my brothers and sisters and there will be dancing and laughing and singing and rejoicing.

I can’t wait…

Up until recently, I thought I could wait for Heaven, for Home.  And I mean, physically I can wait, but I’m excited! Everything that is sad will become untrue! Lusting for approval from other people won’t be an issue. Rape and assault will cease. Tears will end. Orphanages won’t be necessary. Cancer will be eradicated. Death will be no more. To stand in victory with Christ will taste so sweet…and salty and savory and perfect.

It’s hard, though…to keep this in mind, I mean. We will feast. We’re not feasting yet, even though we’re so hungry, salivating for a love, a place, a Father that can satiate and satisfy our strongest of cravings. That’s why we need each other. We need to remind each other of what’s coming, of what we have left to do while we wait. We need to carry each other when we succumb to the cravings, and dance with each other when we get glimpses on earth of what is to come when we go Home. Let us use what awaits us to shape what is before us now.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison, we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen…”
-Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

[Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.]
❤ Amen

hello, sweet Home

Post Grad Duck #8

I started typing this blog post and made it to the second paragraph, but then realized I didn’t want to write about that subject anymore. So I deleted it and now here we are…

Last week, I was in Atlanta for the second time this summer. I was there because I had to attend the second training session for my new job as an RUF intern. It was a good week and a reunion of sorts. It was filled with really good moments, and I love when trips allow for those. It’s not the week as a whole that seems to be what’s most enjoyable, but rather the random moments that have been strung together to make up a week; they’re knitted together with lots of laughter and maybe even a few tears. But this post isn’t about my week or even several of its moments, per se. No, it’s about one night during the week. Thursday night. That was the night that some fellow interns and I went to go see The Oh Hellos in concert. The bar was crowded, the gang was a motley crew, and the music…the music was starkly captivating. I say this because I don’t know how else to do so.
If you’ve been to a few concerts, I’m sure you know what it’s like to witness a really good show. One where the band is in sync, the instruments are tight, the harmonies are perfectly blended, the audience is attentive, and everything in the atmosphere is so tangible that you can’t help but laugh. That’s how this concert was, for me at least. As soon as The Oh Hellos came out to greet their fans with some of their beloved songs, the stage lit up–both literally and figuratively.

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Their energy was contagious. Their movements were entertaining. Their voices were enchanting. I remember several times during the concert when I stopped singing along. I halted my swaying to the music, and chose to look around the crowded room. It wasn’t long before I realized how widely I was smiling. Shortly after did I realize that my vocal chords were releasing a cacophonous and joyous sound that got lost in the echo of the other fans’ euphoria. I was lost in the moment…

But then I had a thought. A pesky little thing. While I usually welcome most thoughts (because of how frequent they come) I wasn’t too fond of this one. It was: “I don’t want this to be over.” And just like that, I snapped back to reality. I realized that the moment of the concert was going to end and that the nirvana was going to wear off. Once this happens, there are 2 things to do: 1) Dismiss the thought with a slight scoff  2) Let the weight of your realization sink in, allotting room for more thoughts to ensue. Naturally, I chose the latter. It was then that I became keenly aware of everything around me. I became aware of the moment. It’s the same awareness that comes when you’re dreaming and then all of sudden realize that you’re dreaming. You’re paralyzed because you want to continue this dream cycle (unless you’re having a nightmare, of course), but know that as soon as you try to move you’re going to wake up.

So I resolved to look forward. Ahead of me was the band. Ahead of me were musicians wrapped up in the same moment as I, but unaware of its ending. Why? Because they were participating in the moment, they weren’t observing it as I was. They were involved, utilizing all they were to create something beautiful. And it really was beautiful.

Then, I had another thought. I thought about Heaven. I thought about how beautiful it will be to one day participate in such glory and perfection. I thought about how Heaven will probably feel a lot like the moment I observed at the concert, but it won’t ever be interrupted. I thought about how amazing it will be to be surrounded be numerous people singing and clapping and laughing and praising Jesus together. I thought about how it’s okay to hold onto the hope for such moments. I thought about going Home.

Here’s to hoping.
Here’s to participating.
Here’s to Home.

[Jesus, thank You for sweet moments.]
❤ Amen