Heart strings.

Red dirt. Mango trees. Bougainvillia. Skinny cows. Percussion-based music. Heat of the sun. Dragging time. Heavy watered air. Boats. Worn taxis. Friendly people. Flat houses/rooftops. Palm trees. Burning field. The lifestyle. The friendships that could have been. The ocean. Sweet fresh fruit. Community. Lazy days. Transportation. Weathered smiling people. Poverty. Richness. Star gazing. Rock quarry. Lizards. Geckos. Cockcroaches. Slat windows. Antivolt. Potholed-roads. Gravol. Fields. Lush landscape. 

Flowing falls. Cold showers. Simplicity. Lack of vanity. Clothes lined on ground to dry. Family. Card games. Steak au sauce crème. Street food. Aleco. Pizza loaf. Stable. Freddy. LeRoy. Belle. Kerrianne. Cherise. Cori. Older mentors. Blister sisters. Delayed planes. Pool outtings. Internet cafés. Guesthouse. Barrels. Peppered KD. Driver ants. Dalaba. Rollerblading at airport. River outtings. Termite hill. Guns. Barbed wire. Evacuation. The islands. IFF. Yamosoukro. Medicals. Lice checks. Dining hall. Noon rest. PE. Kickball. Petite pateau. Upper and lower court. Sunday packages. Emails. Pippi. Phillipe. Guinea pigs. Braided hair. Mystery meals. Book with B for M&D. Couch potato cake. Solar panels. Fragmented movies. Computer fans. Chips challenge. Arabic tea. 

Sunday movies. Saturday nintendo. White glove test. 500 franc Mars bars. Aminata. Mamadi. Howa. Bolocada. Huts. Garbage pits. Panye. Peanut sauce. Markets. Halfbuilt concrete boxes. Tile. Mold scented walls. Gated walls. Overly stuffed bikes/taxis. Coconuts. Lizards. Snakes. Tiny frog hunting. Pretend fort building. Pouring rain runnings. Toll roofs. Banquets. Musicals. Miss Epp. "Aunt" and "Uncle." Reeses. Aunt Janice. Larry Pixie. Polly pockets. Pet shop. Ants. Dorms. African culture week. Sing 'n whale/wail. Chapel. Sunday school. Papaya pill swallowings. Bible baseball. Pilgrims progress. Dog bone pillow. Napkin folding. Scorpions. Bantums. Beavers. Bees. Bethesda. Bethany. Baraka. River crossing/barge. Spiked security stops. Malaria. Worms. Meat sticks.

Tropical country. The trigger. I need to grieve. I grieve. For what I lost. For what I left behind, expecting to return. 


Who will I be?

[AndreasS] "life of excellence" CC
He passed away this week.
This man,
visited oft by those he loves,
by those he has cared for,
pastored, mentored.
A man of gratitude,
of prayer,
of humility.
A man that fought to serve his Lord.

In sixty,
or seventy years,
who do I want to be?

Do I want to be a woman
So proud
So stubborn
that she can't accept the help that she needs?

Or like the man
who is so embittered with life,
so hardened by strife,
that to be with people,
is too big a risk to take--
it may just cause more pain.

Or a woman who laughs,
who shares her opinion,
so honest, so close to rude,
but fun to be with,
to tease, to laugh with.

Or the woman so gracious,
so thankful, so kind.
Who cares about you, and where you have been.
Who has raised kids quite alike as her.

I serve them.
I bathe them.
I pull up their briefs.
I feed them.
I clean up their home.

These people,
are pictures.
Of who I could be.
In sixty,
seventy years.

If I hold on to pain.
If I hold on to fear.
I could be like him...or her.

If I serve my Lord faithfully,
If I smile, and laugh.
If I love, and forgive.
Then I could be like him.
Christ-like, forgiven.
Loving and gracious,
even at ninety-one.


As You do.

Original pen and ink drawing for "The Weaker Sex," illustration by Charles Dana Gibson
I had a different experience today,
one I'm not sure I have had before.
I have walked into countless churches,
countless times.
Since I was a babe.
I have always felt the part,
(Mostly) Always welcomed.
At least not rejected.
Until today.
One step in.
Two ladies, hair piled atop their heads
Skirts grazing floor.
One. Looking right through me,
Shaking her head
From side to side.
So blatant, so sure,
Of me.
But what did I do?
My dress? It doesn't reach the floor.
My hair? It's trimmed and hangs down past my jaw.
"Our hair, our glory."
My mind recalls these words from days passed.
By people who love the same God as I.
By those who strive for "perfect love."
Out of place. Uncomfortable.
In a building with a portrait
Of the very same Christ I try to serve.
It's my turn,
to say:
I am sorry.
For the times I have walked away,
based on your clothes,
your hair,
your opinion,
or your education.
I am called
To love.
My brother, sister, friend.
The stranger. The lost. The broken.
The ladies with the long hair.
The long skirts.
Forgive me, Father.
For not seeing them as You do.
For not loving them as You do.