We Seek Smooth Lines

A few years ago, I helped lead a six-week series called the Creativity Project at my church. The aim was to open a space for people to exercise the creativity that we have all (and I do mean all) been gifted with by God. During that time, a few poems presented themselves to me. They were unexpected and arrived all in a rush, which hasn’t happened to me for some time. This particular poem came while I was wrestling with the spiritual discipline of creating prayer ropes, maintaining the patience, focus and prayer to tie complex knots over and over again.

As I enter the Advent season, God has brought this discipline back to me. Advent is about waiting. Waiting with expectation. Waiting with hope. Waiting even though things don’t seem smooth or simple.

Thus, I share this poem with you. Let me know what it stirs in you, what you see and hear… what you are awakened to or waiting for this Advent.

* * *

We seek smooth lines, swift and silken,

things uncluttered and uncomplicated. Easy

beauty, a sense of peace—the humility

of knots undoes us. No doubt even the cross

was not truly straight, although that’s how

we like to make it, right-angled so we know

our place, can trace our salvation

with rulers and thick-tipped markers.

The first symbols were more

rounded and irresolute, the tail

of the fish crossing itself, a Father,

Son and Holy Spirit less precise,

that wandered across thoroughfares

like a lost child, a secret yet to be told.

Now, we pull at our lives, seeking

resolution, understanding, something

that might make sense of the paradox,

the absences, the dying children,

while old women whose lines have long

fallen, sagged into the corners

of their eyes, their lives, comfortable

with the tangles, weave our times

into prayers, letting the loose ends

fray into supplication.