Blessing for Loose Ends

A note from our co-pastor, Nicole Vickey:
I wrote the below as a reflective prayer for myself after these many months of pandemic living. When I went back to read it, I realized it was meant for all of us here in this life-giving community of which I am so grateful to be a part.

As much as I eagerly look forward to every shred of normalcy we are regaining, I’ve noticed myself pausing and looking back with wonder on the unexpected pulls and patterns of this past year. We are different now then when we started. We’ve done hard things, and also unexpectedly beautiful things. This is simply a poem of praise for all of that.

We’ve begun to stretch,
take up space in the world again.
It’s been long enough now that
parts of us ache just with the trying.
Hanging ourselves out
in a world that feels different,
like laundry of an old life:
what still fits
what needs mending
what should we just bless and leave behind

The beginning felt like all loose ends
a tugging aloneness
unwinding us all
we anchored ourselves
along messy knots of love
endless calls to kindred
litanies of gratitude for the dog
practicing feeling bigger
while watching eagles circle
the backyard
saying nightly prayers
under the stars
somehow (and always)
unchanged by what we
pour out in praise or petulence

In a surprise lining of the season
our community grew tighter, too,
as we all frayed at bit at our seams:
cookies baked in boredom
shared on doorsteps
sanitizer and encouragement
passed around like gossip
group texts among those
who usually only ever have
time for quick hellos.
A new watchfulness
over this week’s least of us making
softer places of our divided shelters

And the things, oh the things,
we stitched together across screens:
grandparenting
fifth grade
first dates
saying goodbye to a parent
burying a cousin
birthday toasts
this church
the next zoom update
might let us call heaven
(but I will have deleted it
from every device I own by then)

So we find ourselves here
jabs in arms that felt
eye-of-the-needle hard
passing us through to
the other side of this thing
into a kingdom of
tight hugs
songs sung at tops of lungs
smiles seen not just in eyes
dancing among friends
the touch of others
our benediction to this
year of separated selves

But as we reach for those
lost loud treasures of togetherness
may we pause
at the threshold of
normal and next
realizing that in all this quiet
we finally had eyes to see
the strength we found here
in brokenness tended
and mended

Before we push forward
let us bless the bare spots
of this year and some:
where the threads stood out
some loose and some golden
may we glimpse there the maker
who is forever unravelling us
the patterns of the holy ghost
who never leaves us
but instead (gently and endlessly)
unties our knots
and knits us back together