Today’s poetic effort is in the vein of narrative free verse. Hopefully the source of inspiration will be evident.
“It was so exciting! I just can’t sleep!”
My sweet, calm daughter
normally so tranquil, so contained,
now wriggling and bouncing in her bed,
animated by memory.
The source of this ebullient agitation:
Her Share Day.
The class calendar marked with her name,
calling on her to rise and carry up the chosen, precious object.
“My Favorite Book”
She didn’t tell me her selection,
not until we were rushing out the door,
lunch bags and jackets trailing from lazy child arms,
keys slipping in my fingers as I rush to lock the house, unlock the car,
transport us all to each our destination.
“Do you know what I’m going to share?”
A gleeful grin expands her face,
and, finally, tired eyes glance down to see the book gripped to her chest,
embraced with pride.
My Storybook Bible.
Two instant, instinctive, counter-acting thoughts.
The happy one beams out,
full of pride and joy
to know this precious book merits for her the singular title:
And even more to see the light
that shines our from her eyes,
so eager to share her love, and God’s, with others.
But parallel thought retracts,
trained by fear and pain,
by knowledge of how this book’s singular claims are oft received:
Descriptor both of content and of those
who speak with public voice of finding light,
those eager to share their words, or God’s, with others.
What will they think?
The parents of a class whose diverse names and faces I do celebrate,
the chance for her to see and learn from differences.
But will this difference be allowed to teach?
If children bring home tales of Bible stories read aloud
will some complain of violated boundaries, church and state?
Or… will they think that I am a sneaky proselytizer,
indoctrinating six-year olds, my own and through her theirs?
My own memory awakes, asleep now twenty years,
presents a shaking scene:
A High School English class; an assignment –
present an object that represents yourself.
I, my worn Bible in my hand, stand to face the stares,
the sneers, the cynical questioning of those who thought me fool.
I held that book because my faith was central to my core, my sense of self,
but also because I felt compelled to stand against the tide,
to prove my faith as genuine to evangelical satisfaction.
“Blessed are you when they revile you…”
But this is not her reason,
and I must divorce my own complicated story of love and pain,
both found within the pages of this book,
from how I let her write her own, new story.
Her reason is so much simpler,
just the natural child’s joy of drawing near to God in story form.
I do not question,
do not try to guide her steps away from pitfalls in the quagmire of pluralistic culture.
This is her share day, and the story must be hers.
Now she has shared,
all unaware of culture wars and bigotry,
without cold words of caution to quench the bright light shining from her eyes.
And now, when it is over, hours past,
she is bouncing on her bed, alert with joy.
“It was so exciting! I just can’t sleep”