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Like a Phoenix! Or Lazarus!

October 15, 2013

I declare myself not quite dead yet, with a nod to the writers of Monty Python. It has been nearly a year since my last confession. I feel a bit like I have been in a chrysalis, undergoing a metamorphosis I cannot yet fully articulate. Ministerial formation is a fairly major remodeling of one’s interior landscape, and I thought I was stuck with nothing to say. In low moments, I wondered if I would ever have anything new or useful to say, worth tossing out into public conversation. One of the things I have been learning to trust is the mystery that I cannot always know how or where my words will land, and to offer them anyway, in a spirit of love and generosity, hoping for the best and not letting my worries about the worst hold me back.

No long post today, just a hello and a poem that captures some of the feelings I’ve had over the past three years of growing and changing on my journey deeper into my own faith and my calling to ministry.


This is where I yank the old roots
from my chest, like the tomatoes
we let grow until December
thick as saplings

 This is the moment when the ancient fears
race like thoroughbreds, asking for more
and more rein. And I, the driver,
for some reason they know nothing of
strain to hold them back.

 Terror grips me like a virus
and I sweat, fevered,
trying to burn it out.

This feat is so invisible. All you can see
is a woman going about her ordinary day,
drinking tea, taking herself to the movies,
reading in bed. If victorious
I will look exactly the same.

Yet I am hoisting a car from mud ruts
half a century deep. I am hacking
a clearing through the fallen slash
of my heart. Without laser precision,
with only the primitive knife of need, I cut
and splice the circuitry of my brain.

I change.

Ellen Bass

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurel Horne permalink
    October 15, 2013 1:23 pm

    Thanks, Lyn! Great to read your comments, and love the poem — captures a lot. Have you read Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson? Not a new book, but very interesting. Also recently read Still Alice which I highly recommend. Written by a Harvard neurobiologist turned author, it is a novel written from the perspective of a 50 yo Harvard psychology prof who finds out her memory issues are early onset Alzheimers. Very gripping, powerful read.

  2. October 15, 2013 7:41 pm

    I have definitely read Still Alice and loved it, and not sure about Composing a Life. That might be on my to-read list, which is very long right now. Seminary has kind of tossed free-range reading right out the window. Thanks for the suggestions!

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