Archive for August 2015

True Story (for my daughter)   2 comments

Long awaited child

I sweated, cried, raved, moaned

I was in pain to birth you

And all this for years before you finally came

In August

Your water gushed out of me like the falling rain

that early morning

And again I waited

Early Saturday I woke to a meteor shower

The Perseids were falling in the east

One a minute, dropping fast

We watched them for an hour

Till dawn came

Again I waited

Early Sunday I woke to a shower of another kind

Again I sweated, cried, raved, moaned

Till dawn came

And you fell from my womb

A hot, ripe star


I wrote this in 2000.  Mothering published it in 2002 in the same issue in which my friend Jill McCorkle’s VBAC article was printed.  On this, my star’s quinceañera, I share this poem about her birth.

Posted August 13, 2015 by swanatbagend in motherhood, reflections

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My Stars   Leave a comment

Mist around the street lights

Bullfrogs comment from the pond

A single katydid still chatters

We unroll our towels that will come up ripe with grass clippings, and set our sights upward

Between the black outlines of the trees and across the Milky Way

and Cassiopeia

They come



flashes even

The Perseids, more than one a minute, dropping fast

As one, then another of us calls out, there’s one

there’s another

did you see that one?

My little stars all around me, all grown up now

We watch the meteors

My stars

Posted August 13, 2015 by swanatbagend in reflections

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The Mess? That is Covered   1 comment

I’ve been chewing on this one for a long while.  That’s because while am beginning to get glimmers of what it actually means, I still am nowhere near understanding it.  And that’s because it’s really not understandable.

–the interface between my choices and God’s good will.

I’ve been familiar for years with the concept of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice removing the burden of my sins.

But what about the mess?

Often, I am bogged down not by obvious sins–but by the general mess life can be.  My habits.  How difficult and confusing relationships are.  Making decisions and finding out later I made a poor decision.

It’s not black and white, usually.  It’s almost impossible to feel confident that there is one right way to go.  I want to help others, not hurt or hinder them, but I also have other goals or wishes and frankly no matter how hard I try (when I want to try) there are things I screw up.  There’s any number of situations that are just plain messy.  And I am part of the mess.

You choose the wrong school for your child.  You deal with the same bad habit, reminded over and over as years pass about the same thing you can’t shake.  You decide to join a church for a questionable reason and find yourself wondering years later if that is what you were supposed to do.  You live with a chronic health issue or other problem that limits what you can do and what you can contribute, and that feels like a mess.

I feel powerless to direct things they way I think they ought to go, to even control my own emotions, my own body.  I walk forward doing the next thing, and sometimes just walking into the next mess.

Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless
He made you flawless


I can’t yet believe it, but I know it is true.

He’s redeeming and restoring everything.  There is not anything that is going to be missed.  It’s not as if God handles the solar system, the universe down to the atomic level and beyond, the salvation of his loved children, and every other huge disaster we create–but can’t handle the little stinkin’ messes.  The yuck stuff we don’t want to talk about.  He’s got that, too.

I’m not saying “Let us sin so grace may abound.”  Nope.  Knowing we are so fully loved by God, and that nothing can snatch us from the Father’s hand, can only lead to thankfulness and the desire to love him in return, and follow him.

I’m not saying God magically makes everything turn out perfectly if we just somehow have enough faith.

It’s not to say we shouldn’t go ahead and be the change we wish to see in the world.  No, what we are doing is part of what he’s doing.

I’m not saying there are no consequences to our choices.  We know that is not true.  Each of us lives in the consequences of the choices we make each day, and sometimes in the ruin of others’ choices.

And I’m not saying that our mess is somehow OK, or that the little things we do don’t have any lasting effect, or that our yuck is actually good.  This doesn’t mean that all we’ve done to damage our world is no big deal.  It does not diminish the grotesqueness of sin in any way.

Screw ups are screw ups, mess is mess, but even the tiny stuff is covered.  He’s got it.  He’s got our weakness and our will enveloped right in the middle of his grace and his beauty.  He’s remaking, renewing and redeeming us and the world, both now, and with an eye to eternity.  That’s on a global level, a universal level–and right at our smallest, most pathetic moment.




Posted August 7, 2015 by swanatbagend in reflections

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