Two Sacraments

Dear Girl Afraid of Water
Why did you scream
when your mother tossed you
in the bath, washed your hair
over plastic tubs?
Did you think
she would let you drown?
Why did you yell,
poolside at the Y,
fearful of jumping
where others were already
buoyed by their skill?
Was it senseless to think
you could float
because only Jesus did,
and you always questioned Him?
And when you took to water
gills and fins grown,
did you call out,
those cool summer dawns
at the public pool?
Did your mother watch, from steel fence
through endless laps
of crawl, breast, back and side,
inflated jeans and flannel shirts?
Did you squeal treading in the deep?
And in Oregon, when rain and wind
poured violently into the sea,
were you afraid
of what would churn forth?
Was it a baptism you felt
over and again,
a chance to come clean
of all your sins – living and dead?

When God puts you in timeout,
it is not punishment –
to be sent
to the corner of HIs tent.
No frown forms across
His countenance,
expecting confession from the deep,
but rather
an acknowledgment –
You are there
to be forgiven
if only you embrace
this dusty corner created.
There is no stool, no wall,
no pock marks filled with putty
from toasters sailing wide.
Instead tent sides billow
with breeze and light.
He has put away
the wooden spoon, the belt,
soap for your mouth.
You will not be silenced,
nor will silence be judged.
In this bend
He has set aside
lightning, plagues, and floods,
removed bitterness and anger,
and the knife from your back.
He has set forth knowledge
flowing freely as flaps on the tent –
how to forgive yourself.


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