Tickled Pink – A Poem

Although I just shared a blog post two days ago, I stumbled across this poem today that is so beautiful, and feels so fitting as I wrap up this summer season of life, that I couldn’t help but share it.


Tickled Pink
by Kevin Kling

At times in our pink innocence, we lie fallow, composting waiting to grow. And other times we rush headlong like so many of our ancestors. But rush headlong or lie fallow, it doesn’t matter. One day you’ll round a corner, your path is shifted. In a blink, something is missing. It’s stolen, misplaced, it’s gone. Your heart, a memory, a limb, a promise, a person. Your innocence is gone, and now your journey has changed. Your path, as though channeled through a spectrum, is refracted, and has left you pointed in a new direction. Some won’t approve. Some will want the other you. And some will cry that you’ve left it all. But what has happened, has happened, and cannot be undone. We pay for our laughter. We pay to weep. Knowledge is not cheap. To survive we must return to our senses, touch, taste, smell, sight, sound. We must let our spirit guide us, our spirit that lives in breath. With each breath we inhale, we exhale. We inspire, we expire. Every breath has a possibility of a laugh, a cry, a story, a song. Every conversation is an exchange of spirit, the words flowing bitter or sweet over the tongue. Every scar is a monument to a battle survived. Now when you’re born into loss, you grow from it. But when you experience loss later in life, you grow toward it. A slow move to an embrace, an embrace that leaves you holding tight the beauty wrapped in the grotesque, an embrace that becomes a dance, a new dance, a dance of pink.

Why I Pray

When I pray for you it’s like breathing –
equal parts commonplace and extraordinary in its rhythm and repetitive motion.

Each morning I climb the stairs,
check the first of many trash cans,
and begin to pray as I move counterclockwise around the perimeter of the library.

Some days I am eager to pray,
overflowing with hope in the promises of God,
but most days I feel frustrated and weary of
praying and praying and praying
without seeing growth or change.

And yet,
a little voice inside says,
“Kelly, God hears you,”
and so, I pray.

While walking the length of the library I look out on the quiet quad,
taking in the steadfast clock tower,
the blooming hanging baskets,
and the construction projects strewn across campus in various stages of completion.

I pray for your work,
your family,
your mind,
and most of all, our friendship.

Rounding the southwest corner of the building, I often begin to sing,
sometimes as a force of habit,
and sometimes because I feel as though my own words are failing me
leaving me no option but to lean on those that others have penned.

When I head to the other side of the library
my prayers often deepen in intensity
as I pray away the demons that threaten to devour
all who choose to walk in their identity as children of God.

I finish my circuit
and sometimes I feel relief that this particular morning ritual is finished,
but more often I feel a sense of longing for even just one more minute
in the presence of a God who already knows,
but still listens
who doesn’t need me,
but still chooses to use me in continuing the work of His Kingdom
as I pray for you.

So friend,
I want you to know that while my words may be raw,
and my feelings fickle
I am praying for you
because I trust that the growth that happens beneath the dirt
is every bit as important as the blossoming of the flower.

Keep Your Eyes Open

“Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You’ll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love” – Needtobreathe

The maxi taxi rolls to a stop at this dilapidated bus station
and I am more than ready to leave its sweltering interior.
After riding for ten hours with the windows firmly shut
my lungs beg for fresh air.

Our first smell in this new place
is the customary Eastern European cigarette smoke,
lingering on clothing, swirling through the air,
orienting us to this unfamiliar world.

A group of gangly teenage boys stare at us,
the four obviously American girls
with their gigantic bags of luggage
and casual, foreign attire.

Our first order of business is locating a bathroom.
Between paying for our pink square of toilet paper
and experiencing the glory of the squatty potty
our bathroom expedition is a prime example
of full-immersion baptism into the culture.

Our guide leads us inside the ramshackle station
and I notice a massive mural on the wall.
He says it’s a remnant of Soviet propaganda,
and my history-loving brain is intrigued by
the mosaic of geometric shapes
delineating the communist view of society.

The interior of the station makes me feel uneasy
but the warmth of our hosts eases my feelings of trepidation.
They greet us with huge smiles and Moldovan chocolate,
giving us an opportunity to practice saying mulțumesc
and accept their radical hospitality.

Poetry

Hello faithful readers! Sorry about the lapse in posts lately. Between moving states and starting up classes again (life of a college kid) and dealing with some personal struggles, I’ve had a lot on my plate. But I’m back, this time with… poetry! I’m currently taking a writing poetry class, so between now and December, that’s pretty much what you can expect to see. Please excuse my amateur poetry writing skills. Hopefully my poems will improve as the semester progresses. So without further ado:

Adoption

There is nothing like distance
to make you feel helpless.
376 miles to the north,
a judge is deciding the fate
of two precious children.

I pull open a wooden door
as heavy as my heart.

Sunlight trickles through the upper window,
beckoning me further into the silent chapel.
The splendor of the rare Oregon sunlight
wraps me in the comforting arms of my Savior.

Hungry

I am hungry for God.

And this hunger is sharper than before.

This hunger hasn’t left me.

It’s not fading.

And it won’t be satisfied in this lifetime.

I want to read my Bible.

I want to create.

I want to pray.

I want to write.

I want to love.

And yet, I’m failing to make room in my life for God.

I spend more time on Facebook than I do in The Word.

I struggle to spontaneously create without first having a plan in place.

I begin a prayer, but then let my mind wander and never finish it.

I place other activities before writing.

I fail to love far more often than I succeed.

And yet, God loves me through all of my mistakes.

He forgives all my wrongs.

He extends grace, regardless of what I’ve done.

He is a God of second chances.

So, I am going to seize this opportunity for a new beginning.

I will read my Bible.

I will create.

I will pray.

I will write.

And most importantly, I will love.