Watchfulness in 2021 (and my first poem!)

By Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Recently, I sat around a backyard bonfire with dear friends and we shared things we felt thankful for as we looked back on 2021. The answers included big and small things, all of them reminders of the rich blessings to be found in a caring community, a home, and good food and conversation. The many, many ways that our God cares for us were also brought to mind around that crackling fire. People’s answers varied, but shared a common root in his loving watchfulness...

  • Being able to appreciate great blessings while they’re present, not only after they’re gone
  • Food and friends
  • God’s loving provision through sending us trials
  • How God sustains us through his church
  • The Lord’s patience
  • That God is not like us

I’ve felt all this and more this year. I’m also thankful for several opportunities to travel, a great deepening of many friendships, the discovery of new communities that came together around stories and ideas, and a continually growing understanding of just how deep my love for stories and the written word runs. I’ve purposely not forced myself to create for this space this year, and I think it’s because I’ve been figuring out a lot in the realm of my most profound interests and how to express them. I haven’t worked all of it out yet, but the most basic thing I started this blog for is still true – I love stories and believe they are one of the most powerful and life-changing mediums we have, and I want to talk about them! How I’ll do that here and what kind of format it’ll take may vary from post to post, but as I said, I’m still working it all out.

For now, here are some photos of those travels and friendships I mentioned. The chance to travel with so many of these people was a balm to the soul and a gift I don’t take for granted. Maine and Vermont stole my heart completely. I felt like I was being stretched on the inside to contain all the beauty around me. And West Virginia cabin weekends have become something of a tradition. This was the third one of the year. What a treat to experience my first and last snows of 2021 there, with so many of the same people both times.

That West Virginia trip also inspired my first…poem! Yes, I’ve also begun trying my hand at poetry, and I hope to share more here before long. Here’s the first full one I’ve written, dedicated to the dear souls who occupied that little cabin alongside me in West Virginia for that weekend.

"Still Grace"

What is peace
if not a cerulean winter sky
keeping vigil over a silent wood?

What is tranquility
but a burbling stream steadily
reshaping stones beneath its trickle?

What says serenity
like the maple’s fiery robe
shepherding it to long sleep?

Without, four rustic walls
rest quieted, wrapped in winter’s quilt.
Within, laughter and shared quest
feed hungry souls,
long grace keeping gentle watch.

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