Last night, the ancient fire stoked
Poking again the ancient burns
Seared into flesh once tender-
Yet never without yearning.
Nearly thirty years, I’ve known;
Nearly thirty years I’ve heard the call’s persistence,
But reprimanded- gender demanded
A more quotidian existence.
Now they say it’s a new day.
Now it’s my responsibility
To weed out whatever lies
They sowed into my identity.
I wept to You today.
Wept, and begged, and confessed
Willing to surrender, to forgive-
Years of anger repressed.
Fearful, as Aaron and Miriam
Raised their voice in similar fashion,
And You rightly struck her pale
Until Moses pled compassion.
I sit with Brother Lawrence now,
All my energy spent-
I ponder still if I’m in Your will;
If I know how to repent.
I thought of what they kept me from:
Visible learning, belonging, a voice,
But they existed in constrained abstraction-
My conscience rejects that choice
But I might not have.
This is the thought I cannot lose-
Had clergy embraced my passionate adherence,
Praised for artificial virtues,
I would have engaged in the show,
And become a company-man.
I would have watered down the truth
Mitigating the crowd’s demands
And I know I, the corporate protégé,
Would have died in the rote
Expecting You to be pleased
With the foreign fire I devoted
With the art of being heard
Instead of the manifest calling
To lay it down, to serve-
Never to learn the simple beauty
Sitting with the bereaved
When no one expects a word from me,
But hears the hope that I believe
Never to live out my faith
When only You are watching:
My gifts, my thoughts, my heart,
All to only You, I sing-
The summation of these thoughts
Lifts my broken face
A lifetime of biased rejection-
A provision of dearest grace!