Whats Saving Your Life Right Now?

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Greetings All!

I hope everyone is muddling through alright in these crazy times…One of my favorite Christian podcasters is the hilarious Jen Hatmaker, who quotes Barbara Brown Taylor at the end of each of her interviews with the following question: “What’s saving your life right now?”

As I attempt to find a few spare brain cells amidst the chaos that is two children under 4 amidst a pandemic (WHY?!), I wanted to share some resources that have “saved my life” in the past as I’ve dealt with anxiety. These are anxious times and I think its a rare person that doesn’t need some additional support to make it through. Here are some helpful resources!

Mindfulness Resources:

Mindfulness is a trend that I think should stick around for the foreseeable future. These practices help us to stay in the present moment with our thoughts rather than race ahead to an unforeseeable future.

Sarah Bessey’s “Breath” Prayers – prayer can be a mindful experience. I appreciate Sarah Bessey’s take on this.

The Headspace App – This Phone app saved my life a few years ago, when I had a job that I felt I could not handle. Every day at lunch I would do my 10 minutes of mindfulness and it would help me get centered again for the second half of the day. I still just use the free trial version and find it so centering.

Counseling Resource:

One of my mother’s wisest sayings sticks with me to this day: “Don’t be cheap with your mental health.” I think this is one of my top five lessons from my mom and I pass that along to you in the form of a connection to my personal counselor, Janice McWilliams. Janice has offered herself as a resource to my readers in the form of “virtual counseling” if you live in the Maryland area. If you DO NOT live in the Maryland area, you can reach out to her for a one on one virtual “anxiety assessment” OR you can purchase her new course that she has just released TODAY that will help you specifically manage anxiety during this pandemic. Y’all, Janice is the best. Reach out to her if you need a partner or download her course.

Spiritual Resources: 

Sunday Services: The Village Church of East Atlanta (my home church) is doing a virtual Sunday service each week during the pandemic. We “attended” last Sunday morning from the comfort of our home and found it quite edifying. All are welcome this Sunday morning! Just log in here from your couch.

Sermons worth Listening to: There are dozens of pastors out there that will be helpful to you in your journey. I think though that in a time like this, you cannot go wrong with Pastor Tim Keller from New York City. Many of his sermons are posted on his podcast page located here.  I like to listen to sermons when I’m doing chores around the house and I think you will find Keller’s teaching insightful, encouraging and enlightening. Have a listen! It’s like listening to a wise grandfather speak directly to your heart.

Bible Study: I have been studying the book of Isaiah for lent, and I am amazed at how incredibly timely this has been. If you are the “studious” type, I’d highly recommend Ray Ortlund’s study of the book. It can be a bit heady but I have found it quite instructive for this Pandemic!

Book Study: Last year my friend Heather and I studied the book of Jeremiah, thanks to a book entitled “Run with the Horses” by Eugene Peterson. Frankly, any book by Peterson is a gem, but I REALLY enjoyed this one. It was an engaging read that explained the book of Jeremiah well for people who are not theologians. That would be most of us. Highly recommend!

These are the things that are coming to mind this lovely Friday. I hope you find them helpful. So, what’s saving MY life right now? Well, at this very moment, my husband is. He’s attempting to work from home with our two children while I sit in our empty church office and write to you fine people. Truthfully, we are exhausted by the needs of our tiny people right now and we are doing our best to handle this thing well. There’s just no getting around the difficulty though.

Additionally, though, what’s often saved my life is a statement that Janice shared with me eons ago that I come back to again and again: “It takes a 100,000 mindful moments to create a new neural pathway in the brain.”

Folks, our brains and our societies have tread some strange ground in recent decades. We have become more like widget counting robots than the creative humans we were meant to be. I think the pains we are enduring now are opportunities to tread some NEW ground. It’s taken 100,000 tiny acts of faith for me to trust that God knows what he’s doing. Its taken 100,000 breath prayers for me to not panic at every possible assault to a peaceful mind. Its taken 100,000 podcasted sermons for me to form a knowledge base for the way God works in the world and with his people. And its taken 100,000 Sunday services for me to realize that the people of God are my people and the house of God is where I will find the strength to do what the Lord has called me to do.

The actions we take over and over again create pathways for change. What are the things you can be doing with your heart, mind and body, over and over again, to create changes that bring you and the world some joy? Let’s start creating environments of spiritual, mental and physical health, even in our quarantined spaces. 100,000 moments from now, we may turn around and realize that we are different than we were before.

With love,
Courtney

How We Can Navigate a Pandemic…

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I believe it was Anne Lammott who wrote a story about a friend of hers who rented a cabin to complete some time sensitive work. As I recall, her friend was a single mother to a young son at the time and she believed that by renting this space in the mountains for a few weeks, she could work, while her son (who as I recall was less than 2) slept at nap times and in the evening.

One afternoon during this small family’s time away, Anne’s friend put her child down for a nap in the cabin’s one bedroom and set herself up to complete some work. Unfortunately, as children often do, the child awoke from his nap and went to open the door only to accidentally lock himself in the bedroom from the inside where he had been sleeping.

The son started to turn the knob this way and that such that Anne’s friend, hearing it jingle from her work space in the other room, went to go see what was going on. At two years old, the little boy did not really know how he’d locked himself in. The mother, realizing suddenly what had happened, started, calmly at first, to tell her son that it was ok. She tried explaining to him how to turn the lock on the door knob. This, as you can imagine, was ineffective. Two year olds don’t follow directions. They run on pure emotion and have a limited vocabulary.

The situation unraveled from there. The little boy got more and more panic stricken and started to scream and cry for his mothers help. The mother became frantic herself on behalf of her terrified boy and ran for the phone only to find that she could not get through to anyone for help. Either the lines were down or no one would pick up the phone. The mom went back and forth between the phone and her now screaming son behind the bedroom door, as she tried to yell louder than his screams to assure him that he would be ok just as soon as she could figure out how to get to him.

I do not remember how the mother eventually got access to her child. What I remember from the story is this: in her moment of panic, the only thing this mama could think to do was to put her fingers under the door as an offering of touch for her terrified boy. At some point, the child became aware of his mama’s fingers in the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor and he put his tiny fingers under the door too. In this instant of brief touch, the boy began to finally hear his mama’s voice of reassurance that she would get him out, and the little boy calmed down.

My friends.

This is us.

We do not know how the Lord will get us out of this pandemic and its after effects. We do not know how he will open this door that is closing in on our faces, and making us feel so alone. But, I swear on my mothers literal grave, that his fingers are under the door. His voice is on the other side, and his plan is unfolding on our behalf.

Listen for his voice.

Reach out and feel his touch, even if all you’ve got are the tips of your fingers touching the tips of His.

The point is that He is there, and he WILL help us. We must only learn, in our season of trial, however it unfolds, that he’s the only one we ever actually wanted in the first place.

With so much love,

and a commitment to write and encourage as the Lord will allow in this season,

Courtney

 

The Household of Cosmic Trust

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The Household of Cosmic Trust

By: Courtney Beck

 

Oh

My

Soul.

 

What if I told you, that you could be free.

What if I told you that the doorways of pain

and the doorways of delight

over whose thresholds you have shimmied

and squeezed these last dozen years

have ushered you, quite capably, to this specific place:

 

your household of cosmic trust.

 

Here you stand naked, its true.

Yet somehow you are clothed, in comprehensible power.

In this place, the forces of despair

and the forces of delight

lie impotent and incapable of anything but a nudge,

in the direction of the One that you now know

you’ve always wanted.

 

Oh

My

Soul.

 

What if I told you that the only thing

that needs doing is to

trust the process of your unmaking,

open the door

and be free.

 

A Particular Faithfulness

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Something I’ve noticed about small kids: They operate in the particular.

On an evening last week, Andy arrived home and asked Ellie to get involved in the clean up of her toys. He had promised to take her out for dinner but our place was a disaster and we had some time before they had to leave. So he kept saying over and over again:

“We have to clean up or we won’t get to go out to eat.”

Ellie wasn’t picking up on what we were after. She’d say, “OK! I want to go out to eat” and then a few minutes later as we were all jumping into our respective chores I’d notice that she would get distracted. She’d move a toy from one side of the rug to the other. At times, she’d scatter objects around, making the situation worse. She didn’t seem to understand that the clean up process starts with putting one toy back where it belongs, and then following that up with another one, until all the pieces are put away.

I’m thinking about this very concept as I consider 2019. Or maybe I’m just asking for this small situation to shed some light on a really, really difficult year.

On January 1st, 2019, I was clear on my marching orders for the months ahead. God had thrown the word “faithful” in blaring lights on our path and I felt, albeit cautiously, that I knew what he meant. I wanted to believe that he was saying HE was faithful. That we hadn’t gone down this road for nothing. So beginning in January I forced myself to sing songs about faith and faithfulness, while heading into the new year with a timid and uncertain excitement.  I could feel there was something off about my interpretation, but I didn’t know what that was. Maybe if I sang about God’s faithfulness long enough, we could finally get to the things that I’ve really wanted in life.

This is kind of ridiculous in hindsight. I’ve never really believed in a God that caved to my every whim when I wanted it. I don’t think I could trust such a deity and frankly, most days I don’t really know the particularities of what I really want anyway. Which is why he has used the particular moments of this year to turn this call to faithfulness back around as our year has come to a close.

In February, we welcomed our son into the world. His birth story had its own challenges but his arrival was right on time and just as joyous as I remembered with our daughter. What a gift. He was seven pounds, seven ounces and has been such a fun kid to get to know. As wonderful as those first few weeks were, it didn’t take long for the hormones to settle down and the sleepless nights to follow along. Things get particular pretty quickly when an infant and his toddler big sister have continual and immediate needs for their sleep deprived parents.

We were just coming out of a summertime funk related to the stretching of our parenting muscles when my mom called to tell me she would be admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Within two weeks her treatments would fail to stop pneumonia’s progression into her other lung. A few hurried round trips to Virginia and back had Andy, my sister and me sitting with her doctor for a very tearful conversation about the death process. What a complete and unexpected shock. We would now be required to help her home. What an ultimate particularity.

I don’t know that I have many developed thoughts on the death of my mother at the age of 64. I know that I wish she could have spent Christmas with us as she had planned. I know that on most afternoons I want to Facetime with her and the kids. I hadn’t realized that this was a common ritual of ours until I couldn’t do it anymore. She always had something up her sleeve for her grandkids, even if only an afternoon chat over the phone. I know that I cried through the Sound of Music while watching it with Ellie over Christmas break. We watched Maria sing on the hilltops of Austria over and over again as children. It reminds me so much of that beautiful season between two kids and their beloved Mom.

I suppose I am learning about the particulars of a loss. They are not insignificant.

As 2019 comes to a close I consider the word “faithful” and realize that it has not so much been a word about the Lord as it has been a call to me. To keep my eye on the prize in and through the particularities of my life. We are called to this because we follow a God who is already faithful. The scriptures tell us it is his nature and my experience shows me this too. And so we clean diapers at 2AM and clean the dishes for the thousandth time because we are committed to the story that God is telling through and around those very things.

Last week, with frustration building around the ambiguous “clean-up process” that was unfolding in our home, I pulled up next to Ellie who was getting frustrated too.

“Lets put the Legos in the box,” I suggested, and she began to finally engage.

“Lets put these books in the basket,” I said next.

Soon, she got the hang of what we were asking for and with a job well done she, Andy, and Ethan headed out for Atlanta’s finest chicken nugget and waffle fry dinner.

We are a generation of people that want big things: Justice, Community, Peace, Joy. It appears these things start with a commitment to follow a faithful God in the particular paths he has prepared for us. What a great reminder that he can and he will show us the way forward. I don’t know about you all but I have big hopes for this next decade. Can we hope for the “Roaring ’20s?” I think so! If the 2010s taught me anything its that we can avoid getting blown off course by keeping an eye on the map, or tending to a busted sail. Let’s keep alert. Let’s stay attentive:

“He who calls [us] is faithful; he will surely do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:24

 

Poetry: It is Time

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It is Time

By: Courtney Beck

 

In our pursuit of everything

Have we forgotten to focus in

On the one thing

That just might steady our neurotic nerves?

The ones that say “I’m starving”

while sitting mere steps from the

“All You Can Eat Buffet.”

The ones that orchestrate indebtedness

on the account with limitless funds.

 

What if the only thing we really need

Is a watch.

Not the kind that tells us we’re late,

But the one with the steady hands

That reminds us to refer to our calendars

And the lessons of the long years.

 

Surely, we can keep time to a

far more enduring calendar.

Surely, we can look beyond December 25th

and all its glitter and unfortunate fuss.

I beg you not ask me how I know this,

But the truth is a gift if you’ll allow it.

 

There’s a moment in the future

when the body beckons your people forward

as a gift for the ones that would

brave your farewell.

If grace has been welcomed,

and surely it awaits your invitation,

We will surround your majestic oak

of a life, in love.

 

If grace has been welcomed

we’ll sit beneath your shade, and,

in an activated miracle, agree to

trade any hint of manufactured warmth 

for the depth of a fireside chat.

If only we would come as we are.

If only we’d absorb the cost of

this fine wine.

 

It is time.

The hands on the watch are abundantly clear.

You must prepare for Christmas, this Christmas,

in the wilderness. (Blase)¹

 

¹ Blase, John. “What Such a Claim Might At Last Entail.” The Jubilee, Bright Coppers Press, p.10

 

 

 

 

Poetry: Making Arrangements

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Making Arrangements

By: Courtney Beck

 

I remember the day that I learned you would die.

Just A child, pierced to the very center,

I contorted and screamed

and ran into your arms.

 

I strangled your every word of comfort and

Though you were thoughtful and kind,

found them utterly unsatisfying.

You couldn’t rearrange this new reality,

no matter how hard you tried.

 

And who of us wouldn’t try?

Who of us wouldn’t attempt to shroud

the loss of a god so large?

I’m afraid there are not enough

sheets in a global hemisphere

that could veil such a cavernous void.

 

So I made arrangements.

I put you at the corner of my heart,

And felt the distorted and sick sort of safety

That one must feel at the edges of an airplane,

Right before you dive.

Right before you trust the parachute,

That thin and corded sheet that we’ve packed just so

For that moment in the air,

In some distant future, or maybe later today,

When, because of our meticulous planning,

we’ll believe in the power of a rip chord

to keep us safe.

 

This did not do.

This did not suffice.

 

I’ve never liked the edges of an airplane.

I’ve always wanted the wide open spaces,

of the green and grassy fields of the earth.

I’ve always wanted full breaths of warm air and morning dew.

I’ve only ever wanted the warmth and comfort of your presence.

 

And so I re-wrote the flight plan,

The best that I could.

I closed that fearful doorway and

landed the plane in our field.

And either at a distance or close by

I suppose I made arrangements.

I worked at loving you

From the center of my heart,

And though human and limited

It was perfect.

 

Today I walk in the cold, cleansing rain,

remembering your ways and your words.

I feel your necklace as it swings,

side to side, step by step

On the edges of a heart that

loved you from the very center.

 

I decide that

Warm tears and a cool rain will

fill an empty cup, eventually.

I decide to make arrangements;

and hold this vessel.

I determine to watch it fill, and overflow,

Full of gratitude, full of fire.

Full of rest and full of life.

 

Poetry: The Song

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The Song

By: Courtney Beck

 

“You’re so vain,” sings the Mama amidst the produce.

“You probably think this song is about you,”

she insists, in perfect pitch,  inspecting an orange. 

Her children clamor behind her

For candy and toys and trinkets

They are sure will satisfy,

But Mama has turned the energy she can muster

To the colors of the fruit at her waist.

 

She sings her song with rising power,

Drowning the children’s cries in Simon’s ironic melody.

We, her produce aisle companions,

Smile with our understanding

And carry the tune with us

To the parking lot.

Our paper bags filled

with the apples and pears and bananas

we’ve chosen,

Reminding us, if we’ll allow them,

of what this woman is trying to say:

 

Don’t postpone joy.

 

Truly, truly, I must insist.

Suffer the little children and

Pursue the golden fruit of a life 

Poured out in the produce aisle,

Received again and again,

in our parking lots,

and at our kitchen tables.

 

What good do the candy and trinkets and toys do

if we wait?

If we wait, the clamor is all that we have.

If we wait, the children will swarm.

If we wait, we all,

but mostly you,

will miss the song.

 

And don’t you know this song is about you?

Don’t you know this song is not about you at all?

Don’t you?

Don’t you?

Well, do you?

 

 

Come to the Table

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I’ll never forget the first time I heard these words:

“Lord, you have called us to abundant life.”

We were at our small group leaders’ home in Towson, Maryland and my new friend Heather (who is now, 15? years later, the “friend of my right hand” – to quote Madeleine L’Engle) was praying for us. Just before beginning to pray she and I and our husband/boyfriend (Andy and I were not yet engaged!) had let out literal belly laughs as we’d remembered our time together the weekend before. The previous Saturday we had attended a fund raising party for a couple in our church that was adopting a child. This party was bananas. Wine and drinks flowed. Music bellowed throughout the beautiful home in northern Baltimore where the party hosts, also members of our church, lived. The food and drink: delicious and overflowing. We all paid $50 to attend in support of the adoption fund and just had a bonkers night on behalf of this wonderful couple that we all knew and loved who wanted to grow their family.

It was one of those nights that you think about for weeks afterwards and which Heather capped so perfectly through her prayer.

“Lord, our Father, you have called us to abundant life.”

Her prayer caused me to pause because after two dozen years in church I had never heard this before. If I had, it certainly hadn’t stuck. Abundant life? That sounds wonderful!

And this is allowed?

I wondered…and then I thought about our weekend. That party was abundant life, FOR SURE. If that’s what a life with the church and a life with the Lord is like, then count me in 10,000 times over and then some.

This is all coming to mind as Andy and I celebrate 10 years on our shared adventure of faith. Last weekend, August 17, was 10 years to the day that Andy packed up our Subaru in Baltimore and headed South to Galveston to start his PhD program. I would follow him a couple of months later after I finished up my duties at work.

Realizing the date over the course of this last week we determined to wake up super early on Saturday morning and have coffee together before our kids woke up, clamoring for breakfast. The past six months haven’t been the easiest as we’ve attended to a newborn and stretched our parenting muscles from one child to two. Lighting a candle in the backyard and enjoying a cup of coffee together while the sun rose was just the simple moment we needed to reflect on what has happened over the past decade and where we hope to go next.

The past ten years have not been easy. Nor, though, have they been utterly devastating. I suppose, if anything, its felt like we’ve been at the spiritual gym, gaining some spiritual resilience. Each of us have let go of things that we needed to loosen our grip on. Both of us have learned bit by bit to tune our hearts and our spirits to the Lord’s call. This process of discernment, we have learned, is almost always asking to be found underneath all the crap that we pile on top of it. Both of us have learned that we don’t have nearly as much control over where our journey will take us as we may have originally wanted.

But all of those lessons had us up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning sitting in our backyard (such that it is…picture a cement pad with a table and two chairs looking at neighboring apartments…URBAN LIVING, right?!), with two kids asleep in their room, a candle burning and some coffee…asking for more:

More career question marks that God figures out in his own perfect timing

More dinners with good friends that last far too late into the night

More gatherings around friends and their families at their weddings, where we lift them up in our hearts (and possibly in their chairs!) and remember our own commitments

Maybe, dare I say it, more gatherings around friends and family who are mourning, knowing that we’ll remember for weeks and years how we held vigil, singing for hours, until our beloved brother finally went home. More of this because we know its where we’re all headed. And more of this because it brings us to tears to this day as we think about it and remember, with awe, how a small band of people helped a widow and her family grieve in the most beautiful way we’ve ever seen.

More labor and delivery…of actual humans, sure, should the Lord lead…but also labor and delivery of long held dreams that we’d started to believe would never come to pass until suddenly its time to push and the angels rush the room to help us bring forth the life that we never knew we always wanted.

24 years in church and I never knew it could be like this. Or maybe it just took 24 years of hearing the same things over and over again until the penny finally dropped and we woke up to what those 24 years of inputs actually meant.

It means abundant life in partnership with the living God.

This is, frankly, where we landed on Saturday morning. We’re asking for ten (20, 30, 40?) more years of faithful partnership with each other. Faithful partnership with our kids. Faithful partnership with our church. Faithful partnership to A PLACE. Ultimately, despite our preferences, we want many more years of faithful partnership with the Holy Spirit who will provide the power and resources needed to make a beautiful story out of two people who can, in reality, be more prone to forget that God was the author and inventor of faithful partnerships from the outset.

Reader, can I be honest with you? Most of this stuff is not sexy. Lest I mislead you, be aware that even this powerful morning coffee date between Andy and I required some divine assistance to stay on course. But somehow, as the years pass and we loosen our fingers from things we once held with a death grip, we are finding that there’s room for the spirit of God to do his thing in our lives. And this is just so refreshing.

So, if you’re reading this and your skeptical I say to you simply this:

“Come to the table.”

The table of the Lord is where you’ll find the fine wine every time. You’ll have the best conversations here and you’ll be fed in ways you never imagined you could be fed. Eventually, maybe even 10 years from now, you’ll find that you’ve realized, you simply can’t fathom why you would ever have wanted to leave in the first place.

If you’re reading this and your question is: “Ok, but how?” that can be a longer discussion (so clearly we’ll need more wine!). I may address this in more detail in my next few posts, but I believe that it starts with a moment of humility. It starts in the quiet, just you and God, where you’re finally honest with him.  Tell him you don’t know how to find him. Tell him your fears. Tell him what you want. Ask him to show you how to proceed. Ask him to show himself to you in ways you can understand. Readers, I have never, EVER, prayed a prayer of humility and not found him unwilling to sit with me. Answers often come later than I’d like. But presence? This is literally the Holy Spirits job description. Which is ultimately what we all want in this life. To quote a favorite speaker of mine: “the Holy Spirit came to put an end to loneliness.” Yes, more of this please.

10 years ago I believed that God was good like I believed marriage, homeownership and a retirement plan were good. Today, I believe God is good and “for me” in such an ultimate way that anything else he gives me from this point forward is icing on the cake. I feel like I finally know the path I must take to be who I really am. What a fundamental shift. What a gift to loosen the grip on things that do not ultimately satisfy.

You can call me crazy. (Lord knows I often feel crazy.) But I will just never get over this good news. So come sit at the table with me. I am a hot mess most days wondering how we’re going to get all of the things done and who will help me to do it. The reality is that God’s already got the details covered and I’m supposed to keep my eyes on the man at the head of the table. He’s got scars on his hands but he’s not out of business. He’s preparing an epic feast and you’re going to want some of what he’s cooking up.

Poetry: Let’s Be Brave

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Let’s Be Brave

By: Courtney Beck

 

When Galileo considered the cosmos,

Did he panic?

Did his heart leap in his chest,

And his guts try to hide?

 

Or, for a minute, did he

Stammer, like the Establishment?

Furrowed brow, clenched fist

Insistent on a power only as strong,

As their beating hearts,

Now forgotten, in an abandoned cemetery,

Across the impossible sea.

 

And what about me?

I awake today, restless,

Awaiting a morning sun,

Whose rising I cannot hasten,

Nor stop.

 

I consider a sliver

Of the sunlit moon,

Curling my hands around

My morning coffee mug.

 

Inhaling the space between us

Where human bodies rest,

I wonder.

Are we impotent?

Possibly.

Microscopically vital?

Yes.

 

“Let’s be brave,” I whisper,

“Let’s have faith.”

“Let’s build a chapel on the moon.”

Newly Published

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Greetings all! A quick note here to share that I’ve got some new articles out at external publications. America magazine (the Jesuit publication of the Catholic church) picked up a piece I wrote about my time both at Loyola University and in the Protestant church.

Check it out here.

Fathom Magazine picks up pieces from writers who like to think deeply on aspects of life and faith and so they kindly published a poem I wrote.

Check it out here.

I’m currently considering what the Fall writing season will look like and hope to have more posts out here and elsewhere during that time. I am grateful for my small and growing community here who has been such an encouragement to keep putting words down as we build our physical family and community here in Atlanta.

Would love to hear from you directly to learn about what the Holy Spirit is (or isn’t!) doing in your life. If I can encourage you in anyway, do consider me an ally and a friend – and I will do the same with you. Also, if there’s something you’d like me to consider writing about I’d love to hear that too.

Until then, I leave you with my favorite picture and poem from summer vacation. Sunrise on the lake…which followed a late night meteor shower across the visible Milky Way. (Which was then followed by a really long nap!) We are rested here and ready for what Fall has in store. I hope you are too.

With love,

Courtney

lake

First Lesson
By: Philip Booth

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.