We’re creaky,
a little worse for wear,
orangey rough sharp edges.

When you open us up like gates,
we make a racket
and feel some embarrassed,
like maybe we should have buffed out the bumpy parts and
greased the creaky parts
and put out shiny best,
but you and me, we can’t kid each other.
We know we’re all dinged up.

When we sit cradling cups of prayer and coffee,
and when we share broken and winding dreams over beers,
and when we listen for the small voice in the middle of the urban woods
and hold tight to the one that says
blessed are the poor in spirit,
we enter into the truth of one another’s banged up messes.

And when you see the rust on my gates,
and call even that beautiful,
because you understand it’s my human wear and tear,
my journey and my story,
the part of me that longs for shiny eases up a bit and exhales
because it’s good to be known.

And when I say, “yes, exactly” and “me too,” I’m telling you
I’m glad you opened your gate for me
because your patina is lovely (and familiar), and it’s quite possibly
evidence of where hope hides with you,
wanting to be known even as you seek cover.

When you say, like a proud auntie, that you see how I’ve grown,
when you chart my progress in your words and tell me
I’m drawing closer to God, and it is good,
it is then, friend, that you oil my gates.

When I tell you that I see a book being birthed in you,
and when I tell you that you teach me to be brave with your
free flow of color across paper,
and when I sit with you as you cry,
I oil your gates.

We open up even though it hurts,
help each other remember these creaking joints
and spilling out messes from behind fences aren’t the whole story.
They’re more like invitations, another way through to
all these glorious tales in our making.


Linking with the team of writers at Concrete Words with the prompt RUST. (I was certainly inspired by Tammy Hendricksmeyer’s beautiful offering there this week!) So honored to be a part of that word-weaving troupe of beauty. Check us out here. Also joining up with the (in)courage community groups as we write on the Power of Encouragement. Join me in either place. I’d love to see your words poured out as we walk each other home.

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