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poetry: 'jacob, the morning after'

· poetry,theology

Hello, dear ones!

Seeing as how I'm currently preparing to move from New York City to Portland, OR--which, if you check the map, is about as "across the country" as you can get in these United States--I'm taking a break from "reflectionaries" until the beginning of Advent (Sunday, December 1). The beginning of the church year, and the first Sunday I'll spend in my new home in the PNW, seems like a good time to "restart."

In the meantime, I'm also getting my second EP, God Is Still Speaking: Songs of the Spirit, Vol. 2 ready for release on Friday, November 29 on Bandcamp, while also plugging away with several writing projects. So there's still plenty of creative stuff going on - just not theological reflection on the lectionary for a little while!

In lieu of that, I'd like to offer a poem I wrote last month, riffing on the theme of the last full-fledged "reflectionary" I posted, about the story of Jacob's all-night wrestling match in Genesis 32:22-32. It reflects the God-wrestling I've been doing in my own life, as I finished a novel near and dear to my heart and made the decision to move to Portland, all while doing my best to take care of my mental health and my relationships. (Big props to my incredible fiance, who's kept up with me and supported my process every step of the way.)

So: here's "Jacob, the Morning After." I look forward to sharing more music with you soon, and will see you back on the lectionary track in Advent.

Blessin's, --Tom



Dizzy. That’s how he must have felt,

limping across the river to find his family

and his flocks, after a night in which

nothing else existed. Dizzy, dehydrated,

alive. Every step, every wince a

mnemonic: last night could not be

forgotten. Leah would have fetched

him water, and food, and told him

to keep his leg elevated. If she’d had

an ice pack handy, I’m sure she would

have applied that too. Rachel

would have held him close, close

in the grey morning. Both are needful kinds

of aftercare, when the soul has wrestled

with what lies within it and beyond it.


What then, are we to make of his

injury, the blessing be bore away

from a night spent in the arms of God?

Better the question: what did he make

of it? The answer: a story—and from

that, a people. For story is what remains

when the struggle is over, its best and

only evidence. And struggle requires

a wounding, as the part of the teller

that was the tale passes from her

body and into a world that will

make and remake with it ever anew.

He walked with a limp ever after.

Poem © 2019 by Tom Emanuel

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