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.
JACOB, THE MORNING AFTER
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