Poetry Prompt – Benches

The women sat on benches
lining the wall
their heads bent low
as their fingers danced
over stitches
in the clothes
they mended.

The middle of the room
held several buckets
collecting the drips
that consistently fell
from the leaking roof

which is why
the women’s benches
lined the walls

usually they were
lined up
in channels
across the center of the room
they could sit closer
to the only source of heat
this way

the black stove
sat in the center
of the room
(surrounded by buckets)
putting out heat
but not quite
reaching the women
who sat on benches
lining the walls

the bulk orders
of hemming to be done
were piled in the corners
a looming task
as the women shivered
as they sat
on benches
that lined the walls

They swore
this was not the life
they had thought of
when they were
who still dreamed

They pictured themselves
in soft satin gloves
dresses that cost
more than they could fathom
and no need to life a finger
to help their family
to survive

but this is now
their reality
shivering as they
stitched til their fingers
bled on white cotton
and they had to start again
after rinsing the blood
sweat and tears
from the clothes

as they sat
on benches
that lined the walls.



#TellHisStory – Divine Appointments

Yesterday I was in a waiting room at a clinic , taking in the people around me and waiting my turn. As many of you know, I am not generally a shy person so I usually end up striking up a conversation with someone that I sit near.
There was a lady and man sitting next to me. They were talking about finding parking (which in this particular area in hit or miss). He indicated that he had to drive a bit to find parking and had found a spot outside an elementary school. He looked up to find several young men leaning on the metal fence and looking down the street. As he exited his car, they yelled to him “Excuse me sir. Excuse me, mister” He looked up and they said, “Would you be able to get our ball, its down there a bit and has gone under a car.” The man looked where they were pointing and saw a yellow soccer ball stuck under the back of a car. He went and retrieved the ball, and as he walked back to give them the ball they boys began to chant ‘M-V-P, M-V-P” They received their ball back with thanks and the man went on his way. My comment to him was, ‘Now that is a great way to start a Monday.”

And this story stuck with me. How much did it cost that man to go out of his way for complete strangers? Not too much (well I don’t truly know this, but I’d guess this to be true). And yet so often, I see so many (myself included) that by pass things they could be involved in because its ‘not mine to mess with’ or ‘i don’t want to get involved’. I think a lot of the time, I am just not wanting to feel uncomfortable, truth be told. The situation or talking to the person might mean that I am somehow inconvenienced and for some reason that deters me. Many articles that I’ve read recently and instances in my own life have me thinking of the fact that each person is made in the image of God and each person has inherent dignity. While there may be a legitimate reason that I am not able to assist someone at the moment, it is integral that I check my actions and see if I am stepping away from an opportunity that God has placed in my journey.

I remember someone telling me that every morning when they woke up that they would ask God to provide opportunities to share Him with the world, divine opportunities they called them. And I wonder what my life would look like if my eyes were more open to the opportunities that surround me, rather then being preoccupied by what they might cost me. I am being challenged in this, and am not sure how to be consistent in this, but it something that I am seeing as costing me personally so little, and who knows what kind of difference in might make in someone’s life. Maybe this opportunity is a divine appointment that God’s set up…actually, there is no maybe about it.

linking with Mary over at marygeisen.com for Tell His Story >>”Each week we gather as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs yours.”

#FMF – Fly

Joining up with the crew over at Five Minute Friday to write on one word for five minutes, link up and then check out other reflections. One of my favourite communities.

She’s a spunky little thing
Strutting around, kicking up dust
She knows this place
Like she know the path of flight

The sounds of wings fill my ears
Echoing off the stones around us
It feels like the rush of wind
While you are standing still

She cocks her head
And pins me with her beady eye
She wants to tell me something
I just don’t know what to say
or how to hear

Her scratching in the dust
Resembles hieroglyphs
Her fluttering about
Seems to contain a pattern
But I am unable to decipher it

I close my eyes in frustration
And her coos excell in urgency
She’s moved closer
Like proximity can give me understanding

Maybe the story
Is about what she has seen
Where she has gone
Where she is going

She wants me to know
Sometimes she can’t always
Express herself either
But life goes on

And she turns from me
A quick flash, glint in her eye
She lifts a wing in seeming salute
And she is flying…into her unknown

Image: Unsplash – Daniel Ruyter, edited with Canva

#FMF – Return

He gathered
The land
He had spoke
Into being
Shaped it with
Great care
And precision
Not just any creation
Set apart
From the moment
His hands
To set the shape
His breathe
Making fully alive
Created from
Simple ingredients
That in
A Divine Designers hands
Became created

So often
We lose sight
Of our frailty
From the specks
From which
We are created
We see ourselves
As more than we are
More than
We were created to be

It is only when
Those solemn words
Are spoken
“To dust you shall return”
That we remember
We are created
We are not infinite
We are stepping toward death
Every moment
We are alive

And yet
That is not the end
This return
To what we were
Signals the start
Of something new

Image: Unsplash- Kunj Parekh edited in Canva

Joining with my dear community Five Minute Friday where we gather around one word, write four five minutes and then gather together to share and read.

on the horizon

She could taste it on the wind
a particular hardness
a flavor of regret
a reckoning was coming

The luminous sky
gave no hint of the
rage to come

but she knew the mountains
could embrace moisture
like a person holding a grudge

and abruptly
the clouds would converge
in a harrowing shadow
and pour swelling wrath
down on the valley below

#FMF – Pause

It is hard to describe.
There is a sharp turn to the right and you make a split second decision to enter the parking lot.
You saw it coming on the map. “Observation point” it declared.
As you climb the switchbacks and meander through the redwoods, your eyes are filled with wonder.
Exiting the car I don’t think I could begin to comprehend what spread out before me.
It hadn-t really felt like ascent as we drove the miles deeper into the park. But we found ourselves on the edge of a precipice.
Farther than my eye could see stretched the expanse of National Park. It was majestic. Raw beauty.
But it wasn’t until some people with binoculars caught my attention did I understand the immensity of what lay in full view. There were people scaling the large domed rock, people who looked the size of ants when looking through binoculars.
I took a moment. I paused. I tried to truly grasp that our Creator had handcrafted this beautiful scene and it was more than I could comprehend.
And yet my gratefulness to Him for sharing this gift cannot be measured.

Photo is my own, edited with Canva

#FMF – Secret

Joining up with many fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday as we write on a one word prompt for five minutes. Be sure to check out what those around you have written. This place is one of my favourite communities!

Prompt: Secret

Its been about two years. So much confusion, frustration and anger.

From the beginning I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I kept convincing myself otherwise.

Its not the first time this has happened but perhaps this time it will be the last.

I’ve always found that being just friends with members of the opposite sex (who are single) has been a challenge. I have developed a mindset that can’t see past attraction in the beginning.

There have been friendships that have come to a place of true friendship, though in many I have still questioned my underlying reasons.

I have talked about him with few peope because honestly I had heard enough “Bad idea Janel” from friends.

I said that we were over and done so many times but then I would give up being mad and try again. I don’t know why…perhaps he would be different, perhaps I was delusional.

There were nights I could hardly sleep becaus I was so bothered by what he said and I would try to make sense of it.

There were times when I would be so angry that I would blow up and tell my parents what went down and they would say “why are you doing this again?”

And one night, i said yes to a charade that nearly choked me as I realized just how far from respecting myself I had fallen.

Three weeks ago….i had another conversation with someone who said “Walk away. Do not give in again and pretend that everything is fine”

Its been tough. It is best. Its a constant battle to not berate myself for what the last two years entailed.

That is one of my secrets