Tag Archives: life

SENSING MISERY By Terese TouVelle and Teri Wagner, M.A. in Diaconal Ministry Students

How does one recognize misery? These are our images of misery.

  • When the blankets in a nursing home resident’s room smells like urine and there is feces on the wall.
  • The couple crying over their new born who will not survive the night.
  • The cancer patient who knows she will not live long enough to attend her daughter’s wedding.
  • The elderly person who has no dentures because they lay broken on the floor and there is no money to replace them.
  • The old man who talks about his war years because they were his glory days when he felt alive.
  • A husband who must decide to remove life support from his wife of 62 years.
  • The wife of a stroke victim who hasn’t heard her husband speak her name in twelve years.
  • The prisoner who is admitted to the hospital to die but his family never shows up.
  • The teen who attempted suicide because he believes he is worthless.
  • The family surrounding the bed of their dying mother.
  • The oncology nurse who is tired of losing patients.
  • The young, gay man who is beaten up by classmates.
  • The daughter whose mother no longer remembers her name
  • The woman whose husband tells her that it is her fault that he beats her.
  • The doctor who must tell a family that he has done all he can.
  • Seeing and hearing your child whipped.
  • The woman who trusted police because they were supposed to protect and serve and then was treated horribly.
  • The child whose only meal today will be what is served at school.
  • Having barely enough money for bus fare and getting to the clinic to find they have closed.
  • The sound of too many empty liquor bottles rattling together in a garbage can.
  • A mother whose autistic child won’t let her hold him.
  • A married couple sharing a house filled with angry silence.
  • A woman who can’t take enough showers to wash away the touch of a rapist.
  • The single mother who works two jobs but still can’t afford to buy her children a birthday present.
  • The fifty-year-old man who wonders how he will provide for his family now that the mill has closed.
  • The millions of people who wonder if there really is a God.

KINGDOM? by Craig Nessan, WTS Academic Dean

Kingdom?

Just on the other side of the road.
Through the thin place.
Knock on the door.
Across the limen.
In the face.
Caring word.
Lending hand.
Taking time.
Interpret generously.
Choosing not to take offense.
Including.
Jesus breaking and entering.
Guilty as charged.
Alive again.

A CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Jennae Giles

Are you here?
I AM

Were you there?
YES, I WAS … I AM … I WIL BE.

The whys … the how’s … they overwhelm me.
I AM THE BEGINNING AND THE END … THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA

I cannot see you.
LIKE THE STARS OF NIGHT THAT ARE ALWAYS THERE, HIDDEN BY THE LIGHT OF DAY, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.

It’s too hard … too much.
LEAN ON ME, IT WON’T ALWAYS BE EASY, BUT WITH MY HELP YOU CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS DARK VALLEY.

I don’t know what to do … where to go.
I WILL LEAD YOU AND SHOW YOU THE WAY OF LIFE.

THE VOICE WITHIN by Tammy K. Barthels, M.Div. Junior

 More often than not we fail to embrace who God created us to be and instead view ourselves through the lens through which society and culture see us. We search for a love–that only God can give us–in things that are not life-giving and we are left empty. We allow society to strip us of our authenticity until we can no longer recognize the unique individuals God has created us to be. God, however, invites us daily to go within and seek the goodness God has created. Allowing ourselves silence and solitude, we will begin to hear God’s voice speaking to us, telling us that we are beloved children of God.

This poem was written in the reflection of God’s love that is calling us from within.

Remain still.

Breathe.

Embrace the Divine,

Within, daily.

Do not forget,

You are a Child of God.

You carry within you,

Everything you need.

Live with passion.

Discover.

Celebrate who you are.

Rejoice, be glad.

Embrace all you are.

For the Divine created you,

And you are good.

JONAH’S SONG by Rev. Peter Heide, Baraboo, WI, WTS, 1996

“It is not fair!” I cry overcome with rage,
That I, in darkness, must proclaim the light;
That I, sightless, must proclaim the vision;
That I, without sight, must see the goodness of creation
And bear witness to the forest of walking trees,
With grafted branches of cross-purposed fruit
That, lifted high in Easter light,
Know only self-gratified comfort in succulent wholeness given
Not seeing the bruised compassing their island fortune
Or windfalls, grounded, split and broken.
“It is not fair!” I cry overcome by rage
That I, in uncharted spaces and fearful of misstep falling,
Must walk into the void, cane feeling, disabled,
No thanks to God for life and being,
Only thoughts of murderous envy
Of the ables, who freely move, not seeing,
Speaking ridiculing laughter, lamenting of pessimistic fate
And burdened lives of privileged living,
Insensate, offering aid of demeaning condescension,
Unintentionally stripping personhood and accomplishment without question.
“It is not fair!” I cry overcome with rage,
That I, cast down from judgment gate, must stand
And go to be swallowed up in color prejudice,
neon sirens’ calling, fashion statement wearing, and icon branding,
It rolls like building waves upon the shore.
To be spewed up on alien land, this Nineveh, to proclaim favor, restoration.
Far better would be shame and ashes—bended knee humiliation,
But your judgment hangs with grace
Forgiving even their unknowing
And my own empty railing.
“It is not fair!” I cry overcome with rage outside the walls of your embrace,
Away from challenging interaction and site of restoration relationship;
And I am angry enough to die.
Yet you continue to speak creation into being;
You surround me with spirit breezes blowing,
Song bird singing, wheat grass growing, grape vine clinging,
And words of forgiving interaction:
“You and all people, for the forgiveness of sin,”
Claiming me as justified partner, including me as one of them,
In conversation of mutual need.
“Thank God! It is not fair!”