Tag Archives: love

FROM FEAR TO LOVE By Phyllis Kester, Denver, Colorado

My journey from fear to love began over 75 years ago.  Orphaned and homeless at 18 months of age produced its own DNA:  fear of annihilation.   Simultaneously with my childhood experience of losing home and parent came the blessing of two homes and families.   One was my aunt and uncle’s home and family.  One was a church home and family.   The two were a powerful pair.

Throughout my long life, these two bedrock forces (loss and blessing) created a tension between fear and love.   The primal fear of non-existence would be triggered by major life events for eight decades.

Whenever I would encounter homeless men and women on the street—or orphans in the media or in real life—it was like seeing my own reflection in a mirror.  It was a stark reminder of my beginnings.   It was an instant re-play of my fear of annihilation. It was always unsettling.  It always made me turn away.

Tugging within me from another direction has been the Gospel message repeated again and again:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  “I was hungry and you fed me.” “I was naked and you clothed me.”    “Feed my sheep.” “Tend my lambs.”  “Sell all you have and give to the poor.”    Coupled with the Gospel message has been the on-going nurturing of my physical family and friends and long-time spiritual practices.  God works in a mysterious way—through people, events, prayer, and time.

Fast-forward to 2016:  Enter Ed Watson, Missioner in Residence at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver where I am a member.  One bright winter day I wandered into his office.   Almost as if on cue, he invited me to join him at the St. Francis Center for the homeless.  “Would you like to come with me on Friday?”

Something inside me melted.  The life-long tension between fear and love dissolved.  I now volunteer every Friday.   No trace of fear is present.  Instead, I feel the same connection with the guests at St. Francis that I felt in the three inner-city schools where I taught in the past.  It’s hard work.  But the love there released me from the bondage of fear.

 

UNCONQUERABLE LOVE, a poem By Roger Fears, First Year M.Div. Student

Starving for life,
Unbeating heart encased in stone.
Dying of thirst,
Afraid of pain yet suffering alone.

New pouring out,
Rock gives way to writhing flesh.
The curtain torn,
Dust and holy breath renewed afresh.

Horizon breaks,
Morning overcomes the grip of night.
Love rising,
Darkness unable to contain the light.

Restored to rights,
Hope arrives; fluttering on the dove.
Fully enthroned,
Victory realized; unconquerable love.

“THE BIKE RIDE”: A POEM by Carina Schiltz, MDiv student

AUTHOR MINI-BIO: Carina was inspired to write this poem by her work at a local elementary school.

“The Bike Ride”

Dearest child who cried today:

I can’t tell you your life is going to be better.

When your mom came and rode away with you on the bike
all I could think about while you sobbed was
the air flowing in and out of your lungs
as the sobs built to a wail
rolling over all who heard it
but tried so hard not to.

I have no idea how she balanced you
or balances her life–
her reality.

I live in utter privilege
and it makes me sick that I cannot escape it.
Instead I add to it; I encourage it
I bow down in homage to it.
I am bound to it and it separates me from you–
your reality

How I wish I could duck my shoulder
and crash into that barrier
pulverizing it; shattering it into something smaller:
perhaps a mirror where I could see you in me
and I in you–
but sin prevents us; society prevents us; I prevent us.

You have challenges ahead of you I cannot begin to imagine
and you are five.

You cannot even zip up your own winter coat yet.
As I helped you today your huge eyes bored into mine.
Will you remember tomorrow?
Will I?
Will we remember that my eyes looked at you in love?

Your braids bounce against your face as you run and play tag.
Even during the game your countenance is so solemn.
I hardly see you laugh or smile.

Once in awhile–how my heart flips when I see it–
your face breaks open to reveal that you are still a child
still find wonder
still grasp the joy of realizing that somehow,
life
is
good

But today,
your face crumpled instead.

You instantly start to cry when your mother
does her best
to transport you from here to your home in 25 degree weather
driving a bicycle and clutching you to her through the dark streets:
I curse my own warm, empty car.

How hollow is my drive home
as I imagine your tears freezing to your face
on your night journey past neon-lit bars
and vacant front porches.

How universal is your story?

I pray you rest well tonight;
that someone tucks you in
tells you they love you that you are important
that you can change the world.

You changed mine.