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The Crossings

The Story

by Dr. Bryan Isaac

 

Creator’s might
Crafts our delight,
His works reveal His nature.
The land, the sky,
The birds that fly;
Our planet’s every creature.

Then humans came,
Born in His name,
God’s plan? With us, relate!
But we said “no,”
Our way we’d go:
Rejecting God, our fate.

Ties to renew,
God chose a few;
Through them all nations blesses.
He led this race –
They’d see His face;
Gave Law and Scriptures, precious.

Long years passed by,
Their faith ran dry,
God’s favored were cast out.
Yet David’s seed,
God’s Prince of Peace,
By love would win: no doubt.

God’s only Son
To Earth did come,
The perfect Incarnation.
He came to die,
Then rose on high –
The needed resurrection.

So now God dares
To call us heirs;
Through Christ we are forgiven .
With Him we’ll live,
All praise we’ll give,
Abide with God in heaven.

 

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An Ode to My Childhood as a Carnie

by Rebekah Miller

See the July night, red-white striped tents,

 lights from rides’ mounts.

Smell the cotton candy pink and popcorn buttered.

Stationary horses whinny

as they go round and round.

The street’s full of clowns and

painted faces and ice-cream and churches and

jeeps and tickets and laughter and

 

The Guardians.

Carnival, you wouldn’t be complete without

Them.

Parents who love their offspring so much they

don’t mind injuring someone else’s.

 

The fuming height sticks make houses of

mirrors.

 

Do you like what you see, Carnival?

 

Do you miss my crawls through moonwalk innards?

The claustrophobia as playful walls

cast their eerie crimson light?

 

Carnival, are you Fair?

Amidst the balloons and bubbles,

I see your teeth.

 

Carnival, the daughter of the Ferris Wheel Operator

has become her own Strong Man.

 

I walk my tightrope with no

net to catch.

I don’t hide my face behind your

bulbous red nose.

 

I have found the courage to choke down the sword

and breathe fire flames.

 

Carnival, you are no longer the ringmaster.

 

I will shoot myself to the stars

out of your old, rusty cannon.

 

And as I soar my wings in flight,

far, far below

will be the tent You built crumbling down

in the flames I set ablaze.

Fallen Cherub

by Susan Miley 

A little girl in a Baptist Church

might’ve fallen from Heaven.

Her fluffy eyelashes

and paired wings flutter,

as she beams under the glances

of the other church-goers.

In her white tights,

she giggles quietly.

Her golden curls

bounce and bounce

as her black Mary Janes

click and click

She says please and thank you;

she smiles bashfully behind

her mother. She’s like a lamb,

but instead of green meadows,

she lies still in the

orange velvet pew.

The ladies with pearls and powdered faces

leave red kisses on her cheeks.

The deacons invite her curiosity

at meetings, sneaking her candy

under the conference table.

Adored. Praised.

She is cast in every Christmas play.

She earns a 4.0 in Vacation Bible School.

She never misses a Sunday.

On Easter, wrapped in a

pink dress and topped

with an elegant hat,

her devil tail and

devil horns poke,

hidden from the preacher.

After service, her family

slides into the Cadillac.

Suddenly, her dress is too itchy.

Her baby sister is far too close

and there’s no place to put

her dolly.

She cries, “I’m so cold!”

but soon wails, “I’m too hot!”

She complains that she’s hungry

but not for that restaurant.

“I want what I want!” she thinks,

“Isn’t that what Jesus wants?”

Her mother glares into the

rear-view mirror.

The little girl frowns,

folding her arms across

her chest.

“What?” she asks in surprise

to her mother’s reflection.

“At least I’m not like the

loud kids from the bad neighborhood.

Mommy, they never bring their Bibles

and they don’t know John 3:16!

They wear dirty jeans

and tennis shoes to church, Mommy—

to church!”

She plops her head

in her hand with a pout.

“I’m a good girl,” she remembers.

“Jesus loves me,

this I know!”

Yes, she sings.

Jesus loves the good girl—

the Bible tells her so.

Sweet Girl

by Emily Sefcheck

Tell me, sweet girl,                                                                                                                          Who told you that you would never amount to anything?                                                  What is it that makes you believe that you don’t deserve love?                                          Why is it that you believe that fractures of your heart are too deep and too wide to be stitched together?

What is it, sweet girl,                                                                                                                     That convinced you that the brokenness you carry is “too much”?                                   That the scars that you have been hiding make you weak?                                                 That you will simply end up like the women that came before you?

Oh, sweet girl,                                                                                                                                     Do you hate what you have become?                                                                                           Do you wish you could turn back time and merely blot out your existence?                       Or do you wish that things were simply different?

When I look at you, sweet girl,                                                                                                           I see a fighter.                                                                                                                                         I see a world changer.                                                                                                                         I see a girl who is so deserving of love.

You, sweet girl, are not defined by the things that have happened to you.                          But you are a beautiful mosaic.                                                                                                Pieced together with strength and hope and love.

And one day, sweet girl, when you are ready,                                                                              You will prove all those people wrong,                                                                                       And shine for the whole world to see.

A Day

by Brianne Larson

8:01  My alarm is still buzzing causing the vibrations to alert me that another day is beginning.

8:32  I choose to hit the snooze button three more times and my tired body is finally forced to roll over and sit up and get out of bed. I have to get up and get going.

9:03  I have approximately forty-seven minutes to achieve a certain level of perfection, which requires a full face of makeup and putting each blonde hair perfectly into place, yet this Monday morning I barely have enough energy to put on sweatpants. Yet, I rummage through my closet anyways and put on a shirt that cost me $42 but at least I know someone will let me know I look cute today, and for some reason it’s worth all the effort. I seek attention, and validation from other people is affirmation that I am worthy of their attention.

10:07  I sit in chapel and watch from my balcony seat as all the people walk by. I can pick out of the crowd a few people: some of them I hate, some of them I love, and some of them I wish I could switch places with. Why does it always feel like my life is a train that’s about to derail.

10:34  I’m tuning out the chapel speaker not because I’m not interested, but because the last time I listened, he brought up the topic of God being our Father. I lost the ability to see God as a father when my own father skewed my perception on what a father is. In my family, my father destroyed my happiness and abused my purity. I am incapable of imagining God as a father who seeks good for his children when I’ve never been given an earthly picture of what that looks like. So, I question myself and I question faith for 16 more minutes, but the day drags on and that’s all the time I am allowed to dwell on that subject.  I have to keep going but this thought haunts me.

10:57  I bump into my ex. I told him everything. He knows each and every part of who I am. Now he has become someone that I could never trust and never respect. I regret letting him into my life. I regret allowing him to walk through my darkest hours with me. But that was a year ago and my friends have told me I need to move on already. I dismiss the thought as I walk to class. I have to keep going.

11:06  As I finally sit down, I can’t get my mind to focus on what my professor is trying to say. There’s too much going through my head. I’m trying to block out all the anxiety. I have to be able to focus on this. I need to know this for the exam. I take a couple notes, but my mind still wanders back to the fact my grandpa is in the hospital and I have yet to call him. And my mind continues to wander to big life issues, the ones we don’t talk about. But the fact that we don’t talk about them doesn’t change the fact that they are still a part of my reality. But, I have to shut it down, block it out and keep going.

12:24  I sit in the dining commons writing, hoping I see a friendly face. I’m in need of a hug, because today has been exceptionally lonely. I don’t get one, so I stand up, throw out the food I barely touched this noon hour and keep going.

12:56  I sit down in class and take what feels like my first breath of the day. This class feels safe. That’s my favorite word and I probably use it too much but it’s the only way I can describe how my heart feels when I enter a space where I can let down my guard and let down my facade of perceived perfection and just be. There is no rush here, there’s a tranquility and a sense of peace. I can focus on the doing, instead of the going.

2:07  I rush into my last class of the day 2 minutes late. I am in the home stretch. This class is where I check my emails. I have 17 of them. Two are reminders that even though class ends at 3 pm, I still have commitments and responsibilities. I sigh, and cause the person in front of me to turn around. I smile at her as if to say “It’s alright.” Yet, to me it’s not because tonight I have to keep going.

3:11  I go see Taryn. She’s my saving grace. When life feels heavy and I am overwhelmed, she helps me breath and gives me the energy to keep moving. She’s my safe person and I know I pay her to listen to my problems, but I think she still would care regardless. She’s a phenomenal human. We talk, like we always do. I sit in her big comfy chair with my legs tucked up to my chest as she listens. And somehow, by listening, she makes the problems I face fade away. I know I can keep going.

4:47  My beige Ford Focus has seen me in my finest and darkest hours. It holds me as I cry. It zooms along as I blare the radio and have a mini jam session. The 8 minutes it takes me to get to work have become my favorite 8 minutes of every day. For those 8 minutes life is just blurring by me, and I do not have to be anyone or go anywhere. It’s just me. I no longer worry about the going or the doing. But 8 minutes is not very long, and I have to keep on going.

5:01 I walk into work, and place the hat on my head and a smile on my face as I clock in.

10:27 I finally clock out and find my way to my car.

11:42 I’ve been going all day. I have expanded all my energy. I am drained and exhausted. I curl up into a ball and lay my head on my pillow to get 6 hours of sleep before tomorrow comes and I have to keep going.

Sunrise

by Ashley Baughman

When I was a child, I cowered in fear when the night time slipped silently by.         I would fear that the darkness would tear me apart, that the shadows would come alive.                                                                                                                                I would close my eyes and hope that in time the sun would replace the moon.        I would hope that the monsters would stay away and the morning would be there soon.

When I got older, I realized that the darkness did not live in the night.                   It lived in our hearts and sat silently by until it could get a bite.                               A bite of innocence, a bite of love, a bite of anything beautiful.                                It yearned to overwhelm us all and wouldn’t stop till it was full.

But at the same time, I realized that the light was not only the sun.                        It was laughter and love and harmony, it was children having fun.                          It was more than enough to quench the dark, even in the darkest of hours.               It restored the love that darkness stole, it returned to us what was ours.

So now when I lay down to sleep, I do not fear the night.                                              For I know that when I rise, I’ll be greeted by the light.                                      That’s how it is for each of us, if only we open our eyes                                              To the glorious wonders shown to us every time the sun does rise.

Learning From Experience

by Stephanie Hickner

I always loved snow days as a child. The quietness of snow falling, the crisp coldness that chilled your nostrils, sitting inside by my overly warm wood burner, drinking hot chocolate, it was just enough to please my soul. I didn’t even care whether I was in school or not, looking out the window and seeing a white soft filter over everything that used to be brown and dead was something I had been waiting for since the end of summer.

Most snow days started with my brother’s typical celebration of no school. This one was no different. We immediately went to the closet so that we could get dressed for the frozen, icy tundra outside our door. I reached in and grabbed my snow suit, which was noticeably shorter than my brother’s, making it easier to spot. They were dark blue overalls stuffed with polyester and covered in nylon that would make a “shweep” noise every time my legs passed one another. It had multiple rips in it from where I got caught on various sticks and barbed wire, and the stuffing was slowly spilling out. It was slightly big because it was a hand-me-down from my oldest brother, down to my second brother, and finally to me. The polyester had broken down, and it wasn’t nearly as fluffy as it once was. I was always jealous of my brothers because they had upgraded to Carhartt snowsuits, and I was stuck with Walmart brand.

Once we were all completely ready, we went out and stomped through the backyard with our heavy-duty sleds dragging behind us, destroying the perfect scene that the snow had created. We trekked deep in to the woods filled with ice, grey trees, and animals we couldn’t see but only hear. There was a big, famous hill we were going to, and we knew the way almost too well.

Walking in that snow suit is one of the things I remember best about snow days. My mom would make me put on two pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, two shirts, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. I looked like a scene straight out of A Christmas Story. And if you can’t imagine the physical exertion it took to walk deep into the woods in two feet of snow, I envy you. I weighed about 15 pounds more than I usually did, and I would continually make my brothers stop and wait for me to catch my breath. For some reason, my mom didn’t care how many clothes they had under their snow suits.

Once we arrived at the hill, we would take a minute to stop and observe our surroundings. Nothing but nature was in sight. Right after the hill was an open plain that was usually filled with waist-high weeds, but now only a few plants poked out of the snow. If we looked closely past the plain, we saw a creek that was slowly freezing. On this particular day, it was slow-moving slush. We’d been sledding at this hill for years, and seeing it brought me comfort. Anytime I saw the hill in the summer, it just wasn’t the same. There is something about snow that makes me appreciate everything so much more.

After our brief pause, it was go time. My brothers were older than I so I got the sled that was the worst quality. I plopped my well-cushioned body down on the sled and scooted down the hill until a slick path was formed. Then we would spend hours out there, going up and down, up and down, with barely a pause in between. But, as you can imagine, climbing up that hill would tire out the most energetic child after a while. I finally took a break, and I just sat in the snow at the top of the hill and watched my brothers goof-off and wrestle at the bottom. But then, I noticed to my left, a metal rod sticking out of the ground. I tried to pull on it as hard as I could to see what the other end looked like, and I couldn’t get it out of the ground no matter how hard I tried. Then I remembered everything I had learned about cold metal in the winter. Well, the little scientist that I was, I wanted to test the age-old hypothesis. Once again, it was like a scene out of A Christmas Story.

As I sat there, contemplating my stupidity, tongue stuck flat on to this giant metal pole, I thought of my mom. She had always told me that, if I were to ever do it, I should think about rolling the saliva down my tongue to heat up the metal, and it would soon be released. That may have worked had I not stuck as much of my tongue on the metal as I possibly could. I heard my brothers coming up the hill, their voices getting louder and louder. I had to think fast. I knew that if they found out, I would never live this moment down. I closed my eyes tight, thought about roses and ponies, and quickly ripped my tongue off the metal pole like a Band-Aid. My mouth immediately filled with metallic-tasting liquid that seeped down my chin. I said nothing to my brothers and walked home as fast as I could. Once I made it to my backyard, I saw my dad in his scrubs leaving for work. I was even too embarrassed to tell him, so I made sure to spit all the blood out of my mouth before telling him I loved him. I stained the perfectly white snow with a trail of bright red all the way back from that hill. My mom was the only one I could tell, and she helped me as best she could. I never told my brothers the truth about that day, I just said that I cut my leg on a branch, which was believable enough considering all the rips in my snow suit. I couldn’t eat painlessly for a week.

A Poem About A Girl – Spoken Word

“A Poem About A Girl” performed by Spencer French at the Wham Bam Poetry Slam at Notre Dame.

A Poem Called Dawn

by Nicholas J. Weimer

As twilight begins retreating to the west,
I stand solemnly in the pasture;
like a towering oak.
The air, frigid from the late autumn frost
Penetrates my fingers;
like sunlight through an open window.
The starry heavens become paler and paler.
The east becomes deeper in scarlet;
The blood of a rose.
There I stand.
The moon,
The sun of the night,
so luminous.
So persistent is she, refusing to flee.
Her obstinate act is in vain.
For she begins to quickly fade,
And finally,
She becomes nothing;
Exiled into the fading night.
Then the sun, in his raiment of gold, arises.
His radiant rays strike my face.
The maple grove refracts his glory,
Lighting the russet, the gold, the scarlet afire.
The frost quietly sinks into the shadows.

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