Poetry Wednesday, Vol. 101

Turtle Toward Bethlehem

Norma Farber

I’m slow as molasses
That’s me, that’s my nature.
From every last creature
Bethlehem -bound who passes,
I’m begging for a lift.
Lion sweeps by,
Lamb right beside him.
Camel comes loping. 
I holler.  I’m hoping
he’ll ask me to ride him.
Please get me to the manger on time!
I need to be there
while the baby’s still new.
Next summer won’t do.
He’s in the stable today.
Tomorrow who knows?
Amazing how fast
an infant grows.
Please get me to the stable on time!
Hello Ram, with horns in your bonnet.
How tempting your back!
I wish I was on it.
Please get me to the manger on time!
Galumphing Baboon.
Big Bull, Brown Beaver, Cinnamon Bear.
Not none with a second to spare —
not Cony, not Coon.
Who are these three?
They’re Kings!  They’re stopping. And stooping.  For me?

I’m getting to the manger on time!
While waiting in the back of the church for girls in their Christmas Choir practice last night, the boys and I read When It Snowed That Night, a series of poems about the Christ child being born and all the imagined characters around him.  Cute, whimsical little poems, accompanied by cute, whimsical drawings.  It didn’t keep their attention much longer than the time it took me to read the poetry, but it was a sweet diversion from using the pews as a jungle gym as my antsy boys waited (im)patiently for their sisters to be done.  
This is the closest I’ll come to publicly admitting that I am struggling.  Struggling, dear ones.  While Mom and then my sister’s family were here, I could forget in all the busyness and traveling my inner thoughts.  While in Pennsylvania it was easy to become wrapped in the happiness of seeing long missed family.  But on my way home, it was just me, the kids and my thoughts.  I was feeling so weighed down with all the people I know, dear to me who are hurting.  I was wondering how to help them.  How do I lift them up?  How do I save the world?  I spent time thinking up new directions to go, new ways to help those around me, different ways to reach out and show love.  Through my love and my actions alone I would help them all!  Of course.
Something happened, though.  We came home and through a series of incidents, both large and small, most of them my own doing, I was forced to confront the fact that it isn’t me who can save the world.  It isn’t me who can make the people I love feel better.  It is, in fact, me who needs help. 
 It is me who needs saving.  
All I can do is fall to my knees and beg, “Lord have mercy on me.”  Not on that person there, not on the other person who seems to be worse off than us, not on my loved ones who need His grace.  
No, Lord have mercy on me.  Because what I can do for those around me is directly related to what God has done in me.  What I have allowed him to do in me.  His saving grace is the only thing I can focus on right now.  I can’t change the world.  I can’t even change myself.  
Right now it is hard.  I feel like that turtle.  I need to jump on some one’s back and have them take me to that manger.   Not because I am so excited and moving too slowly, but because I am moving too slowly and am lacking the strength to make it on my own.  So pray for me, for us, will you?  Lift me on your back in prayer, carry me along to the manger.   Lord have mercy.