Wednesday, September 24, 2008

complaint dept

as the doors open
and the folks begin
to take numbers and line up,
he wanders around
kneeling to put a smile
on a cranky child's face;
soothing a mother worried
about catching the bus for work;
leaning over to hear
the frustrated grandfather
on his fifth visit this week.

as the crowd spills out the door,
the metal-shuttered window
flies up with a bang
and the baggy-eyed woman
who has been running
the department forever
(will she ever retire?)
leans her leathery elbows
on the scarred counter
and calls out 'number 1!'
she listens to each one,
and whispers (at the end)
to each to go around the corner . . .

. . . where they find a kiosk
carved from stone
where the perky, young
attendant smiles
and hands out a drink
of crystal clear water,
'here! this is what you've
been looking for all along!'

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

enough for each day (Matt. 20:1-16)

early in the morning,
at the corners
where we stand
with our hands stuffed
in pockets full of pride,
you come looking for us.

at the coffee shops
where we sit grumbling
about how different
our jobs, our relationships, our dreams
would be 'if only . . .'
you come to engage us
in the only Person
we will ever need;

in the late afternoon,
when our eyelids droop
from acedia
and our energy follows us
about being overwhelmed,
you come to give us
a jolt of unfettered grace;

in the evening,
just as we are about to nod off,
you re-run the day for us,
so we can know
(and whisper),
'it was you -
in every moment,
in every place,
in every person -
who got us through
this day.'

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

F word (matthew 18:21-35)

of becoming a
97-pound weakling,
i regularly exercise my
at those who have done
wrong to me . . .
but you would release
my death grip
on pain's weights,
and give me
a Spirit-filled bouquet
of mercy's tender flowers
to hand out
as i walk home.

the line form of
all who can't wait
to wipe bitterness on my soul,
i hesitate to open my heart
to put out the welcome mat,
but you sweep off
the sidewalk
to make a way for them,
leading to the porch
where a pitcher of
cool refreshing leniency
has been poured for them

have patience, Lord,
have patience:
till i discover
is not a word listed
in the world's lexicon
of foolish notions,
but grace gifted
and over
and over

to me.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman