Saturday, August 22, 2009

Conclusion: Sleeping

I am sleeping. I am deep in sleep. I am dreaming. And I hear voices and someone said my name. I didn't quite hear it but I can feel myself shifting. There is this vague awareness of my body attached to the dream physicallity I carry. I shift again. More voices. I start to understand their words and my eyes from the dream are dark and I start to come up. I hear them talking and I know that I will wake very soon. But not quite yet. It is coming. I am reluctant. I know that when I will awake, it will be time to work hard and long and that joy will be required of me. I hesitate. Waking hurts every time and the lethargic weight of my existence sits heavy in my bones. But I will wake. I will move. I will answer the voice that speaks my name and makes my existence. I will follow and push through the rest. And in those days of painful waking, I will return in renewal. I will carry on the redemption. I will push and practice and seek and grow weary and never faint. I will wait in patience, purchased for me. I will be glad to be awake and delight to know.
Waiting for the sleep to ebb hurts.

In Defence of Kent/ Jeremy Eschleman

I am ashamed. I really want to post these but they are "in context" poems. My poetry prof would be ashamed. "You can't spend your life walking your poems around by the hand, explaining it to people so they don't misunderstand you!" And here I go explaining. The first is an event where The Gospel was played out in a way when I was "beating up" my friend Kent with a green swimming noodle. The second is a lesson I learned from Jeremy, who (however much he drove me insane) showed me how deep my fears run.

In Defense of Kent
Light green. Light touch. It folds away and twists away
like palm trees in a hurricane.
Foamy, thick. What a satisfying smack it makes against Kent's head.
I giggle.
I continue thudding its weight on his head
He wimpers, "I had surgery!"
I continue thudding.
Two thin arms, one this face, one shrill voice rush between the swinging
instrument. "Stop, stop! Don't hurt him!"
My insides tighten and burst across my face.
"Don't hurt him! Don't hurt anyone!"
The small arms, stringy brown hair, rush away
and hide behind their mother's distraction.
I lower my weapon. My mouth hangs slightly open.
I bend at the waist because I cannot breath. I am laughing.

Kent considers. He tilts his face.
He squints his eyes and strokes his invisible beard.
He "hmms."
"I think there might be Jesus in this somewhere, Dana Ray."

Jeremy Eschleman
It was the kitchen
over boiling noodles and mishappen
cheesey milk that I began
to panic.
We were covered in our own sweat
from the ovens that would not boil
the cheesey milk.
My stomach was pinched as a mother grips the end of a thread to make it fit the coming needle's eye.
I (helpless) watched
as our dinner began to come undone in goopiness.
(I dislike cooking. I always cut myself).
My eyes effectively threw needle darts into his bristled hair
poised above the pot with a spoon and a careless look.
I whimpered at how my weapons were nonchalantly repelled.
Beneath the counter, I slumped in failure.
I pretended to ignore
the laughter
as my great enemy saw our disaster mounting.
He smirked. My eyes beamed ineffective death wishes.

Tables set. Pots set out. Plates served.
I turn, helpless, into a hug.
"I'm sorry Dana," the great perpetrator said.
"You shouldn't worry so much."
I push him away and throw water on him from what is left in my cup.
He is right.

The Walks

These two poems are in two very rough and very vague forms. I wrote them for the two women who lead at the Project this summer and two moments I had with them that stood out. It so happened that both moments happened during long and intense walks. I'm finding more and more often that such moments happen in the places where I am physically active, where conversation and body movement are the same. I apologize for their obscurity.

Walk I: Confusion Over Clarity
"I don't understand clarity. I don't know what to do."
My voice was thin. It strained in a hot
New Jersey sun off the fading wooden boards.
I answered a question that I didn't have an answer to.
My legs cut angrily at the confinement of the skirt.
My hands swept dramatic circles in visible humidity, ripples and wakes left behind.
They slapped ripples into the ocean sweat
Sweat began to move down my back
in the New Jersey sun off the fading wooden boards.
I tripped over a tourist as I moved salty hair
out of my burning eyes.
My own ocean rain came from my eyes.
I brushed them away and stood straighter
and waved my hands more, swimming for understanding.
I held confusion at arms length, tredding,
and it tired me.
She leant her head forward and back. She looked at me
without expression. She asked questions.
My hands stopped moving.
I stood still.
Nothing solved, but clarified by walking

Walk II: Womanhood
Restlessness is a drink that flows easily in blood.
Nightime and Wakefulness are its makers.
Confusion and Desperation are its sisters.

We took the lit pathway of the boards
(they were slippery with the unnatural
act of the sky, raining. It shouldn't rain
on things such as boardwalks.)
It rained on us. Our backs were wet.
There was not a silence or awareness.
Our bodies strained ahead against wind and rain and disappearing tourists.
Our words marked the walking of a summer.
Our legs went faster strength entered memory
and became story.
Two shadows of a familiar story walked stride to stride.
Two shadows with the same earnest voice,
one of learning, one of wisdom.
Grace given. "We are alike
but you do not have to choose
what I did."
It was closure.

Restlessness is a drink that flows easily in blood.
Walking in dark, driven by sound of shadowed voices

Before the Fridge/ Hospitality

The next several writings explore aspects of our community living in the same space and what we learned about God's glory through it.

I wonder whether life exists beyond the kitchen. My back slides down the front door of the fridge. I see the grimy edges. I did not sweep well last night. An ant crawls with a crumb in its mouth. The juice sloshed out of the pitcher and down the front door. The sink and dishwasher are running, trying to keep our messes clean. My fingers and mouth are sticky with chocolate and cookies. I am drinking the last of the milk straight from the jug. We talk about brother and sisterhood. Inhabiting time and space as our home, our walls, our roof, our air, rather than feeling incessant movement erode life into hours, into minutes, into seconds. There is glory in our floor sitting.


enough rooms and enough chairs and enough tables and enough food.
Small house. Never getting bigger. But the people

Introduction: Straight Lines Considered and Explained in Straight Lines

(Offered toward the community at Ocean City Beach Project, but also to you, my readers)

I have spent the summer in certain thought. I have stood on the beach and considered the philosophical grandeur of God. I have eaten good food and argued over fellowship. I have disagreed with many things. I have spent time taking copious, well considered, articulate course notes. I have defended my position and adopted new ones. I have read "Engaging God's World" with every ounce of concentration I had to give. I have browsed through Byron's world of Christian nonfiction. The lines of my thinking were clearly drawn and neatly colored between. I have colored accurately by number. I have thought in straight lines.

I told no stories. I spoke no poems. No words came in the fullness of life, the engagement of my mind, the growing of my arms and legs. I have not thought in color but had some clear lines drawn. I was waiting. I was tired. I am tired so that I am still explaining this to you, my reader, in prose. You are listening as I take you through my thinking, through the lines, through the process. And now it is time for an incarnation of this (I am waving my arms towards you, towards us, towards our invisible friendship). I need to say things in a different way. I need to take these thoughts and remember them in moments, in senses, in details. I need to say The Gospel in a way that is not always clear, but simply exists. Is. Does. And I ask that you wait patiently with me in the stories that bring life.


I've been in RA training. And before that, Daniel was at my house for a reunion of four months missing. And before that, I was leaving Ocean City Beach Project, 1st Pres, and a summer that I did not appreciate enough when I was in it. Enough to forgive my lack of posting? Well...

Gospel centered posting; right Ruthann?

Here is parts of my capstone. I offer explanations to each post to explain what I was after. I hope you enjoy.

(Oh, and I'm doing this as a series, so there will be many posts in the next few days. Remember that the chronology of blogs means that the first writings come further down the page!)

Friday, August 14, 2009


Paris tea, Goldfish, fresh cut roses, swinging for an hour, good conversation, the final hours of summer:

There is redemption at the Eagleson's kitchen table.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fade Between Scenes

It is like being suspended in air, this waiting for the scenes to change. I feel no urge or compulsion to accomplish anything. I spend my days doing things that delight me and do not tire me. I made a pie. I sit with Daniel. I ignore phone calls to make. I do not remember well. I am stuck in between and I rest. This makes processing OCBP a difficult task (that I have not tried very hard to do); writing an impossible one. I return to Penn State and all that I have been preparing for in three days. Three! I suppose I shouldn't use such an exclamation point in an attempt to elicit pity since other ocbpers have returned to school already and are going through some hard times after leaving Ocean City. I know somewhere inside me that I miss it... I do... but not very consciously. I went from the strangeness of a goodbye to the strangeness of being with my family. I'm being present very fully right now and that is not always good. Most of these thoughts are extraneous excuses for not posting. (That and Daniel tried to take a "byte" from my computer. Silly fellow! Doesn't he know that eating food is far more satisfying?!)

And, as I said, I am going to include some of my capstone project, with a few additions, in the next few days. I would love feedback for improvements and criticisms. My dear ones from the beach enjoyed but did not critique. I would appreciate such responses!

The school year approaches!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Quick Update

Today, I am very tired and only have a few moments in which to write a post. If I don't hurry up, I'll be late for work. BUT, tomorrow will be my last day. Two more days of Kidz Creations. I'm so relieved and glad.

The past week or so has been a busy and delightful one. Byron was here with his book store in tow and we had a marvelous time wandering through the pages and reading books as fast as we could so we could buy others. He spoke on Christian vocation and he and his family contributed to our crazy lives quite well! It was a week where I began processing the summer and started writing my response to it. Hopefully, I'll finish most of it by Thursday and put some of it on here so you can see. It was also hard because I started to emotionally pull away from being here. Telling that to the group helped a great deal and they have been conscious of including me in our craziness. This made the weekend a beautiful one.

(I can't decide!)

First, church seemed to finally come together. Our attitudes met with the graciousness of 1st Pres and we seemed to be one church for the first time. I even missed some of the best parts when some of us shared in Sunday School. I think in the realization that we will be leaving soon, we understood just how much they had given us this summer and were able to give a little back to them in our stories and music. We wandered around church afterwards and talked to people there. It felt familiar and we were encouraged very deeply by it. Pastor Sheldon gave a challenging sermon that went hand in glove with all that we were experiencing with them. Alex, Curt, and I were asked to do the special music. I couldn't help but grin as we jammed together up there and knew the church was worshiping with us in it. And then we took communion. The Sheldons kept telling me that I should come back and visit in the winter. I'd love to.

The weather has been a tad crazy here. We had some serious thunder storms and decided to spend our Sunday afternoon out in it!

(Trevor, me, Alex)

Please keep me in prayers in these last few days! I'm excited to see those of you in Hershey and continue trying to articulate what God has done this summer!