a divided heart…

the blood still begs direction home…
About a month from now we, the prodigals, will journey back to the place of our fathers and mothers, to the land where our wanderings began – Arkansas. I believe even now, weeks early, our family looks west each morning, squinting into the horizon, pleading with the Grace that keeps this world please bring them safely in, one more time. A verse long hidden in my heart promises a crown laid up for those who eagerly await the appearing…there are one-of-these-days crowns of gold, and there are here-and-now crowns of gray, just as righteous.


Our time there is scheduled to be about a week of what Mary Chapin Carpenter calls the jubilee – beholding faces we’ve missed so, clutching bodies that have thickened since last time, tending newborns fresh from the dreams of our brothers and sisters. We’ll swim and our arid pores will sigh, we’ll sloth in porch swings and listen for cicadas, we’ll tell the waitress at the catfish place I believe I’ll have the all-you-can-eat platter. We will smile the smiles of unguarded radiance.

I will also stand off to the side, from time to time, with that lump behind my breastbone. The land of our beginning is older now, as are those who inhabit its days. Harrison/Kooser wrote

You step in the same river once only
for an instant. Panhandle time with
the bruised fingers of what might have been.

I hear the pious speak of an undivided heart. I believe it the chatter of fools. I live out west, but I will always be from the south.

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  1. gretchen on June 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I feel so boring compared with all my Southern friends. I guess if I identify w/any place it has to be CO–even though it lacks any appreciable body of water. I just get all John-Denver-mushy-CO-High-misty as I think of it.

    • thebeautifuldue on June 26, 2011 at 12:58 am

      Gretchen, CO is an absolutely stunning place to be identified with…Mer and I were sitting outside eating dinner this evening saying ‘my lord, this is gorgeous!’ And just so you know, JD gets me mushy every time…because ‘sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.’

  2. Debbie Hudson on June 26, 2011 at 2:23 am

    I loved this, John. I will be in Arkansas and Missouri in five more days. I may have to share this with my family to put in words (like only you can do) how I feel when I get to journey “home”. Thanks again for sharing your gift with us.

  3. Sethhaines on June 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    When the suns comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle…

    When you swing this way, let me know and put some extras on.

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