a new year’s song.

the year is dying in my hands

and

. i am filling my apron

with a feather

. for hope,

and

tiny bits of tumbled sea glass

. for courage.

.

.

when the waters rise,

. they will not wash over me.

.

.

a pinch of faith,

. you only need a little,

and

a quilt of mercy

to warm my heart

.

that

at

times

has

loved

so coldly.

.

. i will guard the spring.

.

guard it fiercely,

so that only

love

will

flow,

. but i know

that i am cut from rough cloth

and

grace

is the bread that keeps me alive,

.

and you.

.

so

i will give

. and give

. and give,

until

we cannot see

who we once were,

. for all the love.

.

that,

is how they will recognise us.

.

.

the broken ones.

.

not the knowledge.

not the perfection.

not the raised eyebrow,

.

but

the

love.

.

it’s how i recognised you,

when

all

i had known was failure.

.

you loved me first,

and

never

stopped.

.

and i will not worry about

my hips

or

my wrinkles

or

my yesterdays

or

my tomorrows.

.

i am held.

.

and because i am the one,

.

that

one,

.

who deserves an entire parable.

. yes.

.

the one

who wanders

and

strays .

into thickets

. and

thorns,

where others see the danger,

i will remember that i was searched for

. over and over,

every time

and

i too will

. search

when others get lost.

.

i will not be the pointing finger,

but

the open hand that says,

. here i am.

.

let me be

a light in a glass jar,

. shining

in spite of it all.

.

.

—a new year’s song.

.

.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

.

.

Photograph by Martí Pardo.

.

.

Friends,

.

.

I wish you a peaceful, spacious

new year.

.

.

Know that you are held

and that though they may rise,

the waters will not wash over you,

.

.

liezel

this story, ends well.

in the late afternoon,

i light

a candle in my kitchen.

the visible hours

are

few

this time of year.

my eyes

and

my heart

both

struggle to see

clearly

in this season.

there is so much

in the air

that

hides

the ache

inside

and

this longing

for

all is calm

all is bright,

is overwhelming

at times,

and

perhaps

your

star is hidden

this year?

and,

when children sing,

you,

only

have

the memory

of

what

once

was,

to unwrap

and

the edges are frayed

and

the past

is

all

that

still

breathes.

and the past

might be

your (only) present.

and,

the nights are silent,

and

dark.

sometimes.

yes,

some seasons

are not

always

merry

and

bright.

i know.

but

we

keep

moving

and

clinging

to

the

hem

of the one

who heals.

so,

i carry this small flame

through

doorways

and

heart-spaces

and

i watch it

soften

the every-day

scratchiness

of the hallway

and

heart-ways.

ready

to welcome

anyone

who should knock,

seeking.

and,

tiny lights have done

this

deep

work,

forever.

this,

keeping the dark outside,

and

holding the night at bay.

bravely.

this little light of mine

flickers

and

sometimes,

fails,

but,

it fights.

oh,

it does.

turning fearful places

into

a place of hope,

high

on

top

of

a hill,

and

you can trust

that

your light

is still

enough.

enough

to

warm

hope

so broken

and

grief,

so fierce

it would rip the fabric

of

your

being.

but it won’t.

it won’t.

although it will try.

and

we will light

(our)

tiny flames

and

we

will

breathe

in,

and

out.

in.

and.

out.

until

we return

to where we

lost

the precious thing.

where we lost our hope,

and

in the end

we will

be ok.

our stories might be

broken,

but,

stories full of light,

always

end well.

just keep burning.

— this story, ends well.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

Photograph by Inna Lesyk.

Amidst all the lovely chaos of family and Christmas preparations, some of us

get lost and get tired from trying

to hide sadness and grief.

Your story might have broken bits written into its chapters,

but hold on — stories full of light, always end well.

liezel

on being the holy broken.

you wonder

if it is worth

living your life

cracked

wide

open, whether

.

.

wearing your heart

on your sleeve

and

all your

hopes

carried in

unclenched

hands,

is ever safe, where

.

.

all the world can

see, and

all the world can

say

what they feel

about the tender courage

that has

taken

root

within you.

.

.

it will not be easy.

no.

definitely not.

there will be pain.

it is a new birth,

after all.

.

.

but, you must not

curl

inward.

.

.

lift your head.

unfurl your spirit.

reach upward.

live outward.

.

.

you are the holy broken.

.

.

the one holding the light.

.

.

and if you show your scars, people will come

and sit with you,

and they will listen.

.

.

and this

is how we heal each other.

by living gently,

and walking vulnerably.

unafraid of opinion.

ready to wipe away

tears

and

fears

and

other darkness,

with the light

shining

from

the cracks

in our bones.

moved only by the spirit.

.

.

so, yes—do it.

live your life a white dove

on the battlefield.

.

.

cracked

right

open.

.

.

it will all be ok.

.

.

—on being the holy broken.

.

.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

.

.

Photograph by @luizclas .

on being the holy broken.

you wonder

if it is worth

living your life

cracked

wide

open, whether

.

.

wearing your heart

on your sleeve

and

all your

hopes

carried in

unclenched

hands,

is ever safe, where

.

.

all the world can

see, and

all the world can

say

what they feel

about the tender courage

that has

taken

root

within you.

.

.

it will not be easy.

no.

definitely not.

there will be pain.

it is a new birth,

after all.

.

.

but, you must not

curl

inward.

.

.

lift your head.

unfurl your spirit.

reach upward.

live outward.

.

.

you are the holy broken.

.

.

the one holding the light.

.

.

and if you show your scars, people will come

and sit with you,

and they will listen.

.

.

and this

is how we heal each other.

by living gently,

and walking vulnerably.

unafraid of opinion.

ready to wipe away

tears

and

fears

and

other darkness,

with the light

shining

from

the cracks

in our bones.

moved only by the spirit.

.

.

so, yes—do it.

live your life a white dove

on the battlefield.

.

.

cracked

right

open.

.

.

it will all be ok.

.

.

—on being the holy broken.

.

.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

.

.

Photograph by @luizclas .

housekeeping.

i woke up this morning

to find

that all the

worrying things

in my life

had already

settled

themselves

down,

in my mind

for the day.

there they were,

seated in the most comfortable chairs,

completely at home.

bickering amongst themselves,

clamouring

for my heart’s attention,

who was more important?

who deserved more attention?

who wore the scariest mask?

i tried to show them the morning light

dancing on the wallpaper,

but,

they preferred the dark.

let’s have some tea,

i said,

a sweet start to the day,

but,

they only drank the bitter waters of ‘mara’.

i tried to show them

pictures,

beautifully framed,

of all the good memories

from the past,

but,

they had images of their own,

not yet developed.

negatives,

where the light

appeared

dark,

and i struggled to

discern the real

picture.

so, i left them there,

in their front row seats,

grumbling for lack of attention

and

i went out,

seeking

peace and promise,

and

somewhere

between

my boy’s laughter on the playground swing,

and giving an old book from the charity shop

a

new

home,

and an old lady’s

petal pink smile

in the dairy aisle,

and sipping spicy, chai tea

in the warmth of

a tea shop,

i walked right into holiness.

mundane grace,

found me

and

smiled at my

unwelcome guests,

laughed at their

false bravado,

and

their dwindling shadows,

and

before i knew it,

light flooded into the corners

where fear likes to

lurk,

and happiness,

kicked melancholy

right out of her favourite seat.

what a commotion that was.

and hope,

sweet

gentle

hope,

walked right up to despair

and said

out!

now!

and,

that was that.

party over.

here and there,

a handwritten promissory note

of future doom

still flaps about in the breeze,

but,

the windows are open

and

hope has a broom.

and,

she’ll take care of those.

she likes to keep things

clean.

— housekeeping.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

It’s been a funny old day.

Perfect for mental housekeeping.

Fortunately, hope, likes to keep things clean.

walking each other home.

and,

perhaps

you were broken,

splintered,

by the twin gifts

of loss

and

grief,

not

because heaven took its

eyes off you

for a year,

or ten.

a holy turning away

when the force

hit your chest

and

the air was driven

from your lungs

with a shock

that never

seems

to

end.

it feels like that, some days,

doesn’t it?

but,

you are not alone.

you

are

not

the only one,

take heart.

all over the world

there are

others,

further back.

searching.

the blessed ones who mourn

in the dark,

seeking desperate comfort.

the sick ones who fear

the dark thing with teeth,

seeking fresh hope.

the incarcerated ones who carry shame

like a disease,

seeking one more chance.

the different ones with DNA

that didn’t follow the rules,

seeking just to belong.

the hunted ones who hunger

for peace,

seeking a safe place to breathe.

all over the world

we

are

broken.

and, someone needs to

shine

the

light.

to hold the lamp

on the journey

home.

to whisper gently,

not long now,

be strong,

we’re almost

there.

—walking each other home.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

I have sat with this one for a while, and I have rewritten it and deleted it, and polished it, and now I am going to leave it as it is.

I think it says what it needs to say.

Liezel xx