Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Outlet – A Poem by Tori Lane

Photograph by Matt Buck Creative Commons 2.0

Photograph by Matt Buck Creative Commons 2.0

There is an outlet on the ceiling, ten feet high in the window of this place,

between two yellow lights hanging over the little tables next to me.

It’s a bizarre place for an outlet and I can’t help but wonder why it is there,

what purpose could such an oddly placed fixture serve – for the open sign

this place doesn’t have, for the twinkling holiday lights taped up all winter,

or maybe for an orange extension cord with which to make a noose

and hang all these inquiries of mine, try to put them eternally to neck broken rest.

After all, what makes me tip back my head and stare at the ceiling rather than

focusing on the drink in my hand or reading the book on my table, or listening in

on the conversation of the two elderly women behind me, or staring at the people

walking by outside, beyond the class, crossing the lines between shadows and sun?

Maybe I’d rather see the unseen, rebel against the simple in the pursuit of something

more deeply complex.  I no longer look at my feet when I walk,

am no longer content with eye level observations, rather looking up,

around, inside, asking questions that maybe don’t have answers,

that maybe shouldn’t be asked, but I ask them all the same,

head tilted back to look at what holds the places above me, eyes closed

to see what is hidden with different eyes, those of reckless, insatiable curiosity.

Maybe I want to be contrary for the sake of it, do what I’ve been told not to,

figure things out for myself, beat my way to my own belief through

the medicated haze of what’s been prescribed for me.  I think I believe

more fully in finger painting, puddle jumping and earning good bruises

than in looking good and being an adult as I’m told.  The bruise and scrape

are somehow sacred, colored vibrant marks of life, proof of risks taken,

mistakes both deep and shallow but undoubtedly made, seen on my skin.

Jesus said that thing about abundant life and I’ve extrapolated its meaning

in those colors of clumsiness and violence that scream

of movement and play, of a fiercely honest exploration of life.

Some Sunday mornings are better spent in the rain by the river

than in the pews of a sanctuary.  I meet God in the mud, where I am as I am,

sometimes there more earnestly myself, with uncovered bruises and scrapes,

with mud on my feet and rain in my hair, eyes sweating tears and

lips oozing laughter.  I prefer making church there

or in talking to wonderful strangers or playing on a playground

or around a table, where there is wine with dinner and communion

in the hearts behind the words of conversation.Those words create worlds

in which to build cities, places to reside, and I’d rather live there,

connected and bruised, muddied and marked well.

Read more of Tori Lane’s poetry at The Fusion Project


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