Gratitude

“Thank you. Thank you,” she’d say,
offering her soft spoken hymn of praise to you
with each step she took.
Ninety seven, clutching walker,
while I held onto her,
she walked in thankful wonder
like a toddler taking first steps with glee.
Each step a gift, counted.
Walker steadied and grounded her body in motion
while her thanksgiving steadied and grounded her spirit
in the here and now flow of grace.

I lost count of how many of these short walks we took
that last sweet year of her life,
saying our thank yous to you out loud
down the hall and back.
But they were many and enough to echo in my cells
and to raise up in me from time to time
this simple hymn of praise.

“Thank you. Thank you.”
I find myself whispering to you
over and over throughout the day,
noticing how my eyes open to the outpouring
of grace and blessing in every moment,
how I feel myself carried in the current of your joy,
how I am able to use this walker of gratitude
to steady and ground heart and mind, body and soul
in your glorious presence with us here and now.

Thank you. Thank you.

——

I will praise God’s name in song and
glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan

This Life

This life I claim as mine,
hold onto
and defend,
is a gift,
entrusted for a time,
given, breath-by-breath
by you.

It is a vessel
carved rough
and beautiful
for you
to pour yourself into
and overflow from,
for your joy
and mine
and others.

It is a gift I cannot
truly receive,
you whisper repeatedly,
until I release my grip
and let it go to you.
Help me
as I open hands and heart
to release
and receive
your gift again.

——

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
Luke 9:24

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan

Washed Up

You ask to wash my feet,
as you disrobe and
kneel before me.
You wait, looking up at me.
Joy dances in your eyes.
I cannot breathe.
Everything in me threatens
to break loose, melt, flow,
in the warmth of such tenderness.
Your kindness undoes me.
Your naked love disarms me,
inviting me to bare all, too.
If I say yes,
the great flood of my longing,
my need, my pure joy
will break me open.
Yes.
I say, yes.
Please. Wash me.

——

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
John 13: 3-5

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan

Naked

It is so excruciating
and messy,
so sacred
and wondrous,
this peeling away
of all we hold onto,
all we hide behind,
until the naked,
beautiful soul
we are
is exposed
and your light
and life in us
shines through.

——

“You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand,
and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:14-15

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan

I Am Yours

You made me.
I am yours.
I came from you.
Your life and light are in me.
Free every cell of my body,
every part of my being
to know this,
to celebrate this,
to live this,
to dance in joy.

——

It is he who made us, and we are his.
Psalm 100:3

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan