Into Another Year: A Prayer for New Year 2020

Into another year we go,
Onto possibility’s path,
Untrammeled and untraveled
Paved
Unpaved
Repaved
The re-examined, reconsidered life.

Within the closet of ourselves we contemplate new garments,
Cutting through cloth tattered and torn,
Embroidering the past’s patchwork tapestry with hope’s glistening threads.

Into another year we go,
Crushing regret’s dried leaves beneath our feet,
Compost for other footsteps, other lives.

Awesome Creator God, which created us in love,
And continues to love us into being,
May we heal our heartbreaks with loving care so we can wear our scars like fine art.
May we forgive our trespasses through another’s field so we can cultivate our own gardens.
May we discover easy steps around rocky passages so we can reach grander vistas.

Into another year we go,
Older
Stronger
Wiser.

Into another year we go,
Bathed in grace’s abundant rains,
Watering
Restoring
Renewing us,

Yet again.

Grateful for every breath,
Every moment.

All things now made new.

And so they are.

Amen.

© 2020 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

What I Remember

We each have our own memories.  We remember various aspects, specific images, certain feelings, in myriad ways.

18 years later, this is what I remember:

Leaving home

Car thermometer: 72o

New Jersey Turnpike entrance

Crowded lanes

Sunshine in my window

Her Majesty, the Statute of Liberty

The Beacon Twins, the Towers

Busy streets

McNair Academic

4th day teaching Honors English

More nervous than the freshmen, still

Bells ringing

Short-story discussion:

        Determine plot, distinguish character, define motive, discover resolution

        Incomplete

Sirens wailing, wailing, wailing

Mike R. entering

“Look out the window”

Opening windows

Leaning out windows

Hundreds of windows, thousands of heads

Smoke, steel, gray, black

Horror

 “Oh, My God!”

Numb

“What?”

Fear

“Where are they?”

Tears

Hugs

Rushing to phones, finding phones

Silent phones

Climbing stairs

4th floor, Yearbook Office

1 phone

Faint connection

Relief

Terror

Waiting

Tears

Hugs

Up and down stairs

Classroom doors opening, closing

TV monitor

Flames

Smoke, steel, gray, black

Preparing to dismiss for home

“Who’s going home?”

“Who’s coming home?”

Short-story analysis:

        Determine plot, distinguish character, define motive, discover resolution

                Some late, sick, delayed, lost, saved, dead    

Heading home

Deserted streets

Gray sky out my window

New Jersey Turnpike entrance

Police car, officer

“Where are you going, Ma’am?”

“Home”

License and registration

Driving home, finally

Empty lanes

“Where are the cars?”

Arriving home

TV images

Smoke, steel, gray, black

“Oh, My God!”

Hugs

Tears

Hugs

© 2019 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Journey Forth

In bleak Winter, under blackened sky, chirps ring out.

Robin, great harbinger of Spring, perched above tundra.

Song shattering night.

Sustenance revealed below frozen ground.

Artic air.

Bitter chill.

Darkness.

Silence.

Stillness.

And that soft, sweet song, like a gentle, beating heart,

In the waiting room before dawn breaks and another journey begins.

To follow faith’s beacon,

As will dissolves into way;

Paths unfolding in unspeakable, palpable peace.

To rejoice in each graceful achievement,

As yesterday’s dirt paves tomorrow’s road;

Passages flowing far and wide.

To know immeasurable love,

As light winds through brush and bramble;

Bathed in radiance divine, dressed in life’s richest hues.

Like Robin singing forth in Spring:

“Oh, Glory in the Highest,

See How High this One Shall Rise.”

© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

It Could Happen to You

That kind of thing can’t happen here.

But it could happen to you.

It could happen to you . . .

. . . buying groceries at Kroger.

. . . gathering the prayer circle at church.

. . . comparing notes in 4th period English.

. . . reading Torah on Saturday morning.

. . . driving to visit the relatives.

. . . entering the boss’s office.

. . . fleeing violence at home.

. . . arriving at the cocktail party.

. . . moving to the country in search of peace.

. . . seeking the facts (just the facts) for the next deadline.

. . . rocking at the concert.

. . . cheering at the game.

. . . marching in the streets.

. . . running another marathon.

. . . exiting the factory.

. . . kneeling in worship.

. . . opening the mail.

. . . attending the rally.

. . . casting the ballot.

That kind of thing doesn’t happen here.

But sometime, some place, somewhere,

It could happen to you.

© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

Today, I Didn’t

Sometimes, we can’t.  So we don’t.  A poem about that kind of faith:

“Today, I Didn’t”

Today, I didn’t make the bed.

And I didn’t hang up my robe.  I left it crumpled on a pillow, where I tossed it on my way to the kitchen to get more coffee and reheat the leftover broccoli quiche.  And to contemplate a forest of trees in the yard and admire God’s handiwork in fading green leaves drenched in sunlight.

Today, I didn’t wash the dishes.

I let them bathe in a pool of warm suds, which quickly turned cold, so I could phone some friends and laugh about the Late Show and remember when we ate ice cream for breakfast and waffles for dinner.

Today, I didn’t put the dirty towels in the hamper.

I left them on the sink near the mirror with the soap smudge I meant to wipe, but didn’t, as I prepared to meet another friend for a short lunch which lasted three hours.

Today, I didn’t watch the news.  Didn’t listen either.  If anything were really new, someone would tell me.  Not about another shooting, fire, flood, executive order, death, birth.  But about claiming rich hopes, scaling greater heights, discovering hidden treasures.

Today, I didn’t complain.

(At least I think I didn’t.)  Not about the traffic, or the blue pickup that cut me off, or how my team played baseball – and lost.  Or the Wi-Fi fritzing out, again, when I tried to download the circus meme declaring that these are not my monkeys.

Today, I didn’t sweep away the cobweb by the stairs.

I thought, perhaps, the spider there needed another moment to rest before I could grab the broom from the closet with the glass cleaner for the mirror with the smudge in the bathroom, across from the bedroom, where the bed still stood, unmade.

© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.