Sunday, January 26, 2014

held back by self-doubt


negativity is at least barnacles
that are a burden to carry
and that slow down how fast
you can slip through your life,

negativity is opposition,
and, at its best, can advise you away from a wrong path,
and, at its worst, can advise you away from moving forward at all,

for middle schoolers, those who call me to be a teacher,
the negativity of self-doubt 
becomes hands which can hold them back
from stepping forward into the light,
into being noticed and appreciated,
those not yet in the light fear the darkness around them
and want to spread it
so that all are equal in absence:
how much better it is to step forward and be seen,
the path forward then can become clearer to all,

when more and more find the light
how much better it is than when more and more doubt
and are lost in the darkness.

by Henry H. Walker
January 24, ’14

my dear sweet cousin passes

Millie Fox

to know Millie has been to know love,
to know a life suffused by a joyous heart
with every fiber of her being true to her God,
true to answering the call
that the Christ needs us to act for him,
that the moments we are given are special beyond words,
and should be lived fully and surely,
that the partner with whom she built a life
was worth the unconditional love she gave him,
just as he gave the same to her,

Millie has known that everyone she touches
has that of God within her, within him,
and that life is too short to do other than exult
in how wondrous the moment can be,

Millie’s smile could melt one,
and I love the memory of her explaining
the tedious work of picking meat from crabs at Edisto
as “beach fun” to our game children,

Millie’s parents lived that exultant joy,
despite challenge, despite setbacks,
despite the limits small town South Carolina set for them,
in their hearts, in the ripples of their lives,
Julie and Henry reached back toward the heights
from which the best of us comes,
and Millie has lived the best of them every day,
as so many of us who knew them also seek to do with our lives,

Millie was of the best of the heights
to which spirit can reach,
when the other is more important to us
than the self within which we act.

by Henry H. Walker
January 24, ’14

Sunday, January 19, 2014

of relationship and career

the hindsight fallacy

I feel that the best of my life
has much of the improbable about it:
I cannot quite understand how I got together
with the wonder who has bound her life to mine,
it feels like I must have won a lottery,

I can look back and remember forks 
which I took
and which she took
and see our paths come together,

it’s easy then to slip into the hindsight fallacy of the historian
who knows the event and sees the sequence that led to it,
and it’s easy, and false, 
then to imagine that that sequence is highlighted
and should have been visible to those at the time,

looking  back on my own life
I remember the forks of the choosing,
I remember the doubts, and when I should have had doubts,
I remember hope for each relationship,
I remember the trouble of figuring out who I am,
who the other is,
and how we might reach toward being one, 

I also love my job
and how who I am 
can increasingly reach toward the best of who I can be,
as I help shepherd student after student
to reach toward the best that is within them
and then work to let that best 
break back into the light from which it comes,

I can tell a story of the history of the school,
and I can see and trace the new paths
that have led us to being who we are,
yet I also live in the present
that calls a future into being,
and I know that the choices we make
in knowing who we are and creating who we can be
might lead toward wholeness--or not,
every choice has within it 
the possibility of the lesser mistakenly chosen,

life has much of that of God playing dice with the universe,
and still I hope that the right intention can increase the odds
that we will choose wisely,
that a wholeness calls to us to reach toward it
and that we can move rightly,

I hope for every relationship and career to work out
and enable each of us to become the best
inherent in every reach toward order.

by Henry H. Walker
January 16, ’14

Sunday, January 12, 2014

the best within us

of flame and challenge

what can better represent the best within us
than the miracle of fire coming to be?

a match lies to us of the ease 
in the catching and expressing of the flame,

flint and tinder tell us more surely
of how hard it is
for the gift that is us
to take the spark within,
find how it can catch ahold to possibility,
and blaze bright enough
that who we are can be seen
and that who we are can be appreciated,
appreciated as a light that holds back the darkness
and calls to the spark within everyone
to also find how to flame.

by Henry H. Walker
January 10, ’14
image courtesy of Google Images

Saturday, January 11, 2014

its emptiness

a hole in the floor of our sureness

I cannot fathom it--
a loss can be so real
that the depth of the absence
cannot be touched,
and we pull back the weighted line
and try to tack somewhere else,

the chasm feels like a whirlpool
that wants to share its emptiness,
to pull us in,

I imagine a black hole in space
that is real in this universe
but is so much more real somewhere else,
wherever it goes,

pictures, memories, stories can pull us
back and away for awhile,

we can throw ourselves into doing
and appreciate the dance 
we can pull together and perform,
we can pretend for awhile that there isn’t 
a hole in the floor of our sureness
into which a loved one has fallen
and into which we will fall--
the only question is when.

by Henry H. Walker
January 10, ’14
image courtesy of Google Images

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I reach toward her light

grandparent permanence

grandparent permanence--
that’s what I hope for now
within our one-year-old grandson,
his sense that we still exist
even when out of eyesight,

yet further how I want us to be for our grandchildren
is as anchor to this world to keep them steady,
a presence within them that murmurs of unconditional love,
and faith that the tough right choice will be made,
that the enormity of worth within each of them
can and will be uncovered and released,

my grandmother was a star
in the firmament of my earliest realities,
and part of the best of who I am
comes from reaching toward the brightness of her light.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ’13

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

empty chairs

holes around the tables

as new days dawn,
and we’re still here,
I keenly feel the absences,
the holes where those I care about
no longer walk this earth,

I sit on the big screened porch at the cabin
and look down the tables flanked by empty chairs,
and I feel the emptiness of the chairs,
the holes once filled by family and friends
who have now died to this reality,

each time my children and spouses, and grandchildren,
leave again for their own lives,
the chairs around the common table also empty,

and I’m sad with the rightness of flying the nest,
and I also joy that other tables can fill and center joy
while I feel the holes around mine center loss,

how wonderful that I still have a partner
with whom to share the meal, the loss,
and the joy that every moment alive deserves to feel.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ’13