I have decided
I love smudges in my journal.
Imperfections of the moment,
They used to aggravate
my carefully hidden OCD inclinations.
I used to hate the way they marred
memories, quotes, treasures.
Ugly scars distracting
from the aesthetic I had so carefully planned.
But the grease stain
From curious fingers just turned three years old,
The smudged ink, barely penned,
Painted across the page
In the haste to leave on time,
The touch of curry in the corner
Remnant of multitasking gone awry,
The five-year-old’s inked masterpiece on the last page
Now hold memories.
Mischievous smiles, nervous laughter,
Quickly flared anger, more quickly still extinguished
By the apologetic eyes of little brothers
Speak to me from the smudges.
Marring perfection, gently reminding
That nature is not perfection.
That life is simply the messy bits
The smudges, strung together
Sewn into and onto our beautiful reality.
They are scars.
Scars holding stories.
And now I find myself wondering
How I can create more.

by Rachel Swenson.

Rachel lives and serves in Vryheid, South Africa, where she lives with her host family, including her host brothers.


Hold On

Kyle writes a poem to help express his experience:

Hold On

Over and yonder and
round the next bend
Is the promise of mercy
on this I depend

For life rarely shows me
that which I seek
And so I must wait
as I have every week

Great longing for action
from God in this world
See death greed corruption
into the void hurled

Sometimes it is painful
i so often miss
All that I hope for
sweet promise of bliss

Sweet sliver of mercy
if you I should find
I’ll be deeply thankful
my pain might unwind

I try to be patient
and slow to get mad
At a world that has evil
And makes me so sad

We’re slaves to injustice
we know it’s unfair
God says on each head
that he loves every hair

We’re part of one body
we’re part of one soul
Yet Broken Heart Pieces
are hard to make whole