God With Us

If you were here,
I would’ve texted you a photo and said
“can you believe this??”
As I drove down grandma and pop’s old
street and observed the giant houses that
they’ve stuffed on the plots,
nearly spilling onto the sidewalks,
That used to be yards with small
homes built of bricks and
historic memories

When I turned onto North Nelson
I felt the energy within me shift
I’ve been alternating between
Dull nothingness,
An aching pain,
And a sharp panicking feeling
For a while now, but
Especially in light of the holidays
which were always nostalgic and kind
of sticky
But at least then
I knew what it looked like where you were
and I could check in to see what you were doing
Now I live in a city that
Is a stone’s throw from
The majority of our childhood
The best times together
with plates of salami, olives, and cheese
trays of cookies and jello cake
pop-pop pouring encouragements into silver rimmed glasses
our faces all warm and red from the radiator heat
and the whole family packed in the kitchen like sardines

It kind of feels like our family has
Always been aching, yet still hopeful
I’ve been a witness time and time again
To the way that sorrow and joy can mingle together
It’s like I already know this dance

In all honesty, I’ve been moving quickly through these past few months
Not entirely by choice, just due to the nature of my work
but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve clung to
The late nights and urgent needs like a life boat
some strange kind of life boat that’s filling up with water
and here I am, standing in it with a bucket

I’m surrounded by people that do not have homes,
People with broken relationships,
seemingly insurmountable barriers
single mom’s escaping abuse
confused children
father’s working three jobs
with out transportation
families seeking asylum
and although I am present
there’s often not much that I can do about it
I’m saturated in a broken system,
Failing policies,
And a community who seems to understand in one moment,
and perpetuate the very problems it’s trying to solve
in the next

Yet through all of this,
I’ve thought of you
Can’t stop thinking of you
And I’m trying to hold onto the light
of how precious it is to be in
A family that chooses hope
To remember that the sole
purpose of advent is to know
Immanuel, God with us
And to carry this concept deep
within my soul
I can move through these
Moments, take a breath in these moments
The gut wrenching moments,
The joyful moments
The numb moments
The disappointing moments
The angry moments
The breaking moments
In every moment
Immanuel

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