Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Goodness of Grief

Tonight the sky is like a pink sea, a dusky blue wrapped in a single, endless cloud the velvet color of a blushing peach. As is usual when inspiration strikes me, I am alone, on my apartment balcony, cradling coffee to soothe the dull ache in my temples, my bible on my knees. The silence, outdoors, is less deafening, more embracing.

Perhaps, rather than inspiration, it is desperation that prods me to write, to push the weight of words off my chest.

I am weary of being weary. I long for courage. I long to be wrapped in the lion-heart of my Savior, to be comforted as only He can comfort. I have sought that comfort in the world around me, people and places and things, but have returned still thirsty and desperate.

Because the comfort I long for cannot be manmade. The depth of warmth and peace my soul aches for, scratches at my insides for, is too vast to come from anyone but an infinite God.

It doesn't go away, this ache. I am more aware of it than I have ever been. I cannot escape it. Even wrapped in worship music and scripture, the ache finds me whenever I am alone; it comes crawling after me, pushing the ball of salt water, that I refuse to acknowledge, up and out, through my eyes and over my cheeks.

But here, suddenly, is the incalculable truth. I must face the ache. Hold out my arms and let it wrap me up. Somehow, my soul sees that this ache will give me wings. The ache pushes up the red staircase of my throat, out into beating song, or through my fingers in red, bleeding words. It hurts, but it hurts less than when it is an empty, unacknowledged weight I carry around in the pit of my stomach.

This is grief. This is growing up.

Am I explaining the beauty of this? Do you see it? The beauty of pain and tears and trial? "Count it all joy" is suddenly completely clear. There is a goodness and a grace in grief that no words can truly paint.

So please, World, don't give up. Don't let fear guide you, fear of pain or sorrow, of loss or betrayal or loneliness.

Let this great goodness guide you: 
that an infinite God made Himself man and died, simply so that we, peasants and slaves, could enter the castle of the King, and sit by the fire, and talk with Him.

And be filled.
With all my heart,

Emma Pearl
Note: These images are not mine; they were discovered on that little gem we call Pinterest.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How To Say It

I'm sitting in the dark of my apartment living-room.  I don't know what I'm going to say, what words I'm going to put here.  I know only that I need to write.  I need to write because it's in me, because it's good, and a reminder of all things good, and because my Mom, my sweet Momma, was so supportive of my writing, and so proud.  She saw something in me, and she pushed me to pursue it, the push I needed... the push I'm feeling dreadfully alone without.

I'm so weary of these emotions, these heavy, weighted emotions.  But, they're not done with me yet.
Not yet.

It's so difficult to see God's goodness anymore, even though I've seen so much of it, been blessed so strongly by it.  Now, in the dark, in the depth of this intolerable loneliness, it's difficult to trust that goodness.

This is heavy ya'll, and I'm sorry.  I don't want to grouch.  I want to say sweet, artistic, heart-blessing things.  But I have to tell the truth.

The truth is, life isn't easy.  Life hurts.  And I wish it would stop.

And, yet, deep down, there is goodness.  There is, because it was goodness that led me to open my computer, to ease my grief with the pressing of words onto this page, to open the black box of my loneliness, and share.

Because, dear readers, we must always share.  The hurt and the hope, the cold and the warmth, the truth, heavy, hard, and sweet.  Bittersweet.  But still sweet.

And all this heaviness, the broken words scattered here, are tokens of the goodness that will never leave us, nor forsake us.

A goodness I will find again, someday.

Thanks for listening,

-  Emma Pearl

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. - Isaiah 11:2

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Home is...

A place to create.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In Praise

Is it offensive, do you think,
when I gush about my family?
When I smile a secret smile,
remembering my mother,
my father?
I know I am lucky, that so few
men and women
my age
were raised faithfully
from the opening of newborn eyes,
the stretching of red, warm, limbs,
into the realization of firm adulthood.

There are few of us who recognize
the weakness
of our parents,
the humanity of the men and women
who conceived us
birthed us
loved us,
few who know that
and respect,
mean blessing that humanity,
blessing those humans,
once warm and new themselves,
for doing their very best,
for heaving shining swords
at the sharp edge of life
that runs toward us,
their children,
for fighting while bleeding because
they would not see
one they love

They are never perfect.
No.  So often they are wrong,
so wrong.
Yet, so often they are right
beyond right.
We have not lived
the long and painful years
they have.
How can we argue?
How can we not love the very ground
their youthful feet once walked?
How can we not honor the effort
they made,
to build us and shape us,
bright monuments
to the goodness
that can be found,
that is,
warm and breathing
in the raw imperfection
of the human race?

-  Emma Pearl

This poem is a little different, less old fashioned in tone, one might say, than my normal writing, my attempt to be poetic in a modernist manner.  That, and a bit of a rant, the words that flow when a blessed person like myself, being away from home, misses her family very much.  Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gifts He Gives

Posting over at Clickety Clack today.  Thanks to dear Everly for hosting me. Enjoy!

- Emma Pearl - 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Am A Writer

I am a writer.
Though my weariness slides over me,
pushes me to rest,
wraps me warm in sleep,
keeps me
from making music with words,

I am a writer.
Though my days are wound tight together,
task after task stacked
like dominoes,
things that must be done
jammed hard against my head

I am a writer.
Though I fear I shall never learn to focus,
never learn to sacrifice
for this passion for words,
this hard, aching, desire,
to grab ahold and never let go.

But I am a writer.
Though words rarely leave my fingertips,
my heart still holds ,
warm, and breathing,
the breath of words,
beating beside my heart.

I shall never give up,
never give in,
never stop trying,
because, regardless of anything,
my heart knows.

I am a writer.

- Emma Pearl - 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


My brother James carves wood, literally.  
He works the rough grain with knife and chisel and turns a blank slab into something unbelievable.

We had dear friends for dinner some evenings ago, shared chili and cornbread, then upside-down plum cake and poetry.  Afterwards, the twilight waiting behind the dusk, we walked to the wood shop to see James's latest project.

He is building a table, a sort of of altar table, for a Methodist worship conference. He designed it himself, a table with two sturdy, yet graceful, legs supporting an expanse of hand scraped surface.  The table comes apart, to be assembled and reassembled, and is fastened together with detailed mortar and tendon, a table with no metal, only warm, brown wood.  It is as if an ancient carpenter had taken a thick tree from the earth and shaped it with medieval tools and skillful hands.  The table is clean, and pure, a masterpiece of careful craftsmanship.

(Below is the completed projected.  Pretty stunning, right?)

The sun hung low, pressed against the horizon, when we left the building scented with wood.  The evening, still but for the clicking of crickets, met us with peace.

There is such a goodness in this changing of seasons, this refreshing of old memories, and this chance at new beginnings, this circle that wraps up our lives.  The circle brings us back, to where we were, shows us how we've changed, how old things are no more, and awes us with God's faithfulness.

Here I am, in another summer, watching my little siblings carouse about the yard in the glee of childhood, feeling the weight of new responsibilities, the crowded, unavoidable business of this time of year, yet stilled by the weight of quiet.  Summer, with its stifling heat, its long days of labor in a sweltering kitchen, heat cooled by sudden and furious rains, has a stillness to it, a stillness that pulls me from the kitchen, in the quiet of evening, to the sunset in the night air, echoes of childish laughter on the gray night breeze.

And I find, in that stillness, a place to pause and press my heart up against my soul, to listen to the beat I know so well, remember my own childhood, my old dreams and old passions.  They are still there, under my adult skin, wound tightly, balled up in my throat.  Write.   They say.  Write about everything. Write about life, its goodness, and its grief.

Adulthood does come.  We do move on.  But in our moving on, our childhood clings to our quickening feet, clamoring to be remembered, to be carried with us.  The seasons, with the warmth of memory, remind us of what we've left behind, carry us full circle, and offer us a moment, like an hour on the round path of a clock face, to start again, to remember, and to reflect.

May I offer you a blessing?  That this summer, as the heat pushes up against you, and your lives are filled and full, that your heart will come full circle, and our Father's grace, and faithfulness, will awe you and inspire you, and grant you peace.

- Emma Pearl -