A year ago, at a conference, a speaker introduced herself with a poem. She connected her identity to her people (she is Native American) and to the land, as well as the experiences and beliefs that have shaped her. As part of her presentation, she challenged us to consider our identity, to articulate where and who we come from.
This past weekend, as I prepared to lead a Bible Study wrap up for a local PW gathering, I found myself thinking about Exodus (the whole of Scripture, really) as a way of teaching who God is, as well as where/who we come from as children of God.
So I thought it would be interesting to create a poem together for the Hebrew people as a preamble to our personal poems. I drafted my own to provide an example…
I am from dogwoods and rolling hills,
From red dirt that blows in breezes and is swept up in twisters,
From bluebonnets and cotton farms along the Brazos.
I am from strong hands that held the plow,
harvested the wheat and
canned sweet tender fruit for the winter.
I am from guiding hands that rang the school bell,
showed smaller hands how to write and
gathered in students ready to learn.
I come from women who broke boundaries and paved new roads,
From generations of mothers who saw strength and passion in their daughters.
I am from Baptists, Methodists, Disciples and Presbyterians.
I am from rocking chairs where hymns were hummed over fussy babes.
I am from Noah’s Ark murals and Youth Sunday skits.
I am from summer camp, Sunday School and VBS.
I am darkness, the sort one picks up by walking away from the safety of the light.
I am light carried into spaces made dark by death, despair and pain.
I am the choices I’ve made, good, bad and awful.
I am the person God made,
fearfully and wonderfully crafted,