Guest Poem: An Ordinary Composition

I think I’m holding my breath
not sure what I’m waiting for—
a naïve hope that I can wake myself up
put the world right somehow.

I remember my Michigan summers
Grandma and Grandpa’s stale smelling home
Shelves stocked with homemade apple butter, vegetable-
filled mason jars,
fresh-baked bread
a large lazy-Susan in the middle of a table filled with a random assortment of salt,
napkins, toothpicks, boxes of needles, vials of insulin
, etc.
picking cherries that the large tree-shaking machines had
abandoned to the birds
and young children
climbing never ending hills of sand dunes
camp fires whose flames licked up the Twinkie wrappers
and the plastic film that
held together packs of graham crackers
crawling into sleeping bags fully clothed so we could sneak out at night and run
down to the campground hang out
telling our stories, secrets and flirting lies to anyone who would listen
Grandma and Grandpa brought us together in a way nothing else ever did.

I’ve been to enough funerals to know a thing or two
Like the weird sensation of being consoled by people you’ve never met before
Or the strange guilt that threatens you when you realize you have no tears to
rain down on that odd, crumpled program
But mostly, the unearthly feel of cool, waxy skin under your lips 
skin that is just an empty shell
when everything that you loved or cherished or longed for or hated
is gone.

Just an ordinary body
nothing special about it—
Just an ordinary composition of dust and breath
and yet somehow I look and find beauty . . .

For me, that’s what God does
He takes a barn and a bath and a cup and a loaf 
and makes them beautiful and holy
Often I find us forgetting the beauty that can be found in the 
 ordinary of life
Often I take it for granted
And we take each other for granted.

When I hold that cold, waxy hand in mine
It’s easy to focus my mind on the pain, the frustrations, the hurt
And let the sadness come
Too many goodbye kisses and graveside farewells
Inside I’m screaming I’ve had enough
I don’t deserve all this pain again.


I’ll tell you the truth.
 When I thumb through the pictures of my life
It comes to me
I didn’t do anything to deserve the beauty either
And it’s all just a part of the recipe—
a composition of dust and breath and pain and joy and




Amanda is a practical idealist. She is a creative communicator – a writer, poet, actor, artist, theologian and pastor. A woman in her thirties who has never been married and is honestly content with being single. A world traveler who’s been to fourteen countries and lived in three. She embraces her addiction to books and Starbucks. She doesn’t fit into any of those nice little white boxes our culture has created, and hopes she never does. You can follow her blog, Murphy’s Law Translated.

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