Elegant or squat,
slim or speckled,
the overnight toadstools
shoulder through sodden grass.
Beneath thick skirts
Trouble is, fungi spread like a devilish rash.
Or a rumor.
Or bad news.
Some have erupted—
their fleshy umbrellas
stems torn and exposed.
And my first reaction?
Poison! So says the girl who grew up on Grimm. These toadstools feel personal. Symbolic. Weirdly prolific.
Born of darkness and damp and demise,
they haunt the shadows
along my path
in the way sorrows emerge, one
Friends, this has been a sad time.
I wonder: Are people you cherish—as well as strangers the media makes you care about—also braving unthinkable woe? Has hope failed them?
There’s much to grieve.
For one: I failed to meet you here, in October. I sorely regret breaking my monthly commitment to you (and myself). My desire is to encourage readers who feel weary. Beleaguered. Jaded and flayed.
Truth is, I’ve been too sad to write. Guilt, of course, adds its own poison.
This is where
we get the verb mushroom,
we, who cannot number our worries,
rabid as spores, housed in our heads,
we, who launch prayers, seeding the heavens
beyond what the air can hold.
And then, while walking in the city, I chance upon this—although my camera fails to capture the fierce, almost magical shine. One wet leaf glints at my feet, beaded all over with the tiniest convex mirrors. The longer I look, the more this leaf seems to offer a portrait. The image suggests my soul, holding in all that is uncried.
The names on my prayer list seem as numerous, and tremulous, as November’s tears gracing this fallen leaf.
“[and the nagging fear that] I might disappoint someone . . .”
She speaks for me.
“Lord,” she asks, “have I failed You?”
And God answers, “The only way you can fail Me is by not letting Me love you.”
Friends, I wish to encourage you. And myself. For now, Romans 8:1 reminds me there is “no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”
Bradford suggests a radical strategy: What if we fast from condemning ourselves?
I mean to try.
Perhaps, it always begins here:
in a season of falling
apples, and burgeoning
fears that resemble
creeping rot, we behold . . .
. . . all the little mercies, silently shining along our way.
I wonder: what’s mushrooming around you? What mercies have you noticed?
Is there something you need to fast from?
Click here to access Gena Bradford’s new book: I Can’t Rest Now, Lord! I’m Responsible: 30 Days from Burnout to the Heart of God, by Gena Bradford
You might also like this post from my archive: Kyrie Eleison: Seeking Mercy