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A Lament for the Lost Things


Elizabeth Harwell

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Elizabeth Harwell

In the night, the year sits heavily on our chest;

            It has stolen our dreams and now it steals our breath.

How long, O Lord, until we come up for air,

            How long until we sleep in peace? 

 

We grasp for the precious things—

            It took them right from our hands.

We bury things never birthed;

            We laid them to rest before they even stirred.

Lord, awake! Why are you sleeping? 

            Give us back the things you took!

We tear at the ground for them—

            There is dirt underneath our fingernails.

Will you entomb them forever?

 

But you, O Lord, hide all things in your heart;

            I am hidden there, too. And I will hope in You.

You have covered us with the shadow of death,

            But you will not put us to shame. 

You will pull our dreams up from the grave;

            You will lay our shovels down. 

You will gather us to the secret place in your heart,

            Where all things are kept.

You are my God, the refuge of my life. 

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Renee Mathis

Thank you, Elizabeth!  I noticed two things as a read. Your very concrete image of "dirt underneath our fingernails" spoke to me of the very physical, very real things that accompany losses. Second, you made me think of how even we are lost, we are in a tomb, until Christ's love resurrects us from death. Praise God that we are not lost to Him!

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Joy Manning

Beautiful, Elizabeth! I also noticed and felt the vivid, concrete ways you describe our loss and our yearning for what was, and for what we hoped in the things that were. You point to the paradox of the grave and resurrection with the images of birth and tomb, breath and heavy chests. And in the end, the hiddenness, the shovels and dirt speak not of corpses, but treasure! Thank you!

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Elizabeth Giger

I love the way you play with the idea of what is hidden, with the way that we grasp and fight with all our being for what we cannot find, even for what we think God has taken from us, only to find it in God at the end. Well done!

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Lori Morrison
On 2/23/2021 at 10:53 PM, Elizabeth Harwell said:

In the night, the year sits heavily on our chest;

            It has stolen our dreams and now it steals our breath.

How long, O Lord, until we come up for air,

            How long until we sleep in peace? 

 

We grasp for the precious things—

            It took them right from our hands.

We bury things never birthed;

            We laid them to rest before they even stirred.

Lord, awake! Why are you sleeping? 

            Give us back the things you took!

We tear at the ground for them—

            There is dirt underneath our fingernails.

Will you entomb them forever?

 

But you, O Lord, hide all things in your heart;

            I am hidden there, too. And I will hope in You.

You have covered us with the shadow of death,

            But you will not put us to shame. 

You will pull our dreams up from the grave;

            You will lay our shovels down. 

You will gather us to the secret place in your heart,

            Where all things are kept.

You are my God, the refuge of my Beautiful!

 

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Shannon Stephens
On 2/23/2021 at 10:53 PM, Elizabeth Harwell said:

But you, O Lord, hide all things in your heart;

            I am hidden there, too. And I will hope in You.

Thank you for this.

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Gypsy Martin

I just love the extended metaphor here. And "Give us back the things you took!" This is a beautiful lament. I had no idea we had so many poets among us!

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Reagan Dregge

I'll add my voice to the refrain: thank you. I love imagining my dream as a seed. It must die to bear fruit. 

On 2/23/2021 at 9:53 PM, Elizabeth Harwell said:

You will pull our dreams up

He gives and takes away and gives back a hundredfold.

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