So be it, at approximately 4:30 pm yesterday, I embarked on my first illumination installation. A little paper lantern and inside a battery operated tea light turned on, some additional tea lights noted with, “be the light,” and “shine on,” my poem, “The Properties of Light,” and a candy cane, suspended from the trees and porches of my neighbours.
I came home aired out and rosy cheeked and with a giddy feeling of having done something, while only a few hours earlier I was questioning the validity and integrity of my initiative (feeling rather dark in the beginnings of this winter season, feeling rather inadequate). Then I was reminded of a tiny verse that is fixed to the front of my fridge with a magnet, “Go in the strength you have.” Joshua 6:11. So, deep breath, small prayer, winter coat, cozy scarf, flipping stomach, I went out. I hung lanterns. I took photos. I saw the lights twinkle in the dark. And that was enough.
Monday night I was asked to read a Spoken Word piece for the Mosaic group at Trinity. I showed up early for rehearsal, and as I sat waiting for the group to gather I asked, so just how many young adults do you have attending here? Well, around 60, leader Storm Moore told me. Hmmm… that’s quite a few, I thought. And then the inner voices started and the anxiety started and I began to feel like a fish out of water because, really, what does a middle aged poet have to offer to these kids… I mean, really?
Until I started listening to the lyrics of the music set as they did their run through (did I mention Trinity is my local faith community here in Kelowna?). Anyway, turns out Mosaic, a gathering for the 18 to 28 year old set, is about ‘doing old school yet still relevant church’. Supper, conversation, music, learning… them and me. Me, delivering up a spoken word piece on “Purpose” because they asked. Me being scared and full of self-doubt…
And then the words and the music washed over me and I found myself, on the inside of me, on my knees in awe of God. Have a listen to this song… “Awakening” and tell me… does it move you like it moved me? Specifically these words were the ones that put things into perspective for me…
for you and you alone, awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
for the world you love (the young adults at mosaic, each and every one)
…let your will be done in me (in my poem, my voice, my heart)
So, I waited, I breathed in the words of the song, I opened my hands, let go of my fear, and asked God to do what he had to with my small offering, and when the time came for me to share my poem, I walked up to the microphone and spoke;
Lesley-Anne Evans, SGD
One thing this poem will NOT do
is answer all your questions
it won’t tie up loose ends in a pretty little bow
and say, “There, there you go.” No.
Truth is, we ALL have questions ~ like
Who is God?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What is my PURPOSE?
Questions that jam up inside us, stop us
from making a move.
We are immobilized by FEAR
want to get it absolutely RIGHT.
I believe God is less interested in RIGHT
than we are. He’s more interested in
what lies BENEATH our choice ~ our INTENT.
And that’s what PURPOSE is.
PURPOSE is intent.
PURPOSE is the reason why.
The Book says GOD has a PURPOSE.
A John 3:16 purpose to SAVE THE WORLD!
The loving, giving, dying, soul-saving
divine purpose of God
God the SEEKER
God the RESCUER
God the REDEEMER
God the LOVER
God who finds his deepest JOY in WHO we ARE
and WHY we do what we do
more than WHAT we do for him.
And when we choose God, when he saves us
GOD’S PURPOSE becomes OUR PURPOSE
World savers, God lovers, God glorifiers
Witnesses to all humanity
tellers of HIS ~ STORY.
The confusing part for us
where we get twisted up
is in the PRACTICAL
the WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW
we live our God purpose out.
We want facts. Details. NOW.
This or that, here or there, where oh where…
We take eyes off GOD, looking for
precisely WHAT to do FOR Him.
What if our PURPOSE is
to choose ~ SOMETHING?
Based on what we know of GOD
Based on what we know of OURSELVES?
Something YOU and GOD decide.
GOD knows YOU best. And you know
what you DREAM about
what makes you ANGRY
what makes your HEART BEAT faster
what is uniquely YOU?
(If you don’t know yet, take time and find out
get away, get quiet, pay attention, ask GOD
and WORK it out.
With God PURPOSE, God INTENT
an ORDINARY life is far from ordinary.
Every act, loving God and others, is SIGNIFICANT.
Like building a house. Feeding the homeless.
Teaching English to new Canadians.
Writing a computer program. Writing a poem.
Or going for Gold, like this guy who ran, ran fast.
He said God made him to run fast.
He said he felt God’s pleasure when he ran fast.
And he told everyone. When he won the Olympics he said so.
THIS is what God wants for YOU, THIS is what gives God PLEASURE
you giving back what He’s given you, WHO YOU ARE
your unique personality, talents, treasures, experiences.
WATCH and SEE what GOD does with a LIFE like that!
And, now there are echos… here in me. Maybe in others. I love how God loves us, so specifically, so bang on personal, right when we need it most.
So, here’s my new blog “pop-up-poetry” that will follow my adventures in reading my poetry out loud on the streets of Kelowna British Columbia (and maybe other locations). Each time I read a poem in public, I will post the poem here. I might share a story about a poetry reading encounter too.
I believe art is for all of us, first for the artist, then for humanity. Art for our need to create beauty, express the gift… and beauty for the sake of saving the world, exposing our gift to others to touch their lives in a positive way.
Yeah, a bit of a lofty idea perhaps, but I do believe it is true.
I’ve been writing for years, and now I’m going to lay it out there for you. I hope it grabs you. I hope it echoes. We’ll see what happens.
The idea of me popping up and reading poetry in a spontaneous way to complete strangers, was planted in my mind when I took a trip to Vancouver, B.C. and learned about Pop Up retail. I heard of a movie company that had set up shop in a vacant storefront for a couple of weeks to sell off props, then once they were done, they closed… vanished. Same thing happens with clothing, art, and other retail establishments that literally pop up overnight and are gone within a very short time frame. I thought HOW COOL IS THAT! I looked into it a little more, and discovered that there are poets out there doing this… or similar things to this. Check out this YouTube video of a New York experience of pop-up poetry. Like the Flashmob phenom., there’s this idea of taking what we have to offer artistically and giving it freely to others. The artist as cultural philanthropist kind of thing.
Anyway…I’ve been blogging for years, writing poetry longer. Reading to myself/family/friends/acquaintances is fun, but reading to strangers is… risky, exciting, and I believe, necessary for me to grow as a poet/artist. I need to up the ante. So, here goes…
I’ve popped up to read poetry spontaneously a couple of times. Once last April, I walked around a plaza and read a poem by someone else… for National Poetry Month. This time, I went out one sunny September afternoon and read poems to a dozen or more people… my poems. I had some unique responses, some very interesting conversations. It was good.
And I do all this knowing that in some circles, the idea of freely sharing your work isn’t done. The purse strings are tight, the rules restrict. I’m doing it anyway. Until I’m convinced otherwise. Here’s something I wrote on the topic.