You have my word

One word can change your life.

Tag: naked

The places I have travelled, you


You say: you are poetry.

I say: you have me undone in three words.

You say: I don’t know what to say.

I say: don’t say anything.

You say: I am in love with a writer.

I say: I am in love with the sunrise. I am awake.

Like a train frames the movement of a bride on her wedding day,

so the sun only sets to frame the trail you leave in the darkness for me to find my way.

Your eyes. Like fireflies. Vibrant. Alive. Bright.

On my bucket list there stands: see the Northern Lights. Aurora Borealis.

That was before there was an us.

I could look at you and feel like I’d seen the world – like I’d met everyone there was to meet, like I’d tasted India and walked Rome and surfed Fiji and climbed Everest and loved every land I let my feet shake hands with.

Your hands. Like oak tree branches. Strong. They know their place. Safe.

I’m that chocolate lad. Not sweet like you’d think; that was never me.

I am dark, through and through.

I am my darkest when I am with you.

Bitter to those who aren’t accustomed to the taste, but you have let me melt on your tongue,

you have let my tongue melt the creases of your waist, the small of your back…

relax into me. I will hold you safe.

I don’t have fancy words to make you stay.

I don’t have instructions for a bad day.

I don’t know any languages other than my eyes to ask you not to leave.

I’ve never even been overseas.

Right now in this instance, it feels like we’re oceans apart so maybe that counts for something?

So when people ask me where I’ve been and what I’ve seen?

I’ll simply tell them I’ve travelled your spine, and scaled your ribs and held handfuls of breast

that I’m sure even the monks would profess

the gods made just for me.


Cold is a feeling known all too well

On a Sunday afternoon that felt like 3am – linen walls bloodied with words only my fists knew how to say… It was the Sabbath – the Lord’s Day – and I had never felt further from God.

If you have never been so afraid of yourself you refuse to open your eyes, then you have never known faith. If you do not know who you are, lock your eyelids shut – it is then that you will be certain of what you do not see, and perhaps it is for the better. But if it is for the worse…

When you find yourself crawling naked into a shower hoping to drown, imagine that you are standing in the rain – clouds, shedding tears and dark weight. Let the water remind you that you are not alone, for even the sky knows brokenness – unable to contain the many parts of the collapsing whole.

You will learn not to store all the tired in your bones like cancer. We get wrinkles on the outside so we can see how much we still have to heal. If they formed around our veins, beneath the skin, we’d never know how far we still had to go. Take a moment, rest your head and let the weariness float to the surface. Colour the worry in with bruises. They will mend.

Cold is a feeling you know all too well. Pry yourself off the floor. Pick yourself up. Push yourself up. Dry off the doubt, the drowning, the despair. Whatever soaks it up can be dropped and left behind on the floor when you walk out and shut the door. Do not carry the damp with you. It is heavy, and you were never meant to carry it with you.

Be gentle with yourself now. Dust yourself with soft cotton socks and clothes that remind you how your soul should feel. You are not all that different from before. It is still a Sunday afternoon that feels like 3am. You are climbing into bed after a nightmare day, but you feel a little closer to God. That close to dying, you can’t help but touch something of the Divine.

To hell with resolutions and the woes of skinny dipping

“Have you lost the guts to consider the new?” he asked. I silently answered, “Yes.”

I have not made any resolutions for 2013; resolutions are setups for drawbacks and buildups for letdowns. Truth be told, I’m terrified of dreaming for the year ahead because I don’t want to get to the end and discover that I haven’t met the mark. So I sit in limbo: desperately wanting to hope for the next 12 months – hope for the better, and the great, and the successful, but apprehensive about setting any words to dreams – making permanent “get-to points” like final tributes on grave headstones.

So instead (or for the time being anyway), here is my “Manageable List of Things to Accomplish in 2013”. It is by no means comprehensive, and it may morph as months move. The important thing is that I’m not overwhelmed.

  • Learn to handstand (harder than it looks)
  • Eat a banana (I gag even at the smell so you can imagine…)
  • Read all of ee cummings’ poems
  • Visit Cape Town (It’s appalling that I live in South Africa and haven’t yet)
  • Run a full marathon

I’m trusting earnestly that God would stir within me the desire to pursue His plans for my life this year, but for now I’ll trust Him as I busy in the smaller things.

On another completely random, rather unfortunate (but funny in hindsight) note at the start of the year…

I cycled today (good start to exercise for this year anyway), and when I got home, not being in the mood to shower/bath, I decided to swim. Costumeless. Because everyone should do that at least once in their life. The problem was not in the swimming (as I ensured that all neighbours had a zero-perusal possibility), but in the wanting to get out. Upon making my way to the steps I registered that the dog had taken hold of my towel and run off.

What ensued was something out of a really badly choreographed musical scene, complete with tug of war, paranoid assertiveness (in case the neighbours heard the commotion) and a terribly silly giggle. Your imagination can do the rest.

I did eventually get the towel. Here’s to a year of many more ridiculous moments! Cheers!

Grace, a letter | 500 Words on Grace

Dear Grace

I don’t know how to sum you up; but you do work in me and for that I am eternally grateful; or should I say graceful. Grace makes my jar of clay cracked exterior, look good.

I was seven when I first made your acquaintance – I remember clearly when you found me. I had no idea then who it was that I had been found by. I did not know then that you were to become my best, but very honest friend. That still makes me uncomfortable sometimes yet you put up with me on my even my deliberate attempts to shun your patient, persistent company.

You are pretty tough I have to admit. I would not have been that determined. I gather it’s why they call you Grace. So much nicer than I am-You are. You are more than a beautiful word. Yes, I know, it has taken a while.

I think it’s because your ways are so contrary to mine that I wrestle with you so much. This was highlighted so well once when I was screaming uncontrollably at my child. You used her voice to tell me what you thought. Mid shrill-mine-she looked up and gently said: “Jesus can make you talk nicely to me.” I was arrested by you, Grace.

Better than a slap that was! It was a heart-stoppingly reshaping moment, a clear imprint moment. I still need reminding that my words should be seasoned with more of you. I am glad for that assault.

I wish I could make a cameo of all the photo moments I have had with you. I am so glad for your grand scheme of eternity where we can all have endless fun times unpacking these favorite photo moments.

I am delighted that all those pictures have you in them – even the sad ones; especially the painful ones; the naked ones. Where we shared my deepest brokenness and failures, my shattered dreams are in a strange way my favorite. Perhaps it was in those I discovered how you clothe me…turn ashes into Grace – create something beautiful out of nothing.

In those dark rooms you were forming me into more of who you are. In those times I realised I had to look forward to the development of the negative into clear impressions of the master-craftsman of all hearts. You wanted to see so much more of who you are reflected in me. That is why you took me there so many times. I am glad those picture development moments were covered by you… Even in the darkness of my development you never exposed me shamefully to others… you hid my nakedness and frailty. You still do. That’s why I love you, Grace.

By the way, the pictures I really want to see are the ones taken when I didn’t even know you had me in mind; the times you snuck in when I wasn’t looking. Thank you for those especially. I’d be more of a mess if you hadn’t been quite as stealthy as you are. You are sneaky – I’m glad. You never put bunny ears above my head either on any of those photo days. You know I don’t like to be made fun of.

Mostly though, others should be grateful I met you. When I begin to think about me without you near me I shudder. You put things to death in me which would have been my downfall. These things would have taken others down with me too. Thank you for putting in me your heart of flesh.

Grace, you are beautiful; but not without sacrifice. I have had to learn to surrender to your beauty. Gethsemane has taught me, Grace. Your humble, weeping brokenness shows me how honest, heart surrendered cries, drenched in truth release provision and empowering. I have needed these face plant moments. Humility is uplifting. You said it would be. I have to trust you.

I liked agendas but I have discovered that you have an outside of time and sight way of operating. That makes this walk with you quite scary. Your track record is good though. You have scared me to death a few times; but you have never let me down.

Just one more thing, Grace; there is so much more I would like to say to you-about, You. You are more than enough. Sufficient is a good word to sum you up.

Thank you,

Grace, Chosen of God-I am called by your name.


Today in 500 Words on Grace, I have the beautiful privilege of hosting words from none other than my lovely mum, Anne. Having grown up in close proximity with her (obviously) I can testify to the evidence of grace at work in her life and I am grateful – it has set the tone for many moments in my own life. Thank you for the example. Follow her here.


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