Seek First

God marks the way home with the bread of his Word.

I don’t know when the realization came that my priorities were off. I’d had inklings before and even after a disastrous number of years, I still didn’t clue in that I needed to wisdomgerdaltmannchange. I wish, as a human race, we could mature faster than we do, that our wisdom and ability to follow through wouldn’t show up just as our bodies are starting to give out. Am I the only one who feels like life has just begun and I’m almost in my 50’s?

It was a verse of scripture that flung open my eyes and revved up my heart, causing a sharp intake of breath. I had read it over and over and it finally bore a hole in the great wall of Pollyland. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This verse comes on the heels of Jesus exhorting us not to fret about stuff, as some are inclined to do. I knew the verse; I never thought to ask myself if I was doing what it says. In the stillness of awakening, I knew I wasn’t.

I’ve never been a person with a plan, preferring to wander, to dance, to float through life Macro of floret floating in the airand see what happens. Though this may smack of freedom, those who live this way seldom arrive anywhere. It’s a life of endless sampling without ever purchasing the product. If I really wanted to know God, to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I would have to do something. It wasn’t just going to happen to me, but I had to make it happen. Obedience requires action.

I started by focusing on His word. In the past, I would eagerly scarf it down in generous helpings and then I would go for days, weeks and months without, starving myself, hampering my communication with Him. If I was going to seek Him, I needed to be faithful rather than frenzied or noncommittal. I needed some sort of reminder this was the path I chose, a visual to spur me on. I copied the picture of Red, from Shawshank Redemption, heading out under the hot sun into that field, looking for whatever his pal Andy Dufresne left him. I captioned it with Matthew 13:44 which says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” I put it over my bed and whenever I entered my room I would see it and ask myself, “Did you seek the kingdom today?”bibleLukePalmerunsplash

We had an old bible lying around, a translation I wasn’t familiar with and I began to read the gospels with fresh eyes. Certain scripture verses took hold of me and I felt the urge to “write them on the doorposts of my house” (Deut. 6:9). I began looking for interesting, artistic pics to fit the words of scripture capturing my mind and heart. Thankfully, my husband is not unduly concerned about the decor in our bedroom, because the wall across from my bed looks like a crazy quilt. I’m surprised at how much joy this practice brings and I read through the verses daily for inspiration. I’ve committed many of them to memory.

One of the first verses I chose was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I picked a whimsical photo of flowers in soft pastel hues, because it resonated with joy. After working on it for a while with no satisfaction, I abandoned it to work on other verses where success was more forthcoming. Not wanting to leave it out, I returned to it, scanning the images I already collected. There it was. A lone woman clad in a long, dark coat, walking away into a forest of naked trees, rotting leaves scattered darkforestabout her feet. The whole scene is dark, but for a smidgen of light in the background and the red, polka dot umbrella the woman is carrying. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it before. Maybe it was because I was seduced by the word joy. Everybody wants to be happy, right? Yet, this verse is not primarily about joy, but about joy in all of life, not when joy comes naturally, but when it’s hard to find and to choose. It’s an outlandish standard, surely not meant for the average person, but for nuns and monks married to God, cloistered away in sanitized piety with no other concerns than washing their shiny faces and pleasing their master. It couldn’t be for those of us with sick children, aging parents, wayward spouses, lost jobs, mental illness, addictions, bad hair days, zits and blubber, could it?

The more I read the Word, the more I meditate on this verse and others, the more I’m convinced of my inability to live the life Jesus calls me to on my own. Philippians 2:14-15a says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you will prove StopcomplainingAlanTurkusyourselves blameless and innocent, children of God without reproach…” I laugh at this. Is this even possible? My cynicism is showing. His ways are most certainly not mine, but the funny thing is, when scripture is etched on your brain, the Holy Spirit brings it to mind wherever it applies. No more feigning ignorance, or following your heart, which is mostly selfish in its impulses, or going with the flow. No, the Holy Spirit is there dogging you to do the right thing.

There was an incident the other day and the Spirit flagged it with the above verse and it was all I could do to stay quiet. The idea of biting your tongue is not far-fetched, because shhPhoto by Kristina Flour on Unsplasha bloody mess is what it would’ve taken for me to shut up. I wanted to rail at the injustice of it. I felt it was my right. The Spirit called for grace and, in the end, I had none of it. I’m ashamed to say, I erupted and not just once. The word spew comes to mind. Complaining is something that builds on itself, like layers of old, garish paint. The avid complainer’s eyes narrow and darken and the face puckers up like an old kitchen witch and the world turns sour. This is not what God wants for anyone. It’s a miserable way to exist and it’s not how I want to be remembered.

I chose to deliberately disobey that day and returned home feeling discouraged and defeated. Did I go crazy-eyed mental and rip the scripture verse, that vivid emblem of my failure, off the wall, tearing it to shreds while sobbing and drooling, resigning myself to being an ogre of a human being, unfit for sunshine, daffodils, and Skittles? No. It was tempting, but, you see, there are other verses I’ve discovered in my seeking, besides those overwhelming ones, that speak as powerfully, if not more so. Jesus said in Matthew Hope19:26 that “all things are possible with God” and he was talking about salvation, not about something as everyday as controlling one’s impulses. If his Spirit lives in us, he’s promised to produce good things; “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”(Gal. 5:22) His word also tells us Jesus understands, having been “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” (Heb. 4:13) 2 Peter 1:3 assures us that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Do you remember when Star Wars first came out? I was 11 years old, living in Detroit, when my brother and I went to see it. We were obsessed. We had all the action figures and spent hours drawing the characters, especially cute and quirky R2-D2. It’s funny princessleiawscottheath2what remains of all that devotion. I regularly recall the scene where R2-D2 projects a message from a desperate Princess Leia.

“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi,“ she pleads. “You’re my only hope.”

I’m her, without the cinnamon buns on the sides of my head, because we can all agree that was a mistake. I’m on a mission and I’ve exhausted my resources. I’m failing, stumbling, falling, crawling, walking, wandering, dancing, floating, and sometimes running toward God and, in those moments, when the following seems the hardest and I feel the most hopeless, it’s then I must remember who it is I put my hope in and go, not to the force, but to the Source. “Help me, Jesus. You’re my only hope.”

Complete the experience. Listen to Brandon Heath’s Whole Heart.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂




The Scent of Unexpected Blessing

showerhead2The other day I was doing a shower for a delicate, little bird of a lady. When I shower people, I usually try to ask questions about their lives to put them at ease, because it’s such an intimate thing I do for them. As they share their stories and the warm water droplets contact and cleanse their bodies, the tension seems to drain away with the dirty water.

As the shower progressed, I began to open and use bathproducts2the bath products she brought with her. I massaged her head with oil of macadamia nuts. I scrubbed her down with raspberry shower gel. After gently patting her dry with the scratchy, white, hospital towels, I massaged a lotion called “Hawaiian Island Flowers” into her arms, legs, and back. I oohed and aahed and she giggled. I felt her happiness in this most unlikely place, enveloped in a cloud of heavenly scents. I’ve never been one to use a lot of bath products, nor have I ever really considered the virtues of aromatherapy, but in that moment, I was grateful for them and the effect they had on a delicate, little bird of a lady in a hospital shower.

Author’s note: This was written when I worked on the geriatric unit of my local hospital.

Complete the experience. Read this article The Right Way to Shower. I had been showering people some time before looking this up and was surprised at what I learned.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

You Oughta be in Pictures…or Not

My first camera, a basic Kodak, was a Christmas gift, a costly gift, when I think about it now, in time and coinage. One had to purchase film, snap the allotted pictures, take the film into a store that would develop it, and pick up the pictures when they were ready. You paid for every photo, the pic of your grandparents with grandpa’s head cut scan00152off, the pic of your grandparents where you almost sliced grandma clean away, and the pic of your foot (Seriously, I loved my grandparents. I just sucked at taking pictures). There was excitement happening when you retrieved those photos and you were pleased if some of them turned out to be semi-worthy of the time that went into their creation. You slapped them into a coil bound, self-adhesive photo album and, if you’re anything like me, hardly ever looked at them again. Sometimes, you left the used film sitting for so long, you didn’t even know what was on it anymore.
Continue reading “You Oughta be in Pictures…or Not”

A Guilty Daydream

Jesus said to Martha, and I paraphrase, “Mary has chosen the better way, hanging out with me while you cook and clean and fuss.” Do I ever like that guy!


broomThere are crumbs on my floor to make a meal

Dust obscures the TV screen

My windows have been licked and gobbed on

My walls are glazed with grubby fingerprints

Little strings and bits of lint languish on the rug

The floor is spattered, scuffed and split

My bathtub proudly displays its ringbubbles

I am the only lonely one in the cycle of chores

I bow down to the pail godpailandsponge

I slop with water

I scrub and scour and wipe away

I bend and contort and laborvacuum-41720_960_720

I say this sucks as I push the stick that sucks up the dust

I get tired and everything gleams

And then I have to do it all again

I think gleaming is over-rated

And in my case, it’s just a guilty daydream

book-157851_960_720Nothing gleams

I sit in the naturalness, the mess

And smile and read a book



Author’s note: I wrote this poem while running a day home when my children were small. My dislike of cleaning has only grown. I’ve tossed the guilt. I get a lot of reading done. 🙂

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Substance Abuse

We were house hunting a couple of years ago and there was one house in particular that stood out and not because I liked it. On every wall available, there were two to three pigs2pictures. There was no blank space to rest your eyes, only intense stimulation. In another home, every room was littered with piles of knicknacks. I don’t like knickknacks. I know some of you are coo-coo for Cocoa-puffs, I mean, nutty for knickknacks. I challenge you to think about whether or not you even look at them, or if their visual cacophony is something you now ignore. For me, something on every surface is just so much clutter. Your house might as well be messy. Besides, how much of your life do you want to spend moving, dusting, and resetting stuff?
Continue reading “Substance Abuse”

The Scarf that Keeps on Giving

I have a scarf. It was purchased for me by a dear friend on one of her holidays. It’s a rainbow of fuchsia, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow. She said she saw it and it reminded her of my vibrant personality. I don’t wear scarves, because I have boobs and don’t wish to look like an 87-year-old Grandma with waist deep, wrung out, brightly-colored mammary glands. For a while, I wondered what to do with this scarf. It’s too beautiful to languish in a drawer and I would never re-gift it because I love my friend and appreciate her thoughtfulness. One day, I tied it in a bow and hung it on the bedpost next to my head. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded that I’m a beautiful, multi-faceted human being and that I have a friend who loves me. Do you own such a treasure? Is it out where you can see it?

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

I’m Fresh out of Style

Never judge a chick by her cover.


I don’t like shopping. I can look at oodles of cluttered stuff without leaving the privacy of my own home and it’s free. Some women might say I’m abnormal, stricken with some horrible disease. You should see our bedroom closet. My husband’s side is packed, but neatly arranged, sweats and sweatshirts for the weekend, button down shirts, sweaters, trousers, (he has a real job). My side is a careless collage of shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, and jeans. At times, I need something more and must enter a mall. My husband has been banned from the trip. When I’ve taken him before, he comes out with three bags to my one.
Continue reading “I’m Fresh out of Style”

The Sacred Meet and Greet

Somebody needs you. Don’t keep them waiting.

It happens when we leave the house, often numerous times a day. Two people who know each other pass by in a hallway at work or on the sidewalk, at school or a conference, at a bar, a gym, or in the church foyer. Our eyes meet, we recognize each other, and we acknowledge each other with a greeting. We say “Hello”, “Hey there”, or we throw out a quick “Hi”.
Continue reading “The Sacred Meet and Greet”

A Birthday Grief

So far the days have strayed since when we were together
Oh, how the hours have flown since I last held your hand
I long to hear your voice and trace your face and hold you nearer
And wish to never lose you again
Now time is marking days we spent in celebration
But in your absence, I am at a loss for joy
The day that you first graced this place, now a reminder
That you will tarry elsewhere evermore
Oh, God, who watched his closest friends desert, betray him
Oh, God, who died alone in agony
Oh, God, I clasp your promises in weakness and hang my head in heart-sick misery
I plead, though feebly, with the psalmist
Come satisfy as only you can do
I stumble onward, tearful, faithful, and in earnest
And trust that you will see me through


Author’s Note: This poem was written for a friend who lost his spouse.

Complete the experience. Listen to Danny Gokey’s Tell your Heart to Beat Again.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

When All is Said and Done

I was in a waking dream once. I was at the interment service, at the graveside, where the dearly departed had the most ornate coffin I’d ever seen. When it came time to lower it, the most unlikely man came out of the fog of tears. Elmer, wearing a sparkly, red satin, baseball jacket with his name bedazzled in white across the back, began to crank that baby into the ground. That was rough.


todolist2Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of doneness. Everyone has their own idea as to when they’re finished with something. Some people are all about the details. A task is not finished until every conceivable angle is considered and dealt with. Some people only care about the outcome and do what they have to as efficiently as possible to reach the destination quickly. Some people enjoy the process so much that the end game may be put off repeatedly or indefinitely.
Continue reading “When All is Said and Done”