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 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. 🙂


Knock Knock

Oh, hello.

How nice of you to drop by.

I wasn’t expecting you.

I hear the sound of a baby’s cry

And the bleating of stable animals.

Something smells.

But, no matter.

Come on in.

I’m sorry, I’ve nothing prepared.

Life is busy. You know how it is.

Can we get personal?

You don’t mind, do you?

Cuz, I’m a bit surprised.

Was this your plan

With all your power

To enter in this mess

Helpless and completely at our mercy?

Yes, it was?

How interesting!

Was this your plan

To form a band of rag tag nobodies

Confer on them a mission and an other-wordly kingdom

Placing all possibility of success squarely on their wobbly shoulders?

Let me guess, the answer, yet again, is yes?

How curious!

Was this your plan to end up nailed, spiked through hands and feet, to weathered stakes of wood

In front of all of those you healed who thought you were the one to free them?

You have my rapt attention.

To breathe your last and pass from heaven into hell

And, then, to rise again, ascend to sit at God’s right hand,

To make your home with us where you will reign forevermore?

What’s this?

A resounding affirmation

Oh, yes, there’s no mistake, no lapse in judgement, but celestial wisdom.

Oh, I didn’t know, I didn’t see, I didn’t understand.

The tears they blind my eyes.

You came to live with us, with me!

I bow my head.

I get down humbly on one knee

And offer up my heart, my life.

It’s all I have to give.

You lift me up and hold me for a time.

Then we let go, but still I feel aglow.

I’ll show you to your room.


Feature image graciously provided by Άννα Καράκοντη (@anna_karakonti) on Instagram.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you for reading my blog! You give me the gift of your time and attention every time you do and I’m so grateful. Enjoy your holiday!

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 @pollyeloquent. 🙂



Good Tidings

I’ve a hole in my heart since the day I was born

I knew it was there and while I’ve grown the hole grows, too

It’s now a rift, no, more a chasm

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to fill

And I fear someday as I tiptoe on the edge

To deposit yet another futile offering

That I will stumble on the slippery shale

And fall within myself and disappear


But at this time of year

I’m reminded there’s hope

I’m reminded that my hole is nothing more

Than the feeling that I’m desperately alone

And the anguish that I suffer now

Was remedied one Christmas morn

When the Father of the universe, the lover of our souls

Sent the Son to be with us

God is with us


It’s why the angel choir sang

And what the shepherds felt compelled to tell

And why the wise men left their palaces

To wander miles across the desert sands

Their eyes transfixed upon a glorious star

Somehow they knew the coming of this tiny babe, this most unlikely king

Would satisfy and make them well

And they would never be alone

God is with us


Remember now, rejoice and celebrate

The radiance that pierced the darkness on the earth

Remember now while it comes easily

And take it with you into a mysterious new year

It’s why we lift our voices in the carol song

And swathe the evergreen in beams of light

It’s why we give our gifts to meet the needs of one and all

It’s why we live

To breathe and bear this sacred tale

God is with us

God is with us

God is with us


Author’s note: There will be another Christmas poem posted on Christmas Day. 🙂

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. 🙂






Giving that Hurts so Good

When many people think of Christmas, the first thought that comes to mind is presents, packages wrapped up crisp and neat in festive paper, be-ribboned, and tucked awaygift1 under the bows of the Christmas tree to mingle with the low hanging ornaments. Gone are the days when sugar plums danced in childrens’ heads and shrieks of glee could be heard over a stocking filled with an orange and a couple of candy canes. Now, it’s iPhones and PlayStation consoles cluttering up kids’ noggins and taxing parents’ already stretched bank accounts.
Continue reading “Giving that Hurts so Good”


All I Want for Christmas is You

airjordanWant is rampant in our culture, particularly during the holiday season. I’m not talking about the want of poverty where people are subsisting on found food, begging for discards, and suffering and dying of starvation. I’m speaking of the disease of desire, the “must have more” mentality, the mission of acquisition.
Continue reading “All I Want for Christmas is You”


Out of the Mouths of Teens


My son and his junior high band class played Christmas carols at City Hall one year. Before angeltinsel2they began, the band teacher turned around to explain that the students had only been together for a paltry few weeks. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that my son had played the saxophone. The teacher added that with the limited number of students and, consequently, instruments, the melody may be carried by instruments we were not accustomed to hearing carry the melody.
Continue reading “Out of the Mouths of Teens”


My Children Have Me

For my children

I have children and my children have me

They have my body

They took from me to form

The bricks and mortar of their frames

All mine

They grew inside

And forced their way into the world

And took me with them


They have my time

My resources are theirs

Their sustenance and shelter

Come at my expense

My help, consistent and intense

They flourish in the wake of all my tenderness

I carry and support them


They have my mind

My thoughts are oft of them

Their lives, their health and happiness

My meditation

Now become my true vocation

They learn and try, excel and make mistakes

And I applaud them


They have my heart

They had it from the first

My love for the them far from a wispy, passing notion

More like a sure devotion

No matter where or who they are

I cannot help but love them


They have my cells, my time, my care, my mind, my money, and my love

My listening ear

My best advice

My fervent prayers

My biggest hugs

There’s not a day that passes by

That I don’t thank the Lord above

That I have children and my children have me


Complete the experience. Listen to Amy Sky’s I Will Take Care of You.

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. 🙂




Thanks or No Thanks?

As I write this, I’m thinking of some of you slumped into your couches, warm and dozy, bellies full and rounded, resting in the company of your loved ones. Canada, did you have a happy Thanksgiving?
Continue reading “Thanks or No Thanks?”