little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

Sharing stories…reflections from a Lenten retreat

Yesterday, I was able to share in an enriching and renewing experience of a Lenten retreat at my church.  As opposed to a normal Saturday routine, this day made space for silence, journaling, sharing stories, deep “generous” listening, reading God’s word, and partaking in the feast of communion.  I still feel relatively new to this church, and while there were familiar faces present, especially my dear mama, it was an opening experience to meet and encounter new friends, especially those of the Hispanic community who attend the 1:00 service in Spanish. From all of our apparent differences – ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences – we came together as one whole circle of God’s beloved community.

Much of the day was spent sharing and listening to stories, and upon reflecting with mama last evening, our stories are vast and layered, and no matter what we may project on the surface, we all have a story to tell.  There is far too much, too deep from yesterday to try to reproduce here in words, but based on the experience, I wrote a poem late last night that conveys a piece of my story and speaks to where I am on the journey.

I hope it reaches you, my friends, in whichever way God intends, for my prayer is to live out and share my story and not retreat behind masks. I am who I am because God is who He is.

May we all find time and space to reflect on and share our own stories. I have found the value in vulnerability and invite you to do the same…

Reflections in the Mirror

I used to avoid looking in the mirror,

afraid of who was looking back at me –

she who exposed my warts and imperfections;

she who knew my secrets and my paralyzing, hidden fears;

she who knew and mimicked the voices in my head

that questioned my size and shape

and looked for reasons why

I still didn’t have a boyfriend, a husband.

I was afraid that if I looked too long,

she’d see the tears

walled up behind the dams,

thickened walls

that could not bear to break,

to disappoint.

The flood stayed inside

as long as it could

until my levees broke

and all the hurt I’d done

to my earthly home

revealed buckling trenches –

fissures formed at 4:00 am

and deepened by the

record player of routine

and drill

and mastering expectations.

As my levees are now still broken,

the waters and tears released,

they are feeding the seeds God planted

long ago –

a baptismal reformation of that girl

staring back in the glass.

I see her now

without fear,

but with softened recognition,

for I touch my face and know my father’s eyes

and put my finger in the hollow of his dimples.

I smile, and my mama’s

dancing expressions appear –

her laughter is my own,

and now I don’t want

to turn away.

Instead, I whisper “thank you,”

for I see and know

the face that is mine –

that is God’s beloved.

In the faint background,

I can hear the trickling waters

and feel them wash over my soul.

-C. C. T.

March 16, 2013


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4 thoughts on “Sharing stories…reflections from a Lenten retreat

  1. acallison1 on said:

    only have a quick sec to write. so much to say,maybe later… but I just read this again for the third time and needed to let you know how beautiful it is. your words are raw, transparent, beautiful, and wise. thank you thank you thank you for writing it and sharing it. you have a gift for truth-telling my friend! thank you for sharing it!

  2. Love this sister! You have an amazing gift for poetry! And I didn’t know your first name was Corinne!?!? 🙂

  3. Lauren on said:

    Carter, I love your poem. I see reflected in it so much of our conversation during our recent walk. I’ve always known you had a crazy gift with words, but here I see you have an admirable vulnerability. This is a perfect Easter poem, I think.

  4. thank you for sharing Cart.  Thank you for your vulnerability.    I am so grateful to know and love you,   Nancy


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