The Gift

Here’s the thing: If I had been born to a Swedish baker
I might know the art of weaving a braid of bread.
Had I been born to a Hawaiian mechanic
I might be skilled at fixing engines and sliding through tunnels of water.
I was born to an Italian man and an Irish woman—two people of the church—
And so my great gift is speaking to God.

Not very practical, one might say.  
Not highly sought or easy to sell.
And I would agree, on many days when I am hungry for ordinariness.

Because knowing how to speak to God
doesn’t mean that God speaks back
Or that any great clarity or revelation comes of one’s tongue-wagging to the Angels.
Most days all it actually means is that I don’t completely lose it when the traffic light doesn’t turn—that day, at least.
Or that I don’t decide to just curl up in a Zoloft-induced cave to sleep through this epically insane shit storm we’re calling Modernity.
—except, sometimes
It also means
that words arise
in moments so exquisite or so excruciating
that those with other skills may often find it difficult
to gather the words together
in a sentence or a song
to describe
with more and less precision
what in heaven and on earth
and all the odd corners in between
is going on.

Here’s the other thing: I feel wounds of the world like they bleed from my own body.
I see them in brittle detail ready to break the whole thing apart.
this aching heart of All That Is—
the Word Made Flesh in every broken woman
every colonized people
every forgotten child
every poisoned stream.
I hate that I can do this,
and yet I try to choose that it, too, is part of my gift:

that maybe God speaks back to me after all?
Maybe this is my Christ on the Cross
She is dying and bleeding and weeping
And all I must do is stand and see and weep and
I must speak to God even still. And to you.
Because that is what I can do.
Because that is my gift.
And you do not use a gift.
The gift uses you.