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The World According to Americans


(Hat tip: N8)

Lesson by Forrest Hamer

It was 1963 or 4, summer,
and my father was driving our family
from Ft. Hood to North Carolina in our 56 Buick.
We’d been hearing about Klan attacks, and we knew

Mississippi to be more dangerous than usual.
Dark lay hanging from the trees the way moss did,
and when it moaned light against the windows
that night, my father pulled off the road to sleep.

that usually woke me from rest afraid of monsters
kept my father awake that night, too,
and I lay in the quiet noticing him listen, learning
that he might not be able always to protect us

from everything and the creatures besides;
perhaps not even from the fury suddenly loud
through my body about his trip from Texas
to settle us home before he would go away

to a place no place in the world
he named Viet Nam. A boy needs a father
with him, I kept thinking, fixed against noise
from the dark.

See my new review of Rift by Forrest Hamer on CutBank Reviews

In your prayers do not babble as the gentiles do, for they think that by using many words they shall make themselves heard.  Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:7-8

“For many of us prayer means nothing more than speaking with God.  And since it usually seems to be a quite one-sided affair, prayer simply means talking to God.  This idea is enough to create great frustrations. . . .  I may begin to ask myself: to whom am I really speaking, God or myself? . . .  Listen to your heart.  It’s there that Jesus speaks most intimately to you.  Praying is first and foremost listening to Jesus. . . .”

to read the rest of this devotional see Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen

February 2008
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