The other day I packed up half of my closet. I don’t know what happened, but my clothes shrunk. The clothes that used to be just a bit too loose are now too tight. Or even unbuttonable. Sigh.

I cried a little. Maybe even more than a little. It felt like I was being invited to let go of a little bit more of the life that used to be mine. All of my suits. Gone. Too small. My skirts that I used to wear to work because I hated wearing suits. Too small. The fitted dress shirts. Gone too. All of the clothes I wore in my lawyer life have left my closet. I suppose it is time.

In emptying my closet, I am faced with an invitation. Of course, there is the invitation to take care of my body. To exercise and to feed it well. But the invitation moves deeper.

As I let go of these clothes, I wonder what else I am being invited to let go of? What else needs releasing to make space for something new? What am I holding onto just out of fear, or pride, or because I wonder what other people will think? When have fear, pride, or the opinions of others been trustworthy sources of guidance? What am I holding onto, just in case? I think it’s time to let go of the pieces that aren’t me. It’s okay to let go of that which no longer fits. It’s time to celebrate and honor the ways that my soul and heart have expanded during these last few years. To me, it feels nothing short of miraculous really.

And so here’s a little poem and a prayer:

Expanding.jpg

I am
Expanding–
It’s not just the
flesh gathering around
my thighs
and my waist.

Clothes on
the way to Goodwill
testify to this
expansion of both my body
and my soul.

Clothes that fit just right
in an ill-fitting
life
no longer
occupy my closet.

I shed these clothes,
like a caterpillar sheds
its skin
and step into
this expanding soul—expanding life—of mine.

/ / /

Oh, God.
Help me to let go of
the attitudes that pinch my heart closed—
the fears that keep me small and hidden.

Open me—
and open me again.
All of the way open.

Open my ears
that I might hear
your whisper
in the tock-tick of my clock,
the sigh of my daughter,
or the cardinal’s happy tune.

Open my eyes
that I might glimpse
my place:
infinite and tiny,
eternal and one short breath
inside of you.

May my soul
continue its expansion
its capacity for delight,
for joy,
for sorrow,
for living
and dreaming
and working out
the coming of your kingdom
here on this

Blessed and beautiful
groaning
earth—

this place where I belong—

this home to my feet
and my opening,
expanding
heart.

 

Where do you find yourself expanding? How can you honor and celebrate it? How can you honor where you’ve been as you embrace what comes next?

 

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6 thoughts on “A Poem and a Prayer in Honor of Expanding

  1. Nice Jess! Love the perspective of expanding. Why do we fight so hard to keep ourselves so small… Expansions the way to go 🙂

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  2. Oh, I like this! There are some things in my closet that I’ve kept from a past job. I wear them on occasion to church, but they’re no longer necessary. I’ve been cleaning out a little at a time. In your poem, I love how you name some ordinary things, like a cardinal’s song, as a way to hear God’s whisper. Learning to recognize Him in the ordinary is something of a theme for me right now.

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