Monday, November 11, 2013

Gathering Hope: A poem

I wrote this poem as a response to our church's call for poets/musicians/artists to create a piece that reflects our four themes for this ministry year: Deepening, Gathering, Sending, and Resting. On Sunday, I was invited to read my poem at both of our services. I haven't read many of my poems aloud and so I was a little nervous, but I appreciated the opportunity to speak these words from my heart and hopefully encourage others in their journey.

I wrote this piece as a reflection of how oftentimes we put our hope in temporal things, whether work, relationships, or in other ways that we define our identity. Yet when we step back, what we put our hope in seems as meaningless as wishing on birthday candles or blowing a fallen eyelash from your fingertip. Though these temporal things are often good, they shouldn't be our ultimate. Gathering in community instead points to a greater hope, one that will not disappoint.

Me as a little girl

Gathering Hope
Stephanie Shackelford

How do you capture the smoke
from a blown out candle,

or grasp an eyelash floating to the ground -

wishes rising up and drifting down?

With one puff, a sigh of hope, 

we breathe dreams into dead air,

whether dripping wax or fallen hair.

Because empty hopes cannot satisfy empty souls, 

You require no smoke offering and already know 

when one hair falls and another one grows.

There is hope unending;

just look around,

where people gather it is found.

The hollow sound of our brokenness, 

the laughter or the sorrow,

rings with Your redemption,
freely given, not bartered or borrowed.

And we share in the glory 

of Your perfect story;
our hope in an ending already written,
and our joy in a plot to be revealed.

We gather together on this journey 

to grow into characters unworthy,

but desiring to live out Your story.

That is a hope we cannot capture

and a joy we cannot grasp

except through faith 

in a love that will last.


  1. Great encouragement for my Monday. Thank you, dear daughter!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! Love you and hope to catch up soon!