At the end of chapter 12 (“Hospitality”) in God in the Yard, L.L. Barkat suggests a writing exercise.
Begin with a simple jotting of the objects and people around you . . . Choose just one of the images and make a second list, focused particularly on the item’s attributes . . . Next, try writing a quick poem or vignette, beginning with the question, “God, are you in ______ ” . . . ? This isn’t about writing the perfect piece. It’s about playing with words and thoughts to open yourself to the presence and possibility of God and others. ~God in the Yard, p. 118-119
She tried it herself when she jotted down a list of objects and people around her.
She chose “radiator” and listed, “cold, cast iron, in the corner, still, rigid, in shadow, ivory-painted, 1930’s, molded circle designs, silent, shut down for the season.”
God, are you in the ivory stillness, pressed circles of cold iron, silent corner, shut-down season, shadows? Have you been rooted to this wooden floor since 1930, waiting, just… waiting?
I looked around my kitchen and scrawled chicken lamp, window, table, high chair, Hoosier cabinet, bird feeder, refrigerator, cookie jar, coffee pot, egg carton, toaster.
I chose “Hoosier cabinet” and listed: white porcelain top, cool, frosted glass, grained wood, history, family, drawers, doors, knob, storage, corner.
And I played like so:
The Hoosier Cabinet
God, are you in the Hoosier cabinet
the porcelain white and cool
top rolled and history frosted?
Are you engrained in memories and
moved from house to house
to house to barn
to house to house
restored and cornered in my heart.
How did you begin?
Where do you call home?
What stories do you store?
The cabinet belonged to my husband’s great-grandparents, Frank and Carrie. He remembers that it sat in the big farmhouse and then the little one and then in the back kitchen of our current house where his mother did laundry. He does not remember it after this house was moved to its present spot until his parents gave it to us to restore. It very likely found a place in the barn for a few years along with the “rat cupboard,” which was used to store cow medicines.
Now it’s your turn to look around.
Make a list, choose an image, and fill in the blank. “God are you in ______?”
In the stillness,
Post resurrected and restored from the archives. It originally appeared (in a slightly different form) four years ago today.