Stories are my calling.  Not just the writing, but the seeking, the holding of stories, listening as humanity groans and rejoices…

I wake up too early for a morning without an agenda.
A muted-white light comes in through my window, tells of no sun,  just water-laden sky. I try to rouse the dog for a walk, give up, and slip on my shoes and sweatshirt anyway. A brittle mist brushes my eyelids. I blink, let my legs fall into rhythm, hoping the forecast will wait.

I don’t know if I’m walking to write, or pray, or just be.
I don’t know a lot of things. And I wonder, more often now,
is it fair to write? Is it right when I’ve hardly read, or thought, or formulated anything worth anyone’s time? Is it good for me now? Should I wait a while longer? Stay silent until the business of life stills and allows?

A cardinal sings like the world is watching, somehow perched on the tip of a spruce.
Between streaks of water and ice, a sand-packed can of chew stands open on the street.
A dog announces his dislike of me, a few awkwardly flapping ducks fly overhead. And, as I’m nearing home, a letter.

Water and sun washed, it lies flat on a bank of snow.

A gift? A piece of trash. I read it anyway, hoping stationary in blue and pink pastels, dated 1985 was written long ago that I am not being invasive.  A few words in and I think I might see their faces, a little boy, a sister far away, and a woman leaning over her counter and scribbling between washing dishes and getting ready for advent season.

 There’s dramatic confession, no account of a travel adventures. It’s just a few words on a page, a lost or left snapshot, a piece of their story.

…I believe in the power of stories – that when we tell our own, we find communion and when we truly hear another’s, we make our first steps towards peace.  I believe in my calling to bear witness to life, to hold a corner of your grief, to laugh with you until tears roll down our cheeks.  So please, pull your chair up close to mine.  Extend your wounds, your scars, so I can trace them softly as you tell me the history behind each one. — emily wierenga