Coffins – A Poem About Community

I like self-explanatory things.

I like self-explanatory things.

I had a wonderful opportunity for a few years to come alongside some lovely gentlemen who were in the midst of a difficult and long rehabilitation program. When I was able to attend worship with them, I found their earnest need for each other and God so refreshing.

These men were on the brink of destruction, on the brink of non-metaphorical, very-real death before coming into the program. They had moved beyond the existential worries which plague so many of us and had faced the real dilemma of finitude. Coming back from that brink, they had lost some of their callousness and saw the need to draw close to each other.

I hope that I don’t have to get that close to death to need real life so much.


There is beauty breaking in at every corner,
Hidden in the windows that show God’s soul,
The eyes of his children.

We children, separated by illusions
Of preconceived differences
Cannot see that light
That comes from our own eyes

It takes being together
Facing the reality of our need
For one another and the other
To help us recognize what is in us already
Hidden by loneliness and shame

Conversations strip away the
Unnecessary clothing with which we have hidden our souls.
And, for the moment at least, lift the lid of
Our coffins to let others peer in at what is inside.

What is inside these burdensome boxes is beauty and
Life that is still being formed and figured out behind
The safety of satin lined walls.

Kept inside too long, it too will die – mirroring on
The inside the projected callousness of the outside.
But here, together, the lids are lifted and life is seen
To be not so frightening as we once thought.

What then if we could be those who left our
Coffins behind, so unheeded in by death that we
Walked in all places naked, unconcerned with what
Any might think?

Might this be the hope for the world? Our own
Willingness to bear our nakedness for the world? In
Reality we are all naked anyway. But living into
It empowers us and beckons the world.

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