The Girl at the Window

The yellow light streaming from the window drew her forward.
The warmth of the light in strong contrast to the cold and grey outside.
The grey that had become her companion, her life, her bed.
Hugging the shadows she edges forward, not wanting to be seen.

Feet that had long since lost their feeling shuffle forward.
Numb fingers stretch out.
She edges closer to the glass.
She wants to look inside but not to be seen.
To be an invisible witness.

She sees a family busily setting a table.
An open fire crackles.
Voices rise and fall.
Plates clink.
Cutlery clangs.
Laughter abounds.

Even though the chill of the cold seeps
into her fingers, her toes, her nose,
the warmth of the room is almost projected outside.
Tears silently form and overwhelm the dam of her eyelashes.
Silently they descend her cheeks,
leaving little tracks of clean skin.
Silently they fall to earth, like so many of her hopes.

Inside the room a child stops and looks out of the window.
Looks straight at her.
Holds her gaze.

She recoils away,
wanting to disappear back into the grey.
To furl her cloak of loneliness ever tighter about her.
To feel its familiarity envelope her once more.
To disappear.

The child inside leaves the room.
They make their way through the house and opens the front door.

The light streaming behind the child makes her blink.
She is not used to looking into the light.
To look up.

Wordlessly the child looks into her moist eyes,
smiles and extends a hand.

She is transfixed.
Rivers of tears flow down her cheeks once more.
She takes a step forward but stops.
The warmth is alien to her.

The child walks out from the doorway.
Moving from the warmth and light into the cold and grey.
The hand remains extended.
The gaze remains locked.
The smile remains welcoming.

She moves forward and her hand is entwined by the child.
Fingers interlocking fingers.
Across the threshold she steps.
Steps into a world long since alien to her.
A world filled with chatter.

She is gently guided to a chair at the table.
A chair set just for her.
Coat and hat and gloves are removed.
Food appears.
Conversations and chatter roll about her,
inviting her to be included,
but with no weight of expectation.

All this time the child sits beside her, hand in hand.
Finger still interlocked with finger.
Still with a smile.

And so the slow process of acclimatisation
to a new normal starts.

Silently the front door is closed by unseen hands.
The cold and grey is shut out.
A new normal is entered.

This week I hosted/facilitated (not sure of the correct word to use) our mid-week small group meeting. Over the preceding months I’ve been very challenged/exercised to explore ways to bring different creative expressions into our worship.

I’ve been particularly encouraged by the blog from Bethel Church in Redding California (Created to create ) and by groups encouraging us to use more than just our voices in worship (We Are Set Sail – where faith meets art). So this week we dived in and spent the whole evening using different creative expressions of our worship to God. We had drawing, painting, writing, origami and crochet! At the suggestion of someone else in the group we had backing music but it was music only – no words.

It was in this context that I wrote this poem, based on a picture I’ve had for about 6 months. After I shared it with our group someone asked “So who’s the girl then?”. My honest answer is I don’t know.

When I write I sometimes get a sense of who the characters are, sometimes not. However I think that this is just my view at the time and I don’t want to “get in the way” of anything God may be saying to other readers by clearly saying “and in this poem character X clearly represents Y“. Rather I think that the characters in the poem will mean different things to different people at different times.

This poem could be about a journey into faith or about how God provides families for those of us who don’t really have any (see Psalm 68v5) or it could be something completely different. Just read it with an open heart and mind and see what God says to you.


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