The Sea Will Rise

The Sea Will Rise

lyrics by Hannah Asfeldt

 

The world is howling and there is no light around. The wild storm magnifies the lack of hope that’s found.
Our cries distinguished not in wind that never ceases. For if we give up hope we’ll surely fall to pieces.

There is no submission in eyes made of mirrors
Lungs that hold their breathe will soon turn to glass

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

Lord your faithfulness will lead me through these waters
Lord your faithfulness will lead me in the truth
I will gladly drown to show the world you chose us
I will gladly drown to show that I choose you

Though there is no silver lining in our vision
You have made the promise no more waves

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

You baptize us when you bring the floods.
Hear a voice cry out, begging pleading “Father let us drown”
You baptize us when you command the floods.
Hear the world cry out begging “Father cleanse us in your blood”

The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will not sink
Because in your eyes, in your eyes, in your eyes we are worth saving.
In your voice, in your voice, in your voice we’ll find promises of what’s to be;
With you we’ll breathe.
The sea will rise, the sea will rise, the sea will rise but we will sail on
In our eyes, in our eyes, in our eyes you’re a faithful God
Though we pray, though we pray, though we pray for an olive branch
We’ll sail straight through
We’ll breathe with you

If I Could Have Children…

This is a poem that I wrote inspired by the love and compassion the children at the JD McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities have continuously taught me. I volunteer there on a weekly basis and have come to develop strong relationships with some of the children in my classroom. The names have been changed for privacy reason.

 

If I Could Have Children…

 

If I could have children right now I would want them to be like you, my darlings.

I would want them to dry my tears with their kisses and heal the rope burns around my neck with their arms.

I would want them to know what it is to play with reckless abandon.

I would want them to have John’s green eyes, Susan’s lopsided pigtails, and Carol’s crooked teeth that make a 1,000 piece puzzle look easy.

I would want them to be like you.

 

Your vivaciousness invites me to see sense in forsaken society, saturated with souls who seek not to save but to squash.

They will squash you because you are different.

They will squash you because you are kind.

They will squash you because when you look at the sun you see a tumultuous time bomb tossing and turning in the sky, taunting you to take a leap towards it.

They will squash you because you are not them.

 

Them, my darlings, don’t desire after them.

Desire after me and I will protect you, I will raise both fists against the world.

When the battle cry rises it will be for you that I raise my voice.

Determined to demonstrate how your heart has had to beat for far more than theirs ever had reason for, and that because of this, you will outlive them everyday.

 

Every day I walk into your kingdom I feel my chest squeeze as I say please God, let them all still be as free as Kings and Queens.

I hold my breath holding back panic as my brain holds the thought that someone who does not love you is deliberately not holding you right now.

But to see you is to catch the forgotten eyelash that fell off of God’s upper lid.

 

You, my darlings, are the picture the three year old girl at my church drew,

Hopelessly broken to the eye of the critic,

Unboundedly beautiful to the eye of the mom.

 

Even though I am not your mom, I will hang that picture on my fridge

And everyday, as I pour myself a glass of milk,

I will pour out words of affirmation and adoration for you

My words will swirl and spin and stick like pins in your flesh

Drawing forth your sweet, sweet blood, proving to the rest of the world that you are just as alive as they.

But do not ask for Band-Aids, let the sweetness flow

The world needs more blood like yours in it,

Not ashamed and not pretending.

 

You have all taught me that sadness is sadness and joy is joy and to deny either one is to employ the mind of a destitute daydreamer set on champion, destined for destruction.

You have all taught me what is emptiness and what is fear.

So don’t fear, my children, I will be here.

Even when I am not here I will be here.

Constantly

Speaking for you,

Advocating for you,

Longing for you.

The Sidewalk By The Church

It rains. I take great pains to take away
The worms from the pavement, the cold seeps through
My scalp. The skies eyes have broken today
In sorrow. The worms know not what they do.
My fingers peel their bodies from the ground
Antagonized by weight of feet and wheel,
Returned to grass where life is likely found.
To their smallness surely rain seems surreal.
The drops surround us, rising to our heads.
Clouds breathe down their grief, collapses my spine,
The worms escape my hands back to their beds.
Unnatural end with life now unalign.
I leave them saved from death so sure to be,
Hoping someone will do the same for me.

A Job Well Done

It’s springtime and the children scream like they’ve never seen the sun before. You are their teacher, the chosen one who has the chance to reverse everything their uneducated parents might have gotten wrong. It’s recess time and you sit outside watching the kindergarteners see things you haven’t seen for years, their mouths telling stories even God has yet to hear, and occasionally, you make eyes at Mr. Marshall from the 3rd grade, just because you can. You are content.

Across the playground there is Sarah and Jonny. Sarah is five and Jonny is six and their parents both work at the bank. Jonny is the type of kid who can do addition without using his fingers because he’s learned how to add up the days since his father last played ball with him. Sarah wears a light blue dress, the kind that moms with only one child buy, and when she sits on the swings the whole playground believes that she can fly. But along comes Jonny whispering “Sissy Sarah,” tugging on the edge of her dress made of the sky and you can smell the trouble from a mile away. The sky comes crashing down as Sarah shrieks, “stop it!” at Jonny and marches off in your direction. It’s almost time to go home and you’ve got a headache so when Sarah’s petite, pretty face comes all scrunched up to you, you pray to MTV that she won’t cry. But reality TV isn’t listening, and you can see the tears about to come so you decide to teach her something you yourself didn’t learn till the high school prom. You stoop down to her level, gently placing your hands on her distraught shoulders, and you speak softly and slowly so she understands. “Boys will be boys, my dear. He probably just likes you.”
The sky slowly turns to gray as she looks at Jonny and then back to you. “But I don’t like him.”

Now Sarah is in middle school and their science class takes a field trip to the nature museum. You are the tour guide, the one beckoning them to glimpse life stuffed with cotton and molded in plastic. You watch as the adolescents roam about the ecosystem exhibits, the girls admiring the foxes and the boys making fun of the snakes. A shriek rings out, your attention is drawn to a boy with a nametag reading “Jack” as he picks up one of the prettier ones and places her down right in front of the tarantula cage, her face not two inches away from the glass. No one can decide who is more afraid, the girl or the spider, but she shoves him away, hollering like a chimpanzee, and Jack laughs while fist bumping his clones. Sarah vacates the area to the indoor, man-made pond, where you reside, and she stares into dull blue water trying to compose herself. You, the expert on naturalistic animal behavior, know now is your time to pounce. You throw a nod in the direction of Jack and make a comment about your ex-boyfriend. She shakes her angsty little head, blaming it all on immaturity. You agree and, drawing up a memory of her past, say, “Boys will be boys.” Just as you begin to walk away towards the group you turn back and say it as if it were not a tarantula staring her right in the face, “He probably likes you.”

It’s high school now and Sarah thinks she is practically all grown up. She wears shorter skirts and her hair pinned up to make her cheekbones look thinner and she’s stopped believing she can fly. Joe sees Sarah walking to class everyday but today, given an ounce of confidence from each of his clones, decides to make her remember him. He juts his hand out in front of her and her books scatter across the floor. Heat explodes through her cheeks in a mad scramble to gather up her belongings. Only when Sarah bends over to pick everything up do the high fives really start happening as Joe, beaming like the sun in the big blue sky, takes one of those high fives and plants it right on Sarah’s rear end. She thinks there isn’t a long enough skirt in the world to hide the goose bumps that rise up on her skin like measles.
You’re in the bathroom with her now, handing her a Kleenex to wipe the feeling of inferiority off her face, and you wrap your arm around her shoulder. This time you’re her friend. For ten minutes, Sarah moves her mouth around all the terrible things they have done but none as terrible as this. She’s at her weakest moment right now and you know just what to say. You make sure to emphasize how humiliated she must feel, the unfairness of the whole situation. You’re 17 and you know the truths your mama prayed you would never learn so you look Sarah in the eyes and pour out a motif she should have thought to look for, “Boys will be boys”
“I know but—“
“He probably likes you.”
Sarah hopes to God he doesn’t.

Years pass and you are always there, showing Sarah what it means to be a woman. Sarah’s days are full of May forecasts, constant sunshine emphasizing brief periods of dark clouds. Like children do, she swore she would leave town, never realizing that the outside world would be exciting but cruel, constantly pushing her back. Yet, through every fight, you never left her side. You were her professor, her roommate, the bank teller, the mailman, the one strain of truth that never abandoned her. You were always there, reminding her to hold on to the one thing she knows.

Sarah is 24 now and her husband is 25 and one day he comes home from work absolutely starving and exhausting. Sarah, the great housewife, has prepared his favorite dinner for him. When he scoops a bite of the mashed potatoes and lifts it towards his mouth he sees a long piece of brown hair stuck to the starchy spoonful. Before she even understands the source of his passion, he has her off her chair, across the kitchen floor, with one hand wrapped sternly around her ponytail. You could have intervened but this is the moment you have been waiting for, the final test of your skill and dedication. So, when his hand leaves a shadow of itself on Sarah’s cheek, the whole world holds its breath and waits for you to give the word. But this time, you don’t say anything. This time, you don’t need to. This time you are not there and you are everywhere. You are in the magazines that build up next to the toilet, you are in the movies the young girls beg their mothers to take them to, you are in every novel with a shirtless young man on the front cover. In that moment, as Sarah stares up at the man who bought her the pale blue lilacs that still hang on the bedroom wall she found she could not think of hate. She found she could not justify a single one of the reasons her friends would give her to not stay with him. Instead, she thinks only one thing; boys will be boys. That’s the real key, isn’t it? After all, He probably loves me; it’s the proof she’s been waiting for.

None of that matters now. All that matters is that Sarah is black and blue and Jonny, Jack, and Joe are colorless and things are the way they are supposed to be. You have trained them so well; all your work has paid off. As your face stretches into a sharp smile, we hear the slap, slap, slap of thousands of girls across the world remembering all that you told them. You turn away from your star pupil now. You turn away and you take a bow. Listen! They are applauding you.

 

Inspired by Leah Kennedy’s “Boys Will Be Boys”