Friday, June 02, 2006

The Crowded House

I heard a knock at my door, and when I opened it, a crowd of sorrows stared at me with round, black eyes. They didn't look good, bald and ashen, and alien. Some of them stank.

I sighed, and let 'em in.

They stumbled into the living room, and immediately pillaged my bookshelves. There's nothing worse than a bunch of sorrows trying to read. I tried to distract them.

"Hey, is anybody hungry?"

They nodded their collective heads.

I hustled them into the kitchen, pressed my way through the throng and pulled the bacon and eggs out of my refrigerator.

"We're vegan," one hollow voice cried.

Great. A house full of choosy sorrows.

"How 'bout oatmeal?"

"Perfect," one of them said, slowly clapping his pale hands.

Jesus showed up.

The sorrows parted like the Red Sea to let Him in.

He helped me with the kitchen duties.

The sorrows watched in silence as we boiled salted water. I put the oatmeal in the stockpot, while Jesus stirred in milk and real butter.

"They said they don't do dairy."

Jesus said, "I know."

He was acquainted with sorrows, but he kept stirring anyway. Jesus added sugar, and one of them started in on complex carbohydrates. He silenced them saying:

"You could use something sweet."

We fed them one by one, sat them on the couch, and listened to their problems. I cried with every sorrow. They droned on, exhausting me. I put my head on Jesus's shoulder.

"There are so many of them," I whispered. He gave my arm a squeeze.

When it was time for them to leave, Jesus and I saw them to the door. We kissed each one and told them to be good. We waved and smiled, and Jesus, with His irritating hospitality, shouted, "Come again!"

I glared at Him, but He smiled, and shrugged.

I can't resist Him when He smiles.

When the last one had faded from view, Jesus pulled me back into the house and closed the door behind Him.

"Look at this place," I said, discouraged.

Dirty dishes piled everywhere, books scattered like ashes, the couch cushions sunken from the weight.

"What a mess," I said, feeling every bit like a sorrow myself.

"I'll clean it up," Jesus said, picking up stacks of bowls in His strong, carpenter arms. "Why don't you have a bit of nourishment?"

I nodded my heavy head, and ate the last of the oatmeal right out of the pot.

It was very sweet.

It helped me to sleep.

When I awakened, everything was clean. The sun shone through the open windows. The wind lifted curtains, with kind, delicate fingers.

Red roses in every room.

I looked around, stretched and smiled, sated and warm.

I decided to paint the shining white walls any color I pleased.



Amy A. said...

My heart squeezed when I read this. It's gonna stick with me for awhile. Very beautiful.

lisa said...

Beautiful. As always.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Mair, my darling, how do you do it? If I didn't love and respect you so much I'd be jealous as h&ll. Even in the midst of your own stresses and despair--or maybe because of it?--you manage to create some of the most lyrical, touching prose I've ever read. Thank you for sharing your artistry.

ragamuffin diva said...


This prose poem was born out of a poem by Rumi someone gave me this morning. Don't you love when some beautiful inspires you to create something beautiful yourself, despite what's going on in your life.

Here's the poem:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

Kristine said...

I'm trying to type through the tears that are clouding my eyes. I love this.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Mair, you're beautiful, you know that?

Cathy West said...

That's amazing.
You know what disturbed me the most about this?
You made Jesus real.
Why don't we do this?
Thanks for the inspiration. :0)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

That was very cool. you should submit that over at Spirit-Led Writer!

Jenny said...

Dear Claudia,

I love this post (and this blog). Bethany has been sending me over here for some time so that I could get some nourishment. Thanks for making me laugh and cry this morning.

With love and hope in our new friendship,


Calia77 said...


Nancy said...

Mair, you are a wonderful writer. I needed to see Jesus today, and you have made His Presence Real to me once again. Thank you.

Gina Holmes said...

You are so talented woman. That was lovely!

upwords said...

That Jesus. He would tell them to "come again." We'll just hope they won't come back no time soon. Ain't nothing worse than a bunch of vegan sad folk reading up all your books. :) Beautiful as always. Mary

Katy said...

He invited them back, did He? Well, the word does say that Jesus is a man acquainted with sorrows. It sure makes it easier when they pile into your house if He shows up, too. They don't bother Him one little bit. Oh, Claudia, this was beautiful. Katy Raymond

Paula said...

You know, I read this when it first came out--before anyone had commented, but I couldn't find the words to say how it affected me. I suppose I should've just said, "WOW!"

Vicki said...

Wish I could write like you. Lyrical. Just now realized how much I held my breathe while reading this beautiful prose...inspires me, yet gives me permission to feel the things I'm feeling in the background of my own writing life.

Vicki said...

I'd like to link to you, if I may.
Thanks, Claudia.

Candy said...

Mair - Beautiful, tragic, full of grace and tender mercy. I hope in writing this you have cleared out some space for new delights. I know in reading it, I have.

hipastorzwife2B said...

I am so glad I found you today.
Thank you for this.

glimpsing gal said...

I'm speechless. Claudia, this was one of the most beautiful posts yet - and honey, you've written some beautiful ones!


shanna said...

Muchas gracias! Jesus and I have coffee sometimes, but he's never come over to make oatmeal. Then again, I don't know if I've asked him. Anyway, rice pudding is what I'd like.

Thank you, thank you. I shared this on my blog, hopefully to bless all twelve people who stop by to read it.

;-) shanna

ScrollSquirrel said...

Beautiful. I have no words really to describe it...only goosebumps.

Cheryl (Squirrel of the Fab Four)