What Really Matters

Thanks to Andrea Zignin @andreaz91 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/Us8dszDXx28

Two things happened today. First , I think I came across one too many platitudes on social media. I think I’ve grown tired of the same old being labeled as new. I’m just tired of it.

Second, we drove by a church on the way home from school today, and Evan made the unsolicited observation, “So many churches say things about how they ‘love people’, but they don’t really mean it, Mom. What they mean is that they love people who look like them.”

Mic drop.

Painful truth out of the mouth of a 12 year old.

I think that this poem came out of my brain processing all these things. I used a long line poetry form—13 syllables in each line and an “aabb” rhyme scheme within each quatrain.

Wind In My Sails

I used to believe in the power of platitude
a well turned phrase spoken with just the right attitude—
a spirit of humility mixed with compassion,
a spark of light with the ability to cash in

despair for hope. But there came a time when I required
more than empty words and broken promises acquired
from someone else’s wisdom. I needed to live in
my own truth, and I needed to refuse to give in—

needed to refuse the bill of goods sold off as truth,
sold off as positive conformity to the youth.
So when I finally stood and shook off the shackles,
I found myself straight-backed, fearless, and without hackles.

Just to be clear, I do still believe in the power
of gratitude, the gift of grace, rest in each hour;
I believe in the unflappable human spirit,
the inner voice of God whether or not I hear it.

I have to live my life and to see things as they are
to walk my own road and fly low under the radar.
Platitudes should go the way of frogs and fairy tales—
when I release them, I feel the full tilt of my sails.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

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