A Room in a Room

August 6, 2009 | 24 comments

This blog post falls in the category of “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing.”

Yes, I’m going to attempt poetry.

Writer L.L. Barkat at Seedlings in Stone provides a weekly poetry prompt. Lately, she’s been asking us to trace our homes in poetry. This week, she asked us to find poetry in the “living room.”

Now, I’m a news reporter by training — not a poet. I can write a 10-inch news story in a flash, but poetry? About a living room?

After reading L.L.’s poetry prompts each week, I ordinarily sigh wistfully then run as fast as I can the other way. Every once in a while, I will sneak a few lines of poetry into a post here or there. But most of the time, I leave the poetry to the people who know what they’re doing.

People like L.L.
and Nancy
and Prairie Chick
and Ann
and Laura
and others.

All of those links are your chance to EXIT Getting Down With Jesus before I give this a whirl. (Sound of footsteps running for door.)

For me, part of the challenge of poetry is the risk of being misunderstood. Of having readers not “get” what I mean. (Which is also the challenge in living, isn’t it?)

But L.L. encourages us. Even if we don’t think ourselves poets, we can write poetically, she urges. And writing poetry makes us all better writers. And, she says, even if you don’t trust that the poem is there, step into it and see “where it leads.”

So now, after the longest apology ever written in advance of a poem, I’m taking a leap. I’m risking a poem. I’m headed to the living room, to do some living, and we’re going to see if the poem leads. …




There’s a room
within a room
where we meet
as sun rises over dewy fields
shining first light
into the center of my home
into the center of my soul
illuminating dust in a room
and dirt in a soul
And again I see it’s time
to clean

How can it be
That You would meet me here?
In the middle of this mess:
overturned Fisher Price shopping cart,
spilling ponies and Barbies onto crumb-littered carpet
But messier still: My heart.

You turn my living room
Into a room of living

Into a Holy of Holies
where veil parts
and coal touches lips
Then I’m alive again

This is Clean Living

And tomorrow I’ll return
to this room
within the room
and find the dust
and dirt
have returned
But so have You!
And You’ll bid me “Come”
in the middle of my messy room
and my messy heart
I’ll stop here in the light
and in the Light
So You can clean me up

by | August 6, 2009 | 24 comments


  1. L.L. Barkat

    Jennifer, your apology tickled me. I don't believe you need apologize for your poems; they come from deep places and that is a beautiful thing.

    Of everything in this poem, I just loved this little snippet in the middle of it all…

    "spilling ponies and Barbies"

    Can you see it? Can you hear it? Isn't it grand?

  2. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    Great job! Don't ever apologize for just being you and being real.

  3. christy rose

    I loved this! You did great! I loved Laura's today too!

  4. Daune

    I loved it!
    …and I know exactly what you mean about leaving poetry to the 'pros'…like L.L. and Ann and such…but, I mean, really, I connected and I totallly understood…especially about the dust…(sigh)
    But then again, is He even now working to make us His billboards~displaying His glory through dusty, dirty vessels…(happy sigh!)

  5. RCUBEs

    That's funny you are coaxing us to leave..You had me at "A room in a room…"….because I know that's where "He" resides…

    despite the mess
    despite the sins
    He still wants to be let in
    and in that room in a room
    I saw the glimpse of a faithful Friend

    that was beautiful sister Jennifer…you might not be like LL, Nancy, Prairie Chick, etc…but the best thing was that you tried and you did it! Awesome poem…

  6. Lyla Lindquist

    I enjoyed the first part at least as much as the second. Every time I get out of bed I think it falls into the "I have no idea what I'm doing" category.

    I enjoyed this. I don't write it, but I'm learning to appreciate the power of the poetic word.

  7. Beth E.

    I cracked up reading your apology…there was no need for one, though…you did a great job! I love the poem. 🙂

  8. Chris


  9. Warren Baldwin

    Very good job. And I agree with LL, you don't need to apologize!

  10. Daune

    Once again, you challenged me~!
    I looked at my livingroom and only saw the floor!
    Thanks and it was fun…don't know that it fits any rhyme or rhythm, but it was in me and it came out…

  11. Monica

    Jennifer, this is GREAT. And you comfort me into knowing that I am not alone. 🙂

  12. Liz

    I LOVE it!
    Especially this…
    "into the center of my home
    into the center of my soul
    illuminating dust in a room
    and dirt in a soul
    And again I see it's time
    to clean
    Do not apologize! I was blessed.

  13. Deb

    Apology not accepted.

    NOT Needed!

    Beautiful. I saw your living room. Felt your room.

    Saw your heart. Felt it too.


    Sweet dreams.

  14. Epiphany

    It made me smile. 🙂

  15. mom2six

    "You turn my living room
    Into a room of living
    Into a Holy of Holies
    where veil parts"

    Oh how these lines speak deeply to me. Amazed and so in love with a God that comes and cleans my messy heart. Your poem is wonderful, just like you.

  16. Jennifer

    I find when I don't know what I'm doing, that's when God works His best in me because I'm not getting in His way! No apologies–loved your heart in the poem.

  17. Candi

    Jennifer, vivid imagery is what makes a poem rise above rhythm and meter and soar as art.

    The sun is flashing off the brilliant wings of this poem, girl.

    Visually, you painted a scene in which we can participate.

    Your metaphor hangs tight.A fresh take on "My Heart Christ's Home."

    Thank you for being brave. I'm putting your poem on the bulletin board in my office to remind me to poem again.

  18. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Candi — Thank you. And you know? I had thoughts of My Heart, Christ's Home running through me head as I wrote this! Cool…

    And thanks to all of you. I appreciate the vote of confidence. Honestly, I thought you'd all have left a bit earlier though — before you arrived at the comment box. Remember: I gave you the opportunity for an exit, and I could have sworn I heard a rush of footsteps for the door.


    But ya know, I'm glad you stuck around. You make me feel like it was worth it. … And you make me feel as if I've been "understood."

  19. elaine @ peace for the journey

    I get it. Well said; well lived.


  20. ~*Michelle*~

    Bravo! I loved it. 🙂

    This was a great and powerful visual/reference….in just four little words.

    "dirt in a soul"

    Again, I thought it was beautiful and written straight from your heart. 🙂

  21. Chris Godfredsen

    Money! Yo take a back seat to no one, my writing sister, especially when you are getting down with Jesus!

  22. Chris Godfredsen

    Money! Yo take a back seat to no one, my writing sister, especially when you are getting down with Jesus!

  23. jaybird7

    I like…

  24. Prairie Chick

    oh you beautiful thing. I don't have a clue what I am doing when it comes to poetry either! But like you, I look inside my soul, and like piecing little lego pieces together, piece together the thoughts and pictures I see there, always amazed at how the pieces come to fit together and the end product that I hold in my hands. I never feel like I actually created something, rather that I discovered it.

    You did beautifully of course, because there is always such beauty to discover within, and you know exactly where to look.


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