Conversatio Divina

Part 3 of 4

Poems and Reflections by Jim Reed

Jim Reed

01.  I have been here before

I have been here before,

Doing what I do not want to do,

In solidarity with my fallen fathers

Believing the same lies that have worked

Since Adam ate the apple.


In shame I turn my face away from all who know me.


But one face follows mine,

Tears streaming, softness and gentleness,

Searching for my eyes to meet His.

He knows, better than I, the allure of those lies

That fuel failure and futility,

Finally death.


He has been here before me,

Weeping at death,

Enduring the shame,

In solidarity with those of us lost in lies,

Leading us home through His death,

The death of death,

To life.




Reflection question: Where can the solidarity of Jesus meet your shame and lead you home?


02.  In You

I was lost, now I am found,

found in you, to be lost in you.


How am I found in you?

As middle C in a symphony

Plays its middling part in the melody?

Or as a child in a family

Grows into a person through love?


How am I lost in you?

As a drop in the deep ocean

Merges into oneness?

Or as diver exploring the deep

Delves into the delights of a different world?




Reflection question: How might you describe your various experiences of your union with Christ?


03.  I hate ambiguity

I hate ambiguity,

When people just don’t say,

You know, when words are just at the tip of…

Just beyond reach, as if they are trying to come into being.

Take this poem, for example,

I just wrote it, but you, the reader, are the one who makes out what,

Oh, I don’t know, what it means.

And I don’t know if you mean what you read like I mean what I say,

Or write, in this particular case.

I hate it, this confusion is so frustrating,

Knowing there is something to be said and no words to say it.

If only our words could come alive,

clear and transparent, faithful and true,

words that we could trust with our lives because they shone forever.

I think I would only need one word like that, made flesh, to keep me going.




Reflection question: What have you been trying to say to God that you haven’t found the words for yet?


04.  If I Could Sing

If I could sing,

I’d sing adore

The one who was rich

But for us became poor.

Living among us,

Giving his life.

We sing his praises evermore.



For he’s my love,

My heart’s contentment.

He’s my Lord,

My loving friend.

He’s my God,

The source of my salvation.

He’s my hope,

who holds me in his hand.


If I could sing,

I’d sing of grace,

How God on high

Died in my place,

Took on my sin,

Came back to life,

So I can see him face to face.


If I could sing,

I’d sing rejoice

With the God who for love

Made the drastic choice

To die on the tree

To set us free

And give us all our voice.


If I could sing,

I’d sing of giving,

To the God who made us,

And in us is living,

All our hopes and dreams

And passions.

Our very hearts to him we’re bringing.


8/1980, 11/2019


Reflection question: How has God in Christ helped you find your voice?


05.  Lucy Rose, on her Stillbirth

Lucy Rose

Fully a soul,

Incomplete in body,

A damaged bud,

Gone before you arrived.

How we grieved your heart,

Not fully formed,

Unable to sustain you.

And in our grief we glimpsed

Our own undeveloped hearts

Being fully formed by the love

That now eternally sustains you.




Reflection question: How have you known God to meet you or reveal Himself in your griefs?


06.  Hidden in your light

You made the world from nothing

with intricate design.

Yet you hear my childish prattle

as hymns of praise divine.


You are God unchanging,

eternal, always right.

Help me find my refuge

hidden in your light.




Reflection question: Where, what, or who is your refuge?



About the author: Jim grew up in Liberia, West Africa. He learned to love the Atlantic Ocean and spends as much time as he can on and under the water, as long as it is salty and tropical. He worked as an ESL teacher, then became a psychologist. He founded and directed for 27 years Life Connections Counseling Center, a non-profit counseling center run by Christians. Their goal is to connect emotional and relational health to spiritual maturity. He has retired so he has more time to enjoy being with his wife, read, visit grandkids, spend time in the ocean, and occasionally write a poem.