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  • Writer's pictureGreg Dover

Curations: Good Bones

Another mass shooting. Less rights for even more people. Greater economic hardship. A war in Ukraine. Not to mention the disheartening difficulties that we all experience in our lives - grief, guilt, fear, loneliness...

It can be difficult to hold onto hope sometimes, which is why I appreciate Maggie Smith's poem "Good Bones" (below). It is honest about the state of our world, and the desire to protect our children (or the next generation in general) from the horrors and hardships.

"Good Bones" by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real sh*thole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

The poet, Maggie Smith

It might seem like a pessimistic, discouraging take on life in our world. But I find some hope in her closing lines, maybe because my wife and I renovated a house that was condemned...and it has been our home for 11 years. As we walked through it (the moldy bathrooms, the linoleum peeling off of the floor, the thicket of a backyard), we kept saying to ourselves and others, "It's got good bones, though."

I think of the prophet Ezekiel's vision, too, of a valley of dry bones - utterly lifeless, dry, and beyond seems. But God not only revives the bones, but makes them whole and healthy human beings. God brings life and beauty.

  • What is the problem or issue in our world that really bothers you? Keeps you up at night?

  • How might you join with God in bringing life and wholeness, making those "good bones" beautiful?

Maybe - if we will do the work of love and justice to which Christ calls us - as we do, maybe we can make this place beautiful.


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