Friday, January 2, 2009


I started counting this morning and realized that I am currently keeping four journals: two for writing projects (prose and poetry), one for reflections on what I am reading in the Bible, and now this online journal of daily happenings. It's definitely not the most streamlined approach and the blog tends to get short shrift. To remedy that I've decided to borrow bits and pieces from the other journals that will give you a behind the scenes look at our life. If poetry is not your thing or random thoughts on Leviticus don't get your tractor going, then you have my permission to skip these posts. I should also add a disclaimer: most of this stuff is a work in progress. Please forgive the rough edges.

Here is a poem that I've been tinkering with for the past couple years. The final verses fell into place after Nathan was sick on New Year's Eve. (He's fully recovered, by the way.) I had several loads of vomit-stained laundry on my hands and lots of time to think while hanging it out to dry. The poem is not in its final form (are they ever?), but the ideas are mostly in place.

Clean Linen

I worked at a desk
In an office with a door.
I wore black and a scent
From a bottle called "Clean Linen."

I read Living
And thought about laying
Cloth napkins at dinner
Or place settings for four.

Now I live and work and read
At home.
Mike Mulligan mostly,
Or that curious George.

I stand at a counter
In a kitchen with cool tile,
Barefoot and scented
Of soap and soured milk.

Weary, I wash
And think about drying
This day's linens
From a string in the sun.

"On summer days,"
My mom once said,
"There's nothing nicer
Than a sheet in the breeze."

A skeptic, I shrug.
I bundle my burden
And trudge toward the line.

I question sometimes
The quality
Of a battle ever-fought,
Seemingly never won.

But I groan with the rest
Of grubby creation
And raise my cases
Against the wind.

I hear the snap
Of a breeze-snagged sheet
Drawn taut
Before the sun.

I watch it glow
The glory of God its radiance,
A fine linen
Bright and pure.

I marvel
At this quiet overthrow,
Old made new,
Redemption in a microcosm.

I stand still and straight,
Amazed, admiring
A motley, flag-waving tribute
To virtue--unbought, unbottled.

January 2009
Copyright Heather Owens

Explanation: I wrestle sometimes with the value of time spent on so many mundane tasks: dishes, laundry, diapers, etc., etc. Occasionally I miss operating in a world of words and thoughts and theory. I've come to realize, though, that caring for a family is actually thoughts and theory in the trenches. I am forced to live what I believe, and in return, I am privileged to experience the hand of God in the minutia of the everyday. As I was hanging damp bed sheets the other day, I couldn't help but enjoy their coolness and the clean scent of laundry soap clearing the house of less pleasant odors. I was reminded of the pure, white robes that we will someday be given and the verses in Revelation about the bride of Christ wearing "a fine linen, pure and bright"--the cloth's beauty comprised of the righteousness of God's people. Washing laundry, caring for a sick child, cleaning up messes--these are small acts, but important. I have the honor of redeeming things on a small scale (the laundry and dishes day in and day out) and am reminded of God's constant work of redemption in the world. Someday all creation will be made new and never soiled again--what a thing to look forward to. The battle will be at an end. Until then, I have work to do.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Heather. I like the poem!

  2. Wow, what tremendous insight. Great poem! Thank you for sharing. And I so appreciate hearing you talk about the mundane tasks, and putting those in perspective of Revelation, white robes, and someday never having to do this all again. What a great, godly perspective you have! Thank you for sharing your heart in this, my friend!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. Sharing poetry is always a scary thing. It's helpful to know that it was appreciated.

  4. Heather, so amazing! I'd like to post a link to this on my blog, if that's ok. If not, that's ok, too.

  5. Thanks, Sarah. You are always welcome to post a link on your blog. Can't wait to read a new "Whine and Cheese" post.