"An Old Wooden Pew" by Kimi Nettuno (CatholicMom.com) Via Freeimages.com (2007) CC0 Public Domain

On the second weekend in December of 2015, I sat on an old wooden pew at a healing retreat for women survivors of child abuse. We had been sent out to reflect on our healing in light of the first station of the cross; we were beginning to walk The Way with Jesus. I pulled down the kneeler in front of me and began to pray, for I had no idea what I was to write in the little red journal we'd each received. To be honest, I don't know what I prayed for because the prayers had long ago left my lips dry and cracked, lacking all breath.

I remembered some words from The Prodigal Son, so I began with those, "Father, I have sinned against you. I am not fit to be called your child."

Then, a whisper comforted me, "No, you were lost, but you have been found." I sat back in the old wooden pew, opened the journal, and began to write a poem.

I'd never, in my life, written anything, much less poetry, but the words poured out of me like beautiful color to a blank canvas. Was this some miracle? Yes, for this lost woman who had long abandoned the child within. This broken child emerged in song and prose, and I am continuing to grow to love her again. Shortly after the retreat, I published a book of the poems I wrote, entitled A Blank Canvas.

A few months later, I decided to try and get the book reviewed. The exchange was not good; in fact, this person refused even to consider it for review. It crushed me, could she not find one positive thing to say? I felt the child, once again, slip away from me, becoming lost. I suppose it was something I'd been comfortable with, this disconnection from her to protect my adult self. For some time, I stopped writing, but her voice kept beckoning. And, so I am here . . . writing to her, or I suppose, truthfully, it is her writing to me - inviting me back to an old wooden pew.

The person that reviewed the book said poetry just wasn't her thing. Let me say; it was NEVER my thing; I hated it in school! But, this is the way The Lord chose to find a broken little girl and allowed the adult she'd grown into to remember and embrace her once again, and I will forever remain by her side.

It is so easy for us to become discouraged; we tend to allow negativity to anchor us rather than move us forward. It is often said, never look backward. This time, look back, remember why you began traveling. You are not lost; you are found; allow that eager child within to run.

[tweet "Look back and remember why you began traveling. Poem by @BecomingSound"]

An Old Wooden Pew

I return to an old wooden pew.

Lord, please,

I am searching desperately

for any sign of you.


I encountered today

a man called despair,

just like that,

he stole my heart

and began his crafty wear.


I met with a woman;

by name she is grief,

and like a tree in the winter,

my soul shed all sprouting leaves.


I saw today a child;

I believe she answered to hope,

yet I couldn't hear her

due to others tightening hold.


She appears to be coming,

yet I do not know why,

for every expression I lend

only demands good-bye.


She steadies her advance

as I continue to push;

it appears she is weeping

why won't she just hush?


Standing now at my face,

she raises weary head;

I realize

I look at me,

this child I have dread.


A smile she grants,

then begins to speak;

a familiar young voice

from relieved lips does leak:


"I stood up to a woman,

by name she is grief,

and like a tree reborn in Spring,

my soul sprouted one leaf.

I overcame today

a man called despair,

just like that,

I captured my heart

and healed his tear.

Now I've been searching

for any sign of you;

then to me,

the Lord whispered...


'My child, she does not yet know,

searching me

is what desperate lips wore, 

but it is the child within

that she truly longs for.'


So, I asked the Lord where

I could encounter your heart,

for I only wish to return

what was taken from the start.

It is me, you now see

this child within you

I am here;

we are eternally joined on

An Old Wooden Pew."

Copyright 2017 Kimberly Nettuno