Buried Things



You waited

and waited

the long, slow drip of hours counting out the grief

the helpless lingering over death

listening for you

but you didn’t come

not until the stone was rolled and grey and closed

not until after the end

after it was too late


then you came

your coming a reminder of your absence

our words an accusation not voiced

stated blunt and raw with the why

your pain as it seemed unnecessary to us

to us who had seen the weight of your power


“Lord if you had been here”

why were you not here

only us in our grief and loss and smallness

“See how he loved him”

even so, even more so for that

why were you not here


“Even now, whatever you ask…

move the stone?”

this heart, fresh broken with spent hope and betrayal

this fearful faith mingled with the knowledge of the smell of death

you weren’t here, not even for the heavy work of sealing up the dark

and now you ask us to open up again

to let the streaming light pour hot and blazing on the covered wounds


your voice calling them out

these buried things papered over and hiding in the shadows

behind the stone

waiting for glory




I wrote the poem above this morning, as part of a reflection on the story of Lazarus. It’s such a well-worn narrative, so steeped for me in echoes of Sunday school lessons and sermons on the power of Christ over death. But this morning as I read it, I tried to enter into it more personally. I heard the heart behind the words spoken to Jesus, by friends full of the freshness of grief, overwhelmed by questions and feelings they could not understand, were afraid to name. When I started writing, I was simply trying to tell the story. But as the words formed on my screen, I found them leading me into a realization.

There are things buried beneath the surface of my life: griefs and questions, lying quiet and still. And I have left them there; where they cannot touch me too deeply or undo the threads I am weaving together in my desire to form a life of purpose. I wondered today about how I am sometimes called to open these things up to the light, to let myself acknowledge them. To believe that somehow they can be transformed, healed. To trust that I am in the hands of One who can see beyond the limits of my own vision, to something greater.



2 thoughts on “Buried Things

  1. This is a magnificent poem Carolyn – as I read it I thought I wonder who wrote it – to discover it was you!! you are getting cleverer and cleverer..


    Liked by 1 person

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