Six Word Stories (22)

What is hope?

An intangible thing that all humanity grasps for.

Sometimes I imagine I can feel it’s edges like a feather soft thing, just out of reach.

But is it really out of reach? Is hope something to be grasped?

No.

Hope is experienced, not held. Hope is found but not possessed.

It lives in places where logic alone dares not live.

Perspective changes things. It doesn’t change truth, but can give us a wider view of what is true.

Toes can never me mountains, but they can show is a likened beauty, and defy the shoes they are so often crammed into, and hold up the weight of our lives, like the deepest roots of the earth.

As does every shoulder bent in strain, stooped in pain, and prostrate in prayer.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (18)

I used to sit in the field making wishes on dandelion fluff.

I once rolled through the tall grasses, collecting the white seeds on my clothes and dark curls. Helping them spread as I ran back to the house, arms outstretched.

“I can fly!” I would cry, and daydream of Peter Pan and Tinkebell.

It was my life’s spring.

Now I watch my own children wading through puddles. The freshness on their cheeks and sweaters always flavored with a hint of damp growth when coming home from an evenings play.

But I still dream of fairy wings and mermaid foam.

My sisters and I used to rub our cheeks yellow with dandelion buds, and weave tiny field daises in to wreathes for our head.

Now I watch my own girls pick wildflowers and supervise as all kinds of pretend soups are mixed in sandbox buckets with sticks that are just as much magic wands as they are spoons.

The right now is there spring.

The scent of fresh tree blossoms might hold different meanings for me then they once did. But it doesn’t matter what age you are, if you listen closely with your heart they will share wisdom with you.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (17)

Tunnels, arches, trails, these things hold a fascination for me.

They beckon.

“Come explore, come and learn, come experience our adventure.”

But in adventure, there is always change.

Change of self, change of place, change of perspective.

Is it worth it, this stepping into the known?

Dare we?

If we don’t dare, we will never know what we have missed. But the question of what if will always hang there.

I don’t always dare. But sometimes I am lent a bravery not of myself and jump in feet first.

Sometimes I am swept away to places I never dreamed of. Places I never wanted to go. Places of pain.

Sometimes I land in the middle of tumultuous beauty and breath-taking experiences. I am still learning to be thankful for both.

When those experiences look arching waves, may God help me find the blessing beneath life’s crush.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (16)

In the age of information, I have been given the chance to write. The chance to tell my story in my own words. The chance to dream my dreams and share them. What a gift.

I always knew that I would be at least a closet writer. But I never dreamed my form of expression would touch poetry. It has only been three years since I have discovered this gift, within a gift.

Empty auditoriums, silent church buildings, and closed temples. Despite the shutdown, writing has never stopped. We still need the writer. The storyteller is ever vital.

We have again been shown the power of written words.

Be it fiction, poetry, memoir, or essay, written words have sustained many of us this past year. Did we take them for granted?

Today I thank God for this gift in all its forms.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (14)

The last few months have forced many of us to become all too familiar with ourselves. We have had time to think and think some more. This can be a good thing for people who have neglected themselves, forgetting how to listen to their own voice. Listening to self is important, but it should never be the only voice we seek.

When our world changes, and we are forced to be outwardly silent, may God be able to break though the madness of our own minds and bring his peace.

When this storm has passed, we will all have leaned much about ourselves. Be it rain, or early morning dew that collects on the threads of self, let it show the things we have forgotten.

May it teach us things we have never known before.

Through it may we persevere together with the people we hold dear. Holding on to love, and the one who loves us the most.

The cord in this image could represent many things. For me and mine, it’s God.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Six Word Stories (13)

I used to choose a seat closest to the doors, in the single cubbies to either side of the true passenger compartments.

“Why do you sit here all alone? It’s dangerous for a single girl.”

I had never thought of it as dangerous before the question. I enjoyed the nods and light conversation with strangers. Many of them dressed roughly, carrying bikes, or oversized backpacks.

I remember one early morning two backpacking couples joined me in the cramped space. The men sat on the ground closest to the sliding doors. I moved my backpack to make room for the two women, tired and clearly already stressed. They didn’t speak Dutch or French or even German, but their chitchat was earnest and careful.

One man wished me well on my journey in English, nodding at my bag as proof I was a kind of comrade, before departing.

The contrast from those small cubbies to the larger passenger compartments with row after row of benches is striking. Few words are ever spoken. Everyone keeps their heads bowed, their minds busy on themselves, appearing to ignore everyone else on the commute. Even so, with the clatter of the train, the call of the ticket master, and the shuffle of shoes, there is a strange companionship.

I have spent quite a few hours waiting on train platforms. In the early morning, or late in the evening, I have found them to hold a strange peace.

Everyone has somewhere, and nowhere to go. Everyone is expectant, yet bored. Isn’t that just like life can be?

I would finally reach my destination in the shadows of night. Night grows and shrinks things. It hides and reveals. It is a different world than daylight, and many people fear it. But I don’t. I know that is only because I have been kept safe. I am blessed.

Night has always been my refuge. Not a time of hiding, but a time of quiet. A time when others retreat, leaving the streets almost empty. The dirt of the day is pushed to the sides, and lays waiting for the morning to come. It’s hidden in the shadows, but it still whispers to the world all the stories it holds. Every cigarette butt, every discarded coffee cup that missed the trash can. Even the caked on muck, scraped from boots at the end of the day. It will all tell you a story, if you only stop and listen.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (12)

An artist can’t help but leave a part of themselves within their work, whatever form it takes. That is the beauty of art.

I also believe that of creation, and the laws the universe follows. The Creator leaves his fingerprints within every law, truth, and formation in the universe.

Have you ever really noticed the beauty of a frozen pond? Dance on the ice all you want. Chisel it, cut groves. Every frozen ripple tells a story.

But when it’s time, and the sun shines warm, the water will flow again. Is it aware of the imprints it once held?

Words represent ideas, and they flow like water. Their affects travel father then we might think. Be careful with them.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (11)

Red is the color of so many things. Holly berries, rose’s, valentine hearts. Red is also the color of loss. Red is the color of grief. Red can be the color of hope.

Some women are relieved by the color red. Some are heart broken. For some it’s a mixture of the two, a sweet painful cocktail of red.

As the world grieves losses, what-ifs and separations, our words mean so much more. May we use their power to build up, rather than tare a part.

The beauty of simple things hide in the strangest of places. Have you wondered what sights a cigarette butt has witnessed? Or what about the frayed fiber from a jacket, pulled free and discarded?

I wonder what stories they could tell us, if they had voices?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo’s sources from usplash.

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Six Word Stories (10)

I remember going for walks on the beach. In the sun. In the spray. It was on a beach in the Netherlands where he asked. I said yes.

It was February. His lips were blue. The sand stuck to his bluejeans as proof he had kneeled when he asked.

The wind was blowing, and his nose was dripping from the cold. He was beautiful, just like the beach at six AM.

Sometimes love hurts. If you’re separated, it hurts. If you’re isolated together, the constant rub of a partner’s shoulder can hurt. Transforming for the sake of love hurts. But for us, it’s been worth it.

We all go through the slow transformation of life. I choose to go through it for, and with you.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo’s sources from unsplash and pixabay.

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Six Word Stories (9)

Winter like I know it has still not really come to my new home. It has only teased us with a few day long romps through white, but that’s alright. It will be thoroughly enjoyed when it decides to make our new home, it’s home. If only for a short time.

I was not sorry to see 2020 leave. I was equally dissatisfied with 2019 and 2018 as well. I find my memories of the last 5 years fragmented and sharp.

But those shards hold truths I need to revisit. Sometimes puzzling through the mess is how we find out healing.

That is what life is, after all, an endless journey of learning. Each day holds possibilities for answers, healing, and growth. Painful or pleasant, learning is something we all do.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sources from unsplash.com.

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