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Angela Erickson

Merit Award 2007 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $50

About this Christian Poet:
I am married with three children and live in the Central Valley of California. I teach adoption classes for a local adoption agency, and my passion is orphan advocacy work. My husband and I are preparing to move to South Africa long-term to work with AIDS orphans and train pastors with a local missions agency based in Pretoria.

One year ago in April our church went through what I call a "worship war", with four separate generations arguing over which style of music they wanted to hear on Sunday mornings. I came home from music rehearsal quite discouraged one day, and read a BBC news article commemorating the 20-year anniversary of Chernobyl. The clash between the realities of the world and my little American bubble resulted in this poem.

20 Years Since Chernobyl

It's been twenty years since Chernobyl
but the pain never really goes away
from losing loved ones, homes
and being lied to
so what if I'm not needed
on the worship team because
they like the youthful style better;
I don't have thyroid cancer and
I'm not blind like John Milton who said
"They also serve who only stand and wait"
as though sitting on the shelf
dusty and unused
is just as important to God
and even He
puts up with a lot from me
forgives again and again
so I guess I don't have a case
but this seventy times seven is hard stuff
when you go to church and
all you can say is "Et tu, Brute?"
and I don't think it should be like that
even if we're all imperfect humans
but I guess I can't complain
because my husband's not dying like Nadia's
and even caged birds supposedly sing
yet I'd rather fly to where they need me
and I wonder if the birds in Chernobyl still sing
or what I could learn from them
because sometimes I hurt.

Copyright ©2007 by Angela Erickson