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Leah Stewart

Honorable Mention: 2016 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Poet:
Leah Stewart is a juggler of courses for teaching certification, work, and home. When she has time, she sneaks away to the gym, martial arts practice, or the piano to try to relax. She lives in the U.S., but has also lived in South Korea and left her heart behind in Spain some years ago.

About this Poem:
This poem is about those times we argue and fight with God—and about those times we realize we’ve been fighting Him so pointlessly, and yet He is patient with us. Struggle is part of faith, and so is letting go.

I Meet God in the Dojo

Sometimes we fight, face to face and joint to joint lock, He and I.
I am stubborn as Jacob, who lasted all night, whose inky hip-bruise in my Bible
hasn't faded in over two thousand years, still spelled out in contrast, black and white.
So I go for the side, punch with a Thomas fist: I won't believe Your hand on me
until I thumb each sinew of Your wrist and squeeze out blessings.
He doesn't fall for my feint.
Mostly, it's my nose that's put out of joint. I wanted a fleece, soaked in
prayer-and-response, droplets of grace splattered everywhere like a heavy dew
you could drink from and have twelve gallons left over. I took away shears and dry shoes:
Silence.

He seems so unmoved, telegraphs nothing, never changes by an eyelash-flutter.
The thought unbalances me, and I charge Him with all my might-haves
and what I think are His should-haves. We move closer still, in the blunt intimacy
of struggle, at least my struggle, so near I start to feel His breath on me,
warm and damp enough to wet wool, yet unexpected. He turns His cheek,
slips from my hold, waits for me to wear myself out and go down in the dust of the mat.
Then, I begin to listen. His answers floor me, and I finally concede the point, a lesson
for next time. When our argument is ended, He gives me His hand—He’d rather teach me—
and I feel lifted up.

Copyright ©2016 Leah Stewart