Beholding Each Sacred Image

Last year, one of my clients shared an “I Am From” poem during our session. I was stunned. She invited me into a rich tapestry of precise images, many that I could taste and smell. With each image, I was brought deeper into the soil of where she’s been planted.

“I Am From” poems were created by teacher and writer George Ella Lyons. These poems, now written in 83 countries, were intended to push back on fear and stereotypes that can trump our desire to behold one another as image-bearers of our maker.  

My client inspired me to write my own poem and I would like to encourage you to write yours, too. Check out the iamfromproject.com and post yours on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #iamfrom #redtentliving. Also for inspiration, check out Becky Allender’s piece that started out the month with the theme “Self.”  May we take a moment to sit at a table together and linger for a while with one another…

I Am From

I am from the slick vinyl rotation
of Peter, Paul & Mary LP’s

I am from spotless mustard Formica countertops
and the shine of dad’s fizzling glass
of Seagrams gin and tonic

I am from methodical vacuum streaks
on marmalade pile, from hours
upon hours of playing Pac-Man
in a mildewy basement

I am from my mom’s yellow Chevette
in August swelter, sputtering toward
cool chlorinated waters, Marco Polo
and bright sweating popsicles
that invited liberation

I am from dad’s peculiar arches,
his tiny toes scrunched into
shoes too small, exempting him
from the Vietnam Draft

I am from summer skies, catching
fireflies, my bare feet protected
by grass-stained heels (thick souls
that could withstand gravel
and hot asphalt)

I am from the sturdy stems
of Black-Eyed Susans, their petals
returning each weathered season

I am from dogwood trees,
the wood chosen for crucifixion,
from biscuit-shaped blooms
that padded me
in storms of fury

I am from Presbyterian pews
on Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve,
from long winding lines, waiting
to shake the pastor’s hand.

I am from the holy intrusion
of a cool wind blowing off
the Adirondacks, ushering hope
to honey-brown eyes

I am from baptismal waters of Saranac,
wild love, truth, and mercy from El Roi,
the One Who Sees

On a pale blue Holly Hobbie canopy bed
lie photographs of thick chestnut hair
and fresh dimpled cheeks, held captive
in an adhesive album now cradled
by middle-aged hands, beholding
each sacred image  


Rachel Blackston loves all things beautiful…rich conversations over a hot cup of lemon ginger tea, watching her three little girls twirl around in tutus, and Florida sunrises on her morning walks.   She resides in Orlando with her lanky, marathon running husband and her precious daughters, priceless gifts after several years of infertility. Rachel and her husband Michael cofounded Redeemer Counseling. As a therapist, Rachel considers it an honor to walk with women in their stories of harm, beauty, and redemption.