Hand to Heart

“the truth is
my hope is mangled.
it limps and creaks
at night.
you speak of hope like a
white bird soaring.
it’s okay that mine
is the battered exhale,
a bench with splintered wood.”
— Cole Arthur Riley

The invitation:
to touch a part
of their bodies
where the divine
has met them
over the weekend.

Hand to heart
I watch them rise.
Eyes closed,
one by one
like a potent wave.
The spirit swells like that.

They can’t see
one another,
but I see them.
Every movement
a note in perfect harmony.

They came for respite,
for reprieve and
for replenishment.
To be nourished by
the land and by
one another.

To do justice, to love
mercy, to walk humbly
isolates and weathers
the soul like the steady
of water on rock.

Before me sit
a sea of


Social workers

Hospital chaplains




Government officials

Real estate developers

Eco conservationists



Each with hands to heart,
touched the same,
crashing into
one another.

Vanessa Sadler is a trauma-informed Spiritual Director and Enneagram Specialist. Through her company Abide (@abidinginstory), she collaborates with clients who seek deeper abiding and a greater understanding of the ways they relate with God, self and others. Vanessa has Level I and Level II certificates in Narrative Focused Trauma Care from The Allender Center, located within the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and also offers Integrated Story Work to her clients along with a culture identity component.