A Brief Remembrance of My Father

    Sunset with light in horizon and darkness below.

    Posted on July 15, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    My father had moments of crystalline clarity in which he would say something that would stop me in my tracks, making me pause to catch my breath from the goodness found in his words. These brief times of peace with my father were sacred thresholds through which we would stumble together into stillness and rest awhile in the love that broke through. I recall them with great fondness because they were rare due to my father’s troubles. . .

    I’d love it if you clicked here and read the rest over at Story Sanctum. 

    Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash

    The Aftermath of Coming Out

    A blonde child in a LGBTQIA-affirming t-shirt at a Pride parade.

    Posted on June 25, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    Last year I penned my first essay about the wonders of queer joy, coming out publicly as a bisexual woman living in Texas. The essay was well received, first by my Pastor Katie Hays at Galileo Church and then church friends and the readers of this honorable magazine. As the essay made the rounds among the wider online community of queer friends and allies, I couldn’t believe my good fortune, my blessing. Here I was, a now openly bisexual woman who had taken a conscious and intentional risk to share one of the most personal things about myself. My hopes in sharing the essay were twofold: that it would be a reclaiming of my own sacred voice and that other queerly beloveds would feel encouraged to risk sharing their most authentic selves with themselves and the world too. Because that truth is still true today, even a year later: God celebrates our queer sexuality as something that is good, true, and beautiful. . .

    I’d love it if you clicked here and read the rest over at Red Letter Christians.

    Image: Unsplash

    We Spoke of Our Mothers

    A woman stretching upwards in a yoga pose at sunset.

    Posted on May 12, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    We Spoke of Our Mothers

    At the Egyptian cafe, we spoke of our mothers,
    eyes bright with remembered fear, words whispered

    quickly in the din, our wonder held at surviving.
    Haven’t you seen dying herbs, dead in the air, but

    still alive at the roots in the dark dank soil,
    determined to grow up proud anyway?

    We stun the world with our power, like my
    dead oregano, who grew back again after

    winter’s thrashing, newly green petals unfurling
    vibrantly, bending upwards toward the light.

    Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

    Jesus Married

    A couple standing before friends holding sparklers.

    Posted on March 30, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    What if Jesus Was Married?

    I like to imagine Jesus married,
    he and his bride standing with family,
    the wife overjoyed to marry her beloved.

    I like to imagine that marriage
    made Jesus better at ministry,
    softer with the women he heard,
    kinder to the children he held,
    stronger with the authorities he challenged,
    sweeter in the friendships he cultivated.

    I suspect God needed a wife—
    a woman who embraced him
    for his essence, not just for his efforts,
    who yearned for his touch like we do too,
    who recorded many of his stories
    that make up the Gospels we recite today.

    I think Jesus loved us enough to give
    of himself because he was
    so well loved in return,
    by his people, yes,
    but also by his wife,
    the one who was God to him,
    who loved him just as he was
    and the possibilities he brought forth
    within her, yes, but also within the world. 

    Photo by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash

    This Love Between Us

    A human standing on a cliff edge by the sea.

    March 11, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    This Love Between Us

    This love between us bloomed like a desert rose,
    gorgeous in the honeyed light of autumn,

    but dies now in the cold darkness of winter.
    I can feel the shutting down,

    your heart unwilling to open
    to what you’ve never known. I used to return

    to the perfect day we shared, and it’s faded like
    a forgotten oil painting on a sunny attic wall.

    I don’t understand the strange ways of love,
    how its terror makes us run and hide

    from what we most long for. And so you are
    away now, on escape, while I sit here

    with my empty Zoom screen and consider
    how perilous, how exhilarating it is to fall. 

    Image: Photo by Alan Tang on Unsplash

    Love Everywhere

    Flowers, painting, journal, books, and altar on white writing desk.

    Posted on February 27, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    Sitting in the front room, I write these words, exhaling from the stress accumulated in this body from the past several weeks. Relational challenges abound, and as I consider recent loss, I sing praises to tiny things, the scented candle on my writing desk, my makeshift altar, beloved books, paintings I’ve created, writing journals which breathe with sincerity and focus. Read more