Jesus Married

    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

    Ocean of Belonging

    Aisan temple frame in the ocean.

    Posted on February 23, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    Is it inevitable that I’d embrace Zen, given that I’m a Native North Texan? I’ve been reflecting on the nature of choice, especially after returning home a few weeks ago from visiting Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe where I met many of my online friends IRL and walked the mountainous terrain behind the zendo between dharma talks and short periods of silence. How did I get here? Days after returning home from the retreat in Santa Fe, I have a sudden urge to write at the Kimbell Art Museum and head out the door with my purse and notebook in hand. A part of me suspects the museum holds a key to my inquiry. Read more

    The Rilke Spotting

    People chatting at a coffeeshop.

    Posted on February 2, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    The Rilke Spotting

    I saw Rainer Maria Rilke at Starbucks last week,
    sitting inside the cafe off University Drive,
    absent mindfully stroking his beard.
    I didn’t go up to him because I wanted
    to look at the man whose writing
    changed my view on things.
    You’re curious perhaps what he ordered—
    an Earl Grey latte with oat milk, two sugars.
    But maybe you’re also curious why he’d choose
    a Starbucks near an ordinary college campus
    in the middle of an unseasonably cold winter’s day.

    Because real life, he would say if I asked him,
    begins right where you are:
    the Starbucks cafe making drinks,
    the local library doing homework,
    the food pantries feeding the hungry,
    the homeless shelters caring for the unwanted,
    the city water gardens admiring ingenuity,
    the warm beds we convalesce in,
    the tea shop near the freeway that crisscrosses the sky.

    These are the places God lives, he would say,
    his eyes tender in their seriousness,
    their urgency for you to awaken
    to wonder living, flowing at your feet. 

    Image: Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

    A Meditation of Delight

    Woman dancing amid a cloudy blue sky.

    Posted on January 16, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    On a cold weekday morning in late winter, I meditated imperfectly leading to a wondrous moment of play, the effects of which nestled down into my heart like sweet birdsong. So much of my life’s work has been to unravel the dangerous threads of perfectionism woven into my being, the accompanying shame making it hard to discern what only feels real and what’s actually true. In the latter half of living, I listen more to Spirit, whose guidance is like the astonishing words of Leonard Cohen: “There’s a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

    I caught a bit of that astonishment on an ordinary Monday morning during my usual habit of dropping into an online meditation after breakfast. Sitting into my lounge chair rather than at my desk, I slipped under a handmade quilt and opened my laptop, seeing my friends pop on screen for the daily sit at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Mirjam led us that day, and her warm presence ushered all of us into a place of deep peace and stillness. I still heard her kind voice leading us in meditation when I fell asleep. . . 

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

    Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash

    The Strange Gifts of the Season

    Snowy mountain in Sandia Mountains.

    Posted on January 14, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    After the excitement of Christmas, of writing heartfelt cards and opening sweet presents and watching our favorite holiday movies, I woke up early the morning after and groaned. Christmas was peaceful this year, if a little quiet, and then came the sore throat, a tiny patch of skin inside that no water could quench, and I sighed in dismay at my luck. Bravely, tiredly we packed up sweaters and hiking boots and wool socks and leftovers the morning after Christmas and drove nine hours to Albuquerque, me driving and getting sicker as the cold windy day progressed into an even chiller night in Northern New Mexico.

    Read more