Close to the Ground: A Collection of Poems
Ordinary grace disguises itself in faded irises, traffic signs, convoluted “meetings for worship for business,” and the funny things small children say—the grace of God hidden in the ordinariness of life. This grace hovers close to the ground. In her exploration of this grace, Nancy Thomas takes us on a personal journey with four sections. The first section, “Playing with Words,” celebrates language. In the second section, “Family Album,” Nancy celebrates memory, one of the ancient traditions of the Christian faith. The third section, “The Absurdity of Prayer,” focuses on the human side of our relationship with God. It notices the klutziness of being the church. It celebrates spirituality with dirt on its face and saints with sullied reputations. The final section, “Longing for Home,” affirms the hope of resurrection and new life. “Like Moses, I approach the thick darkness where God is, groping, breathless, ready.” Grace was—is—ever present. And all things, those in the heavens and those closer to the ground, are from, through, and to God. Glory.
AUTHOR When asked about her spiritual gifts, Nancy Thomas might claim ambiguity, indirection, clarity, or playfulness. Nancy discovered her vocation at the age of seven when she wrote her first poem, a bouncy murder mystery in iambic pentameter. Encouraged by parents and teachers, she began filling up notebooks with poetic reflections on just about everything. She never stopped. Today Nancy describes her vocation as “a poet who sees and expresses the grace of God hidden in the ordinariness of life.” After graduating from George Fox College (now University) with a major in Spanish, Nancy went on to earn graduate degrees from the University of Oregon and Fuller Theological Seminary. But she confesses she’d rather write a poem than a dissertation any day (even though poems are harder to write). Along the roads traveled since that seven-year-old made her discovery, Nancy and her husband, Hal, have lived in Latin America, mostly Bolivia, “Friends Serving Abroad” through the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends. Although originally sent as a teacher, while there she learned about friendship, hospitality, family, culture, language, and grace. Nancy and Hal are members of the North Valley Friends Church in Newberg, Oregon. Their two children, son David and daughter Kristin, are married and have blessed them with seven grandchildren (who provide infinite material for poems of gritty grace). Currently Hal and Nancy are leading a team of Bolivian researchers and writers in recording the one-hundred-year history of the Bolivian Friends Church.
Publisher: Barclay Press
Publication Date: July 2016