Playdates with God: Fresh Air

She wore red and I had no makeup on, my hair pulled up in a drooping twist.

I was painting the bathroom walls white, stripping the cabinets, inhaling toxins despite my efforts. Fresh air was needed. Breathing was better out back with my laptop in tow. It was cool but sunny, the brisk wind felt good to my pounding head.

The email invitation arrived just in time.

TS Poetry Press is inviting you to a scheduled meeting for the Love, Etc Live Reading,it said.

An online, live poetry reading. With one of my favorite poets. I glanced at the clock. Only half an hour away! I knew I looked like Pippi Longstocking in advanced years, but maybe I could hover in the airspace, invisible and unnoticed?

I don’t have time, I muttered to myself. It promised to be 45 minutes of word joy but that would be 45 minutes lost on this never-ending, harder-than-it-should-be project. But I had toxins in my head and fresh air was needed and my spirit said a dose of poetry would help.

So I signed in and my bare face and juvenile hairdo stared back at me from the screen. Other poetry friends were there—none of them resembling Pippi. I considered turning off video, but that didn’t seem fair. I was there. All of me. My head pounding.

She wore red and when she laughed it was fresh air. She read this poem for me:

You are white smoke against a white sky.

I can barely see you drifting by my 
on this morning of white sheets 
against white skin.
I can barely feel your breath, thin as 
it is over the maples
fusing orange to yellow to orange to red.

I open the glass.

To let me out, to let you in.
Sometimes, a playdate is a surprise. God steps into a moment when I least expect him—reminding me he was already there. That’s how it is for me with poetry. A poem is the Genesis story over and over again—naming and renaming parts of me.

Is there something like that in your life? A place, a thing, an activity where God has surprised you? I love how the holy masquerades as the ordinary, winking one shimmery eye at me when I notice.

That poetry reading was better than a headache powder. It can’t be put in a pill but it is in a book. If you need some fresh air, you might enjoy Love, Etc. by Laura Barkat. It’s even better if you wear red when you’re reading it.

The winners of Kristen Welch’s book Rhinestone Jesus from last week’s drawing are: Dawn Paoletta and Lori Sammartino! Congratulations! I’ll be in touch.

Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. says

    I’m wearing a yellow t-shirt from 2003 and a faded pair of denim shorts with a broken snap. ha. Maybe I need to go put on some red!

    I love how God shows up in the most unexpected places. He’s always full of surprises. (And I’m sure you looked marvelous, regardless of your “bare face and juvenile hairdo”!)

  2. Sharita Knobloch says

    Wonderful, Laura… funny how we always tell ourselves “we don’t have time” but when we make it happen, it was worth it– a thousand times over. (It’s like God knows what we need or something 😉

    Thanks for this reminder to drink up His fresh air– whether I am painting the bathroom or not. Blessings, sister!

  3. soulstops says

    Smiling here…so happy you met Jesus in Laura’s poetry…I bet you were an adorable Pippi 🙂 will e-mail again…

  4. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    You don’t want to see my hair right now :). Yes, poetry names what we know to be true, but didn’t realize we knew. I’m falling these days for poetry, a dangerous thing, maybe even more dangerous than wearing red.

  5. says

    So happy for that lovely surprise for you! 🙂 Fresh air is a gift. God must smile when we open it up. Grace to you in Jesus, friend.

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