Kevin Kling is an NPR commentator, author, storyteller, and playwright from Minnesota. Born with his left arm a good bit shorter and minimally functional than his right, he nearly died in his 30s from a motorcycle accident that required multiple surgeries, facial reconstructions, and ultimately left his right arm paralyzed as well. A person of indomitable spirit, wit, and charm, Kevin writes and performs internationally. His stories and poems speak to the universal longing for connection and meaning, acknowledging that our stories provide a path into joy and healing, as well as a way of connecting us deeply with one another in a life Holy Mystery.
Several people requested a copy of his poem, which I read this past Sunday, “Tickled Pink.” I’ve included it below, and here is a wonderful PBS documentary about Kevin.
Tickled Pink (by Kevin Kling)
At times in our pink innocence, we lie fallow, composting, waiting to grow. And at other times, we rush headlong like so many of our ancestors. But rush headlong or lie fallow, it doesn’t matter.
One day you’ll round a corner, and your path is shifted. In a blink, something is missing. It’s stolen, misplaced, it’s gone — your heart, a memory, a limb, a promise . . . a person. Your innocence is gone, and now your journey has changed. Your path, as though channeled through a spectrum, is refracted and has left you pointed in a new direction. Some won’t approve. Some will want the other you. And some will cry that you’ve left it all.
But what has happened, has happened, and cannot be undone . . .
We pay for our laughter. We pay to weep. Knowledge is not cheap. To survive, we must return to our senses — touch, taste, smell, sight, sound. We must let our spirit guide us, our spirit that lives in breath. With each breath we inhale, we exhale. We inspire, we expire.
Every breath has a possibility of a laugh, a cry, a story, a song. Every conversation is an exchange of spirit, the words flowing bitter or sweet over the tongue. Every scar is a monument to a battle survived.
Now when you’re born into loss, you grow from it. But when you experience loss later in life, you grow toward it.
It is a slow move to an embrace — an embrace that leaves you holding tight the beauty wrapped in the grotesque, an embrace that becomes a dance, a new dance — a dance of pink.
Sunday, I continue our mini-series on “Crazy Wisdom” with a look at Proverbs 9:1-6. Wisdom stands at the intersection (at Henderson and 5th? ) and cries out, “Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Come have dinner with me. A feast is spread out. Leave confusion and live!”
I love Kling’s words above, “Every breath has a possibility of a laugh, a cry, a story, a song. Every conversation is an exchange of spirit.” Seems to me that fear and shame, along with all their cousins, are the twin adversaries of conscious living. Wisdom invites us into that exchange of breath with one another, that dance with deep joy and wonder. It’s a movable feast and we go there “together — wise or otherwise.”
This Sunday, May 29
“Together — Wise or Otherwise”
Stories of Crazy Wisdom
Lydia Smith-Osborne is back with us,
with the music of Pearl Jam, Peter Mayer, sacred hymn,
and the Indigo Girls
Hope to see you Sunday!
P.S. We’ve now made it easier than ever to find interesting tidbits and facts, curious links, and info about all things nine:thirty-nine & eleven:eleven celebration at #1111fumcfw. Just type that into any search field (on Twitter.com, Facebook.com, Google, etc.). You don’t need a Twitter account. Just type it in and find the most up to date and archived items, including video links to Dace’s performance of “The Flight of the Bumblebee” and the band’s “Over the Rainbow.”