Last week I put out a call out on Instagram that if anyone had a story they’d like turned into poetry, I’d try write one.  A good number of stories came through. Most of them were from people looking for words to wrap around loss and disappointment.  It should be no wonder why nearly one third of the bible is poetry.  This is where it shines. Language of the heart.

Someone in the states reached out, explaining: “I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide. I thought jumping through the correct social and theological hoops would fix me. But it only left me more exhausted. Shame was my attempted murderer. But love raised me from death.”⁣. 

The following is what I wrote, it the fifth poem published on Instagram in this series which includes topics around autism, foster parenting and abortion. Find more here if you like:  (Some are also on Facebook.)

And the sheep had no idea⁣
their shepherd had leant over life’s edge⁣
and was staring into the relief⁣
death was offering.⁣

When hope and strength leave you⁣
and the weight of a flock⁣
rests upon your shoulders⁣
you are forgiven⁣
for considering⁣
an ‘out’ like this.⁣

“Why does he not just trust God?”⁣
the sheep murmured.⁣
Which was ironic,⁣
seeing they expected⁣
so much from their shepherd.⁣

“If he is gone, how will we be fed and led?”⁣
they continued.⁣
Which was ironic⁣
seeing they confessed⁣
the Lord was their shepherd.⁣

And on that ledge⁣
out of earshot from the sheep⁣
the shepherd heard the voice⁣
he’d been longing⁣
to be strengthened by.⁣
“Don’t jump.⁣
  Just fall⁣
    into me⁣
      and new way⁣
        of being.”⁣

Needless to say,⁣
the sheep were shocked⁣
when things changed.⁣
But they grew anyway.⁣
Finding green pastures on their own.⁣

And the shepherd learned⁣
to breathe again⁣
to enjoy the meadow⁣
and walk lockstep⁣
with his friend and lover⁣
the Shepherd King.⁣

“For the pastor who nearly died by suicide”⁣
David Tensen ‘21⁣
find this on my blog too

I have written many times on the weight and pressure most pastors live under. I have walked with many of them over the years through dark and dangerous seasons. I’m going to keep advocating for the need for pastors to get regular, monitored and mandatory mental health assistance with trained therapists – not just for their own sake, but for the people they lead too. ⁣