Random Acts of Poetry: Mistaken Identity

Blog/Produced by The High Calling

Random Acts of Poetry: Mistaken Identity

I was thirteen the summer a girl mistook me for her father. Canvassing a grey neighborhood with other youth, in our more door-to-door evangelical days, I passed her home on the sidewalk. She couldn’t have been six, and shot out the door with an urgency and thrill to arrest me. Uncomfortable doesn’t begin to describe how I lingered on the stoop of the dilapidated duplex as a tired woman strained an expression and attempted to convince her daughter that I was not the man she hoped for. Where he was exactly, I can only hazard a guess.

For the record, I’m ashamed there are so many poor excuses for the father figure, as in altogether imaginary, emotionally absent, or worse. But, while causation has mutated over time, the circumstance is hardly a recent development. The ancient Hebrew nation received command from Moses that third year harvest tithes should be brought, “to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns” (Deut. 26:12). Christian Scripture revives the old commandment as James opens his epistle boldly stressing, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27). So much for word-faith.

I bet you’re no different from me and know at least two families built from adoption; know five people who sponsor children in other countries through organizations like Compassion International, Childcare Worldwide and Friends of the Orphans. Or maybe you yourself were adopted, built your family through adoption, or sponsor a child. As members all around the High Calling network post about orphan care, you might consider writing a poem.

For this week’s Random Acts of Poetry, write a poem to, or in honor of, an orphan, someone you know who has adopted one, or your own adopter. Unique is familial love opened to one born outside the family. In some way, I hope, together, we might give an impression of its greater grandeur, of something that is indeed “pure and genuine.” Post your poem and a link to RAP on your own blog, and then show us where to read it with a link here by noon (EST), Wednesday, February 2.

Image by Kelly Sauer, used with permission via Flickr. RAP hosted by David Wheeler, author of Contingency Plans: Poems.


The Idea Camp will gather on February 25-26 in NW Arkansas to focus on the issue of adoption and orphan care. Inspired by this event, we are sharing stories related to the high calling of orphan care. If you have a story of your own to share, post a link at our introduction to this series, Caring for the Little Ones.

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