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A brother and a book

June 20, 2014


My brother, Craig Romkema, published a book. Actually, it’s his second book, his first having been published 12 years ago (Embracing the Sky, Jessica Kingsley Publishers). Publishing one book, let alone two, is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but Craig especially has had to overcome many barriers in order to reach this goal. You see, Craig has cerebral palsy and autism. He communicates by typing on a keyboard, which is also the way his books were written. He graduated from college a few years ago after ten long years of taking classes two at a time. His book, just published a few months ago, is called “Resting in the Secret Place.”  His poems focus on life, family, and living with disabilities. And they are good, I mean, really good. (This coming from someone who doesn’t even like most poetry.) Here is just one small taste of his work:


Easily the wound closed over my heart

as if never inflicted by gutless words–

“Retard,” they sneered at me on the long bus ride home,

but I held these words in my spirit as a sword against theirs.

“You are my beloved son, my chosen one, my strong heart,”

words whispered to me in the darkness when all were asleep

save myself and the One who stood watch over me,

who still watches over me with such tenderness that

at times it seems more than I can bear.


Half in and half out of this place we call reality,

I stay with that Spirit always whispering near me,

always peace surrounding my belligerence,

nothing on this earth as tempting as His voice,

as his mantle of compassion over me.


Would I want my existence to be otherwise,

immersed in a world where I cannot hear Him clearly?

I cannot breathe without His breath coursing through me.

Sometimes I see others who share that life-breath;

I see Him through their eyes, feel Him in the places they inhabit,

know that He also inhabits them, that we share

this secret abiding, He in us,

we somehow in His unseen arms.


No, I am lacking much others consider essential.

Even basic manners are stumbling blocks for my

worrisome frame,

but I have Him to release truths in the places of deception,

to grant me respite from my body’s ridiculousness,

to breathe over my never-forgotten heart.


Resting in the Secret Place” is available here. Buy it. Read it. Be changed by it.

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