multilingual mystery

Persian alphabet blocks

To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of  human origin; each language reflects and shapes the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or say as well in another; and the more languages you speak, the more nuanced your understanding of life becomes. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi- lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence. – Rabbi Rami Shapiro

And so, the tower of Babel is redeemed
When we build the conversation, together,
After, first, listening to the silence of true presence.

Somehow my heart knows the language
My tongue is loosed to sing
Before my mind can catch the melody.

Somehow, sometimes, if my mind will follow, rather than lead
I can wake to the deep reality
That is always, always, holding my true self.

And then the cascading voices,
The orchestra of life,
Is deep, and rich, and full.

All nature sings …
And we, as a part of the singing universe,
Find our tiny selves expanded within the One.

There are no words
And yet, I cannot keep quiet,
Not when that deep quiet within me stirs to life.

 

[photo by Dr. Bashi™ per cc 2.0]
[Again, I am grateful to Richard Rohr, for opening up my morning.]

 

looking for light

candle light

When times get crazy
And dreams falter
And shouts threaten to own all ears

When your heart cowers
And pulls you into your small corner
And your tight eyes fill with tears

That is when it is hardest
To see any light.
And when it is most important.

It is not the denial
Of this world’s selfish curl
Or that same curl within your clay

It is not the self-protective scurry
To keep yourself walled in
And resign all others to the fray

It is not whistling in the dark
That keeps you safe
Or points the way.

It is holding tight to hope
And offering kindness
As a vital part of all you do.

It is looking for the light
And discovering, to your surprise
That it shines through you.

You are God’s portal,
A conduit of grace.
You are the way that love gets through.

[photo by Images by John ‘K’ per cc 2.0]

the moonbeam’s box

holding a moonbeam
At the end of the day (or the beginning)
The heart of my faith rests in my heart.
It’s not the creeds or doctrines.
It’s not the smells and bells.
It is the hope (and sometimes realization)
Of the touch of the Holy on my soul.

That hope and promise of relationship,
My hope – our hope together –
Is what has held me firm,
Even as I question and struggle
With the forms and frames that have been dictated to me.
The path is not the destination.

“Spirituality is the moonbeam.
Religion is the box we try to catch it in.”
We need the box,
Else the real is too elusive for beginners.
And we are all beginners, to the end.
But the box is not a substitute for what gives life.

A God who loves me:
That is the source and joy of life.
An invitation to reciprocate that love,
(For love is full only when it is freely returned)
That is the mystery.
That holy circle of grace is all in all.

[The quotation about the moonbeam is from DR. KWEETHAI NEILL, PHD]
[Thanks to Timothy Luke Johnson for the insight that it is the experience of God, not correct doctrine, that is the abiding power of Christianity.]
[photo by Judy van der Velden per cc 2.0]

life peaks out

hide and seekI do so need you, Holy One.
I need to find the touchstone of my soul.
I need to know that REAL is real.
That life is more than living,
Breathing more than breath.

It is so easy to be wrapped in this fog of forgetting,
This mindless urgency of ‘should.’
Help me remember, as I enter this day,
That you are here, beside me,
Yes, even deep within.

Help me see life peaking out around that corner.
Help me hear the giggle in your call.
It is not a game of hide and seek you play,
But a game of seek and find.
Where pure delight is eager for discovery.

Help me feel your deep anticipation.
You can hold on to joy amid the noise of life.
For you, the end is sure, and soon.
Although creation rushes forth with such abundance
It somehow never leaves the heart of your embrace.

You ask me to hold faith,
Not so that I can prove myself,
But so that I can hold that joyful confidence with you.
Knowing that the eternal embrace is just a snuggling closer
Within the arms that already surround me.

[photo by Francesc González per cc 2.0]

Fierce beauty

two friends embraceThere is a beauty so fierce
That it cannot be hidden.
Neither wrinkles nor scars
Can mask its magnificence.

It flashes out from eyes alive with joy
And exudes peace even as it struggles.
For there are those who are anointed
With the touch of the divine.

That touch, in turn,
Flows from their fingers
And whispers from their lips
Dusting the world around them with grace.

This is a beauty that expands with time.
Familiarity breeds … amazement,
For its kindness is ever deeper, ever true.
Its very constancy adds to its glow.

The glory of a sunrise,
Even on the highest summit
Cannot match the beauty
Of a fiercely loving friend.

[photo by Mike per cc 2.0]

The Book of Life

Book of LifeThe true book of life
Is not just a list of names
It is a wealth of stories –
Yours and mine.

And each day, we have the chance
To write another episode,
Enriching heaven’s dance,
Which has already begun.

I want to learn to dance with you
To lean my ear upon your chest
And feel the beat of life
To feel your rhythms in the very heart of me.

Even my self-conscious, awkward moves
Are not enough to stop the music.
It is all a part of the undeniable narrative of love
Danced out, within your arms.

[photo by Jo Naylor per cc 2.0]

early morning stupor

cup of coffee
Slow head
Slow heart
Slow hands

I sit in a stupor on my couch
And wrap my hands around a cup of coffee
As stupor wraps my soul.

Would that I could change this dullness
Into the quiet of meditation.

I can’t conjure up mystery
But I can find my way to gratefulness.
And I slowly turn my heart to find that light.

It’s a start

 

[photo by Danila Matveev per cc 2.0]