off to the mountains

I’m off to the mountains.
My soul longs to absorb the colors of the wild;
To sit in the presence of the mountain
And let it sink its roots into my heart.

The touch of that deep quiet has faded
And needs to be renewed
So that I, too, might be renewed.
The attention of my soul is too easily distracted
By the flash and dazzle of the market
And the vitriol and terror of the news.

So, I will sink my feet into the numbing cold of a stream
And let my soul sigh before a columbine.
I will relish the quiet conversation of friends
Whose voices carry the whisper of the divine.
I will remember the solid grace of solitude
And the gift of mutual interdependence.

I am grateful to be able to make such a pilgrimage,
In the company of others whose hearts are open to its peace.
There are no guarantees on the mountain,
Except that it is there – deeply, powerfully there,
And its gifts of beauty and grandeur and challenge and grace
Play upon the wind and call me to its depths.

I’m off to the mountains to store up images of hope
To feed my soul and smooth the edges of my anger
And give me a bit of grace to share.
I go in hope and confidence that it still has gifts to share;
That my heart will still be open;
That its terrible beauty will do its work in me, again.

I’m off to the mountains.

[so … no posts for a bit.]

holding pattern

beneath the tree

Oh, Holy One,
I sit beneath the tree of my imagination.
I hold my troubled heart in my hands.
I don’t know what else to do.

You sit beside me.
You lean over and wrap your hands around mine.
You lean down and kiss my heart.
I offer it up to you, mostly out of desperation.
And you smile.

That, at least, is good; seems right;
Not righteous on my part, but true.
That smile softly changes the contours of my heart.
I move from grasping fear to gratitude.

Your smile tugs at the corners of my own mouth.
I feel my hands relax around my heart.
I feel my soul relax around my quandaries.
Your presence beside me is enough.

Indeed, it is more than enough,
I release myself into a surprising fullness,
My questions are not answered, but they are quieted.
I am held in you.

[photo by Felix Dance per cc 2.0]

the question

reachingSo, God …
If you are not depending on me to save the world,
What then?

If I am not the one who must uphold your honor,
If I am not the one who must proclaim what is true,
If I am not the one who will make all things right,
What good am I?

Funny how it seems I either think that I am God,
Or presume that I must do the work of Jesus.
Either I must tell you how to make (or fix) the world,
Or I must save it.

On second thought, it is not really so funny.
At best it is sad and delusional,
And sets me up for utter failure.
At worst … well …

Jesus, himself, says, ‘No one is good but God.’
Perhaps this is not a differentiation
On a scale of goodness.
(God is good. You are not.)

Perhaps it points to a difference in role.
In fact, all the stories in Luke 18
Might be read as a suggestion of this difference.

The unjust judge grants the woman’s pleas just to stop her pestering.
It is the tax collector, not the Pharisee whose prayer does its work.
It is in becoming like a little child that you enter the kingdom.
The rich young ruler, who has fully obeyed the law, is unwilling to give up his money, his power, and simply follow and rely on God.
Jesus tells the apostles of his coming crucifixion, which they cannot understand.
The blind man begs for sight, and though they try to quiet him, he continues to beg and is blessed.

None of these stories make sense when measured in terms of ‘goodness’ and ‘deserving.’

I must admit that, at first, I was not sure I liked this arrangement.
If it were about deserving, and if I were good enough, I could demand certain actions from God.
Then, after sixty-some years of trying to be good enough, I am slowly recognizing that there really is a better way.

So … What good am I?
Not good enough.
Good thing that’s not what matters.
That’s not even the right question.

When I’m reaching for assurance,
I don’t have to depend on me.

Whew!

[photo by Valerie Everett per cc 2.0]

a blessing for your morning

whisper

May the soft breeze of God’s whisper
Lift your heart as you arise.

May God’s dear smile
Play across the faces of your friends,
As you greet each other along the way.

May you find yourself joyfully engaged
In those tasks most suited to your gifts.

May you deeply know, even in the midst
Of troubles and questions and seeming failure,
That you, yourself, will never be abandoned.

May you see that any gift,
Given in love into the hand of God,
Softens the edges of reality,
And widens the flow of grace.

Each act of love
Is a step
In the redemption of the world.

[photo by Styleღwithღattitude per cc 2.0]

bullseye

bullseyeThey say that the word for ‘sin’ can be translated as ‘missing the mark.’
But what do you call it when you make a direct hit – on the wrong mark?
What do you call it when you strive for ‘rightness,’ rather than relationship?

What happens when I delude myself into thinking that the way to God,
Is right living, right acting, right believing?
Somehow I miss the insight that the road to rightness takes me far away
From the God who is right here, aching to embrace me, just as I am.

The bullseye of my faith is not doctrinal correctness, but love.
Or, perhaps, it is not a bullseye at all, but a sacred center.
What if I’m not supposed to strike it from afar,
But to lean back into its enfolding?

What if I have been taking aim with a bow made for strict accuracy,
With straight arrows of good intent,
When archery, itself, is not what I am here to learn?

What if I’ve not so much been missing the mark, as missing the point?

[photo by Emily Moe per cc 2.0]