helping me hold on

bluebonnets

joy in my flower bed

 

some quotations from those I admire:

valarie kaur.jpg“I believe this is a time to love without limit. This is a time to see no stranger. In doing so, we gather information for the kind of world we want, where no one is uninsured or disposable, where our policies and public institutions protect all of us. 

And if panic or grief or rage seizes you suddenly, it’s okay. It means you are alive to what is happening. The work is to breathe through it. It becomes a dance – to panic, then return to wisdom; to retreat then find the courage to show up with love anyway. 

I spend all day in fear. But tonight, I got quiet enough to hear the wise woman in me, and she said, “Breathe, my love. Like any long labor, we are going to take this one breath at a time.” “                                            Valarie Kaur   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

richard rohr 2.jpg“Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say?   When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way.  We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment.”    Richard Rohr   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

a future salad in my garden

a future salad in my garden

 

“… As we struggle with our new circumstances and wonder what “normal” will be in the future, it’s comforting to be reminded that there’s familiarity all around us and within us.

Joe KayNature is doing its long-anticipated, seasonal thing. People are still showing kindness and love, if from a distance.

It’s a reminder that we, like God, are in the business of constantly weaving together the old and the new into something that will be filled with grace in its own ways.

And it will be very good. Challenging? For sure! But also good.”   Joe Kay [from his blog, with permission]

 

Brian McLaren 2.jpgBrian McLaren offers some great wisdom on how to pray in the midst of crisis, posted as a daily meditation through the Center for Action and Contemplation, here.   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

All this … and a mysterious gift of hope, given, shared, welcomed.

 

the list

the list.jpg

So, it looks like I am going to have to come up with
some new excuses for procrastination.

My ‘to do’ list has been altered by the need to stay home.

And now, I am beginning to see,
That the list is not all that has been altered.
The ‘needs’ behind the list have changed, as well.
Some have changed by circumstance,
And some by a dawning realization
That they were really not so urgent to begin with.

So, rather than berate myself,
I am taking a deep breath
And making a different list.

I ask myself,
What stories do I want to be able to tell,
When this is all over?

The new list starts there.
And maybe its a ‘to be’ list
Rather than a ‘to do’ list:
To be the grace I hope to see in the world.
To hold to hope so others can hold on, as well.
To offer kindness, even from a distance.
To let myself be held in the arms of God
Even when other embraces are the virtual kind.

Even in this moment, we look for evidence of love.
That is the story we must tell,
That is the story we must echo with our actions, this day.
That is the story I hold to be most deeply true.

[photo by john.schultz per cc 2.0]

I need a different story

 

held .jpg

You would think all this time at home
Would bring a stillness,
An opportunity to breathe,
A chance to sit and think.

But, as I am now aware,
That takes a disciplined intentionality.
The rat-a-tat-tat of news coverage
Pounds at my soul.

I am not automatically quiet,
Even at times like these.
I must decide to turn my mind, my heart,
Away from insistent distraction.

Yet (take a deep breath)
You are here. Even here.
Your touch can spread peace, rather than fear.
There is no quarantine that can keep you away.

And so, I close my eyes.
I lean my head back, ever so slightly.
I imagine your arms around me.
I can feel your love anoint my soul.

And in your embrace,
I let my prayer become an ointment for the earth.
I see, in my mind’s eye, your hovering hope.
I relax my grip upon control and give it all to you.

The trial of this time,
The real suffering that ensues,
The anger and accusation that rise too easily,
Are not the only story.

You tell a different story,
One that even death cannot destroy.
And somehow I will let myself believe that your story
Is the one that will prove true.

[photo by Roger Ahlbrand per cc 2.0]

Rising

sunrise.jpg

That red ribbon on the horizon
Is a sign of your coming.
Already you are rising to the day.
Already your hope comes.
Already the arms of the trees reach for you.
Already my heart yearns,

And you come.

You will come to me each morning
Tiptoeing over the curve of the earth
Smiling in the ever-increasing light
Until, one day,
My eyes will be closed to the sunrise.
That day,
I will be be tiptoeing over the curve of eternity
Into your arms.

[photo by kingkubby per cc 2.0]

delight

gossamer wings.jpg
For me,
delight may be
the surest evidence
of God.

That eternal smile
makes it possible
to grasp my days
and venture forth
with courage.

There is
within delight
a firm assurance
that all will,
indeed,
be well.

And I can breathe again.

So, I keep an eye out for delight
and hear God’s chuckle when it shows itself
amid the rubble of my days
like a geode broken to the light.

My own heart laughs when I see it,
hidden in plain sight
already there when I turn my eyes.

The laughter of my soul
breaks down my fear
and blows away despair
like feathers in that holy wind.

 

[photo by Chris A per cc 2.0]

the space between the words (3)

whispered wisdomSometimes, in reading other’s words, a phrase rings so very true that it expands my soul and feeds my journey. For me, these are among the ‘thin places’ that the Celts acknowledged – places where the space between the mundane and the holy is whisper thin.

I hope they will brush your soul with grace, and, perhaps, stir us all to action, as well.

Here’s an addition to this collection, added 1/31/20:

Monk.jpg

“It is a lie—any talk of God
that does not
comfort
you.”
– Meister Eckhart [translated by Daniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God. Image from photo by Marta Nogueira, per cc 2.0

 

added 1/19/20:

“I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen MLK.jpgand too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.” – MLK, [quoted in The Pause newsletter 1 19 20 by OnBeing. photo by Paulo O per cc 2.0]

Matt Fitzgerald.png

“Let beauty be beauty, don’t worship it. Let your family be your family, don’t expect everything from them. Let work be work, don’t let it define you. Let our nation be our nation, not something to kill for.

Let life be what it is: a beautiful gift full of trouble, days of joy and contradiction, expiring in our hands. Life isn’t everything. We shouldn’t try to wring eternity from existence.”  – Matt Fitzgerald [as posted here]

Image of Franz Kafka

Art, like prayer, is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace which will transform it into a hand that bestows gifts, Franz Kafka – [as quoted here by Maria Popova – photo by per cc 2.0]

Hannah BonnerTears were not weakness when falling from her eyes, they were what courage looks like when it takes a minute to breathe.” [Hannah Bonner-photo and quote used with permission]

Frederick Buechner

One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.” – Frederick Buechner; photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

photo of Richard RohrJesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” – Richard Rohr – [Image cropped from photo by Festival of Faiths per cc 2.0]

[From time to time I will add to this collection, placing the new phrase at the top of the list.]  [photo at the top of the post by Pearl Pirie per cc 2.0]