no magic

magicThere is no magic.

There is only mystery.

Magic presumes a mastery of the mysterious, where certain incantations will constrain the outcome. But mystery will not be constrained.

That is good news, when mystery is the very heart of goodness.

I want to release myself to the embrace of mystery.  I just don’t know how. So, I keep trying magic. Until I give up my attempts at control, I keep the mystery at bay. Such is my quandary.

I’d pray about it, except that I keep turning prayer into an attempt at magic, an Aladdin’s lamp. Three wishes will be granted for the rubbing.

Just like to me mess up a blessing.

Aauugh!

Why won’t I learn? When you bargain with a loving God, you only cheat yourself.

[photo by Linus Bohman per cc 2.0]

silence

silver seasThere are different kinds of silence …
The silence of midnight,
Where dark and quiet merge;
The silence of a friend’s absence,
Where that space in your heart rings hollow;
The silence of your lover’s sigh,
Folding you within its arms.

sunriseThen, there is …
The deep silence of the wilderness,
Where nature breathes life into your soul;
The stony silence of disregard,
That eats your soul away, again;
The silence of meditation,
Once the chattering mind has stilled,
Pointing the way to the silence that holds the world.

silent shore

May your day bring healing silence,
Quieting your heart,
Opening your soul as a receptacle, a conduit, for love.

Amen. May it be so.

[Photos by Mike Bizeau, from his wonderful blog, nature has no boss. The first is midnight in Greenland.  His thoughts on silence triggered my own. He added a link to a study of noise in our national parks. I am grateful for his blog, which greets my mornings.]

summer abundance

yellow squashOne of the realities of summer
Is squash.
One day it is a blossom
The next a fingerling
The next, almost too big.

Ask me if I’m growing squash
And I’ll likely say yes.
But, really, it grows on its own.
My part is minimal.
The rest is miracle.

Sun, water, dirt, seed –
Become an edible delight.
I can barely keep up.
I am grateful for these quiet miracles.
And the fact they don’t depend on me.

[photo by Joan per cc 2.0]

Those slubs

raw silkThe mirror of my mind’s eye
Is much more flattering
Than the one framed on my bathroom door.

My imagined goodness, too,
Contains all the contemplated kindnesses,
Not just those actually done.

My projects are better when I plan them
Than when they reach completion,
With all their wrinkles and flaws.

The problem is
When I am content with imagining
Nothing really happens.

I must embrace the flaws
If I am to love the life that is,
If I am to live at all.

Like raw silk,
The slubs are part of its beauty.
They add richness and grace.

Those cracks, dear Lenard,
As you knew so well,
Are where the life gets in.

[photo by mary per cc 2.0]

quandaries with prayer

restless

When it comes to prayer,
I am like a fidgety child,
Too tired to go to sleep.
My urgencies unsettle my heart,
Crying out for a way out.

My focus is me,
And so my prayers become
An incessant prattle,
Begging and pleading
For what I want.

It’s not that my desires are wrong,
It’s just that they rivet my focus
And overwhelm my heart.
Ironic, because prayer, for so many,
Is a path to peace.

And yet the instructions for prayer:
Ask, seek, knock,
Seem to confirm that focus.
Perhaps, I can find a bit of wisdom, there:
The way out is through.

I must bring myself to prayer
And all my baggage comes with me.
Until I speak my troubles,
I can think of nothing else.
And, besides, a friend will listen to prattle.

And so I come with all my messy pleas,
And sit down beside you,
And pour them out.
And you, my Holy Friend,
You listen.

That is a start.

[photo by Joe Benjamin per cc 2.0]

Follow the Song

through the plainI wake on the plain, beside the angel. The fire has died into ash-covered embers and the night sky has begun to fade to morning. The angel is sitting, back to the fire, looking out into the plain. He is robed already and has his staff in his hand. He looks at me and smiles. We gather our supplies, cover the fire, and begin the day’s journey.

It is a pleasant walk at first. He is humming softly to himself and the air is almost sweet with the fragrance of the wet grass. My feet are damp with dew. I shift the pack upon my back, balancing it on my hips, letting the shoulder straps lie slack.

The pack creaks softly as I walk. The weight of the backpack is so much easier to carry when it fits well.

On we walk, step, step, step, forward on the faintly visible path. If the angel were not guiding me, I would not really be able to tell the path from the ruts of dried streams and the passageways of animals who cross the plain in their daily search for food. My own path is hard to discern among the others. But the angel is confident and strides forward in even, unhurried, but determined steps.

“How do you know the way'” I ask, “since all these patches of earth look the same?”

He pauses on the trail and looks down. “The ground does look the same,” he observes. “That is not where the path is marked. It is written in my heart. I follow his call and not a path. Do you not hear it?”

I strain my ears, but I am not aware of any call, of any sound to guide my steps. I shake my head, a bit chagrined. It’s obvious that I am a novice here.

“Then I will teach you to listen,” the angel replies. He begins to hum. “This melody has been sung throughout the ages in response to the majesty of God. It springs forth when his presence is seen. Its tune, its cadence, its underlying essence is the pattern for your call. Learn the song. Sing it to yourself.”

“The song is my call?” I ask. “The same song of the ages, the same call?”

“No,” the angel replies, “the song only reveals the pattern in which your call will come and acquaints you with the essence it will bring. You learn from the song to recognize your own call when it comes. The song trains your inner ear to hear the call of God.”

“When will he call?” I ask.

“He calls you now.”

I feel desperate. “But I cannot yet hear it.”

“He knows and he will call until you hear. Be patient. Trust him to teach. As long as your heart is directed toward him, you cannot fail, for he is your partner in your journey. And he never fails. He is still creating you, with your cooperation. He tunes your ears, your heart, to hear the melody, to play the melody. Then you will find your purpose, and others will use your melody to find their own.   As long as you desire to follow, he is patient to lead. You demonstrate your desire; indeed, you fulfill your desire by singing the song that tunes your ears to his call.

When you have learned to recognize it, you will hear and know.”

“Teach me the ancient song.”

“Listen.” The angel begins to hum an ancient and intricate melody, a rich history of faith played out in notes of strength and assurance upon the air. There is an essence in the song that speaks to my ears. I strain to hear and learn. The angel smiles and we begin to walk again. He is humming, and I, once in a while, can anticipate a note and join the song.

Don’t look to the earth to find your path. It is not there. It is being called forth within you by the partnership between his creative hand and your willing spirit. It fits you well. Rejoice in the process and in the promise of its completion.

1/11/95

[the photo is my own]

Not. Perfect.

learning to walk

So, here’s a surprise for you:
I’m not perfect.
Never have been.

In fact, perfect isn’t so good,
‘Cause you’d have to stop right there.
Any move from perfect goes away from it.

And perfect –
Doesn’t have many friends.
Too insufferable; too lonely.

What I am; what you are
Is unfolding; growing; transforming,
All of which embrace imperfection at their start.

Like a little one,
Learning to crawl; learning to stand;
It can be a lovely, messy process.

What it requires is a loving environment.
Where each new step is cherished
And loving arms reach out to hold you through it all.

I am grateful to have such arms around me.
We fall together; we help each other up; we laugh.
Perfect! (not.)

[photo by wrk per cc 2.0]