Manna in the Morning

vanilla wafersI can’t seem to keep my mind from wandering without my fingers on the keys. Something about watching the letters fall upon the page helps me focus. Somehow watching what has just happened lets me see a tiny bit into the future – thinking my way to the next word as the last one falls into black and white.

So I put myself in that space – in that little place of ‘nexting’ – letting it open up a focused opportunity for encounter. I am hoping for Your interference. Will You come? Are You there?

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ancient gears in a machineI am on a catwalk that rings what looks like an operating theater – tall windows to my right, dark shadows to my left. I turn and place my hands upon the rail beneath the windows and look down onto a room that is inhabited by a great machine, all levers and valves and gears and boxes that hide deeper mechanisms, chugging away together, burping steam and dripping oil.

As I look I see myself. I am connected to this machine on what looks like an exercise bike. My hands are tied to the handles, my feet are tied to the pedals and strapped to my head is a device that holds a small screen in front of my eyes. On that screen plays a message that tells me what I must do, how I must perform, what is true and important and worthy. Continue reading

Expecting Something Good

smiley face on a window

Sometimes – ok, often – grace appears to me in a conversation with a friend.

It happened again a few months ago, when a friend told me of her daily disciplines – nine specific intentions she uses to frame and shape her day.

The wonder of the conversation is that, as she walked me through each one, I recognized each discipline as part of her fingerprint upon my life. I have been the happy recipient of her faithful habits, of her intentional cultivation of grace within herself.

So, I thought I might try them on, myself.

Knowing how many times I’ve made resolutions and knowing how few of them I’ve kept, I decided to practice my way in, keeping one until it becomes familiar, before I add another. The first of her nine is to start each day with the expectation that something good will happen – and then to actively look for it.

So, this morning started off right, hands in the dirt of the garden, and looking up to see a fresh stalk of asparagus, pushing up to greet the sun. It tasted really sweet.

[photo is my own]

The Great God of Should

 idolI can hardly sit still. My spirit is jittery, anxious, chattering away with irrelevant noise. I am afraid of not being able to do what I have committed myself to do: too much work, too many projects, too much responsibility, too many obligations.

I shudder before the altar to Should. Great God Should, my master, my hard taskmaster. High and lofty Should – you are an altar made of my own fashioning, covered with my dreams, like sheets of pounded gold – strong, overbearing, threatening my doom. My own hands have made you, but I cannot find a way to take you down. Continue reading

Quiet Time

lake with rain

Spending a week backpacking in the mountains of Colorado with four good friends is an exercise in being present: captivated by beauty, disciplined by the power of the mountain, focused on each step along the path. The rain and hail sent us into our tents for three hours one day and four the next.

Rain was my Yogi, saying, “Sit, wait, be. There is no next. There is only now. Be. Now.” Continue reading