Like a Child

blowing a bubble

To enter the kingdom of heaven, turn and become like a child. (see Matthew 18: 2-4)

This morning, I am a child.

I see the world with child’s eyes.
I hear the rumble of thunder
And remember being snuggled in my mother’s lap
Looking out the big windows of my childhood home
Counting the seconds between flash and sound.

When the skies clear a bit,
I run outside to play in the mud
Fascinated that a little moisture can turn dirt
Into something to be molded and shaped
Making ant highways with a twig.

And when one of those ants stings my finger
I run back in to find my comfort in a hug.
A kiss and a smile are deep medicine for my soul.
This anchoring process – going out and coming back
Stitches my days with love and adventure.

She blows the hair back from my face
And gives me bubble-soap and a wand.
I run out again to fill my world
With tiny orbs of dancing, translucent color,
My breath within them carried high.

This is, indeed, the kingdom of heaven.
Held in comfort, sent in wonder,
Coming and going, both anchored in love.
Feeling God’s breath upon my face
Breathing it back into the world.

I am grateful this morning
For a moment of childlike grace.
For the whisper of your consolation
For your gifts of beauty
For the burst of life within my soul.

[photo by Stuart per cc 2.0]

still

wrapped in a blanketI finger the edges of my soul
looking for the imprint of your presence.
The veil hangs straight and still
no ripple of movement
and yet – peace.
Somehow I know that you are here.
Still. Still. Still.

Stay with me, still
And still my heart
So that even passing evidence
Lingers at the tip of my awareness
Just beyond knowing
But not beyond faith.

You love me, still.
Still, I love you.
I rest, with the fullness of that peace
Folded round my shoulders
Swaddling my heart
In you.

 

[image modified from a photo by MIKI Yoshihito per cc 2.0]

Hope Stew

image of blessing baby

Simeon … was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him – Luke 2:25

Hope Stew –

  • Take 4 parts of deep devotion
  • Pour it into a base of quiet, faithful prayer
  • Stir in a heart that eagerly listens for the smallest urging
  • And, when the moment is right, add the confirmation of the spirit.

Yield –

  • A patient impatience that will sustain
  • A clear confirmation of God’s presence, revealed in the sleeping form of
    an infant resting in the arms of his mother;
    an infant whose father hovers close by
    an infant whose very presence brings the promise and gift of peace.

Me … I read the newspapers and let their false prophecies invade my soul with despair. Too easily I abandon the hope that it would take to recognize the spirit’s work and hear the whisper of promise. Without hope, my hands lie fallow, my heart sinks low.

It is my own recipe for inaction.

Forgive me, Holy One.
Wake my soul.
Bring your peace – to me and to the world.
May we trust your prophecies, rather than all the voices of manipulative fear.
Let us not lose hope.

[photo edited from ‘Grandma’s Touch‘ by Kolby per cc 2.0]
[This meditation was sparked in response to ‘Day 2’ in Forty Days with the Holy Spirit: Fresh Air for Every Day by Jack Levison.]

See also: Anna’s Blessing

God’s little finger

Yours are the hands through which [Christ] blesses all the world. – Theresa of Avila

muddy handprintsSo, even if I am but God’s little finger
Or the fingernail upon that little finger
There is an itch in the world that I can scratch.

When we are elbow-deep in muck
And there is that itch on the tip of our noses
A scratch can be a welcome blessing.

[image cropped from photo by sugarfrizz per cc 2.0]

Which Will You Hold?

hand of comfort (1)In the cottage, I am sitting on the edge of the bed, one sock on, one sock off, halfway through getting dressed, caught mid-thought, mid-action, in suspended animation. Seems I am always getting ready and never really getting things done – never there, always on the way.

“That’s what life is – the way.” The voice comes from a traveler, seated at my table. Brown woolen robe, gnarled staff, rope belt, craggy face and hands; this one has been on the way for quite a while.

I drop the second sock beside the bed and move to sit beside him at the table. “Give me your wisdom, traveler,” I ask. “Help me to know the next step. Help me to not be so afraid of what might come. Help me to not be so distracted in my journey.”

He places his large hands over mine, so that I must, for just a moment hold them still, I must stop drumming my fingers, must stop picking at the table. He just covers my hands with his warmth and waits. A long silence, at first comforting and then a bit awkward, ensues. Finally I pull my hands out from under his and rub them together. “Shouldn’t we be going?” I ask.

The traveler smiles, “Going where?”

“On down the road, on with our projects, with our duties, for the day,” I reply. “Can’t wait forever, you know and I’m rather far behind already.”

“Behind what?”

“Behind in my schedule… the things I must get done… I am behind.”

“But where are you going?” He asks again. He has made no move to get up, to begin the day. His whole frame seems immobile. Not dead, not resistant, but not filled with the urgency that I feel in me. “Where are you going?” He asks me one more time.

I look at him with a question in my eyes. “I’m not sure… But don’t you think that we should get started?”

“Not till we know where to go,” he is almost laughing at me. He shakes his head.

I can see how silly this looks, but even so, I am getting farther behind, and if I don’t know the end, I do have a list a mile long that is supposed to be done by now. Surely we can start there and sort it out as we go along. “Must we wait longer?” I plead. “I am late already on so many chores.”

“How do you know you are late?”

“My schedule was set out long ago and I am behind. My energy is running out before my task is done, my time is moving forward and the projects are not moving nearly so fast. How could I not be behind?”

“Depends on the clock you use. Depends on whose calendar is there in front of you.”

“Don’t you understand? I have screwed up. My list is long and getting longer. I am behind, I am lost, I am desperate…”

He puts his large hands back on top of mine once more. He has to hold them down firmly.   I fidget still. At last he picks up my hands in his and pulls them towards him and looks me directly in the eyes.

“My time, not yours. Live in my time.” He is very serious. His playfulness has passed and this is a solid, unshakable command.

My eyes fill with tears. “I wish I could,” I stutter.

He jerks my hands. “Don’t wish. Don’t put me off. You must follow my time. There is no other way.”

“But how?” I whimper.

“Stop crumbling.” He scolds. “Defeat is in your hands, but so is victory. Why do you pick defeat?”

“I see no other choice. How do I grasp victory?”

He turns my hands over and so that they point to the ceiling and form a small cup. “You don’t grasp victory. You receive it.”

My heart starts to argue, but its words go unformed. A pure clear light shines down from the ceiling of the cabin and lands squarely within my cupped hands. I can almost see images being formed within its glow, but cannot quite make out what they are. Then, as if the light is also water, it fills my hands to overflowing. It puddles on the table and begins to run along its surface like a small stream.

Then, just as quickly, the scene is transformed. I am beside the stream, beside a basin like cupped hands and he, the traveler, is beside me. A small raft is moored on the edge of the basin beside us, and the stream has grown now to a river, the basin to a pool. We step aboard the raft and he pushes us out into the middle of the river with his staff.

“Don’t give up yet.” He whispers, “Ride with me.”

“Ok.” That is all I know to say.

He grasps my hand. “Ok, then.”

We ride the stream together.

1/31/97

[image modified from photo by Bob Travis per cc 2.0]

 

Thanks for intentional mothering

mother's hug

Your lullaby is the secret melody of my soul
Singing me through the night
And into the arms of God.

Your whispered prayers,
The ladders to heaven
Where angels come close enough to touch.

Your eyes,
A mirror of my very self
Framed in love – reflecting only beauty.

Your arms,
A ready haven, melting hurt
Into a puddle of love.

For these gifts of intentional mothering,
I am so very grateful –
They gird my soul with grace.

[image cropped from photo by Maria Grazia Montagnari per cc 2.0]