too patient

patient as a sunsetSometimes
I think that the Holy One
Is way too patient:

Too willing to let the world
Find its way;

Too tolerant of the anger and vitriol
That floods the hearts of those
Who cannot find the universal love
That is right there with them, ready to embrace;

Too able to bear their destructive fury,
Yes, even to the point of death
(His and theirs and those they trample).

How can such infinite patience
Really be what is right?
How can the Holy One wait on us,
All the while enduring the evil we create?

So, I am often convinced that the Holy One
Is way too patient with everyone.
(Except with me, of course,
The patience toward me is just about right.)

It is as if the end is sure,
Despite the length and terror of the trail.

It is as if the moments of love that we return along the way:
The moments we see the beauty;
The moments we use our creativity to bring joy;
Are all a part of the culminating grace
That will bring us home, at last.

It is as if the Holy One
Has enough patience
And enough love
To bring us all
Every one
Through the fray
And into the deepest heart
Of eternal love.

It is as if
No price were too high
To bring us all
Home.

 

[photo by Marlon Malabanan per cc 2.0]

a good day

blissful dance

A good day
Is one in which you dance the dance you were born to,
And hear your own heart cheerfully applaud
Even as the world sighs with deep gratitude
And the Holy One nods and winks in your direction.

It is a gift to give your gift.

 

[photo by John Getchel per cc 2.0]

[Kudos to On Being’s newsletter – The Pause – for the reminder about what makes a good day.]

God is … ?

light through cloudsA friend recently asked, ‘Who – what – is God, anyway?’ The question rumbled around in my heart for days … and here is one response:

God is the life-force, the love-force, that (who) holds everything together and moves everything toward deeper and deeper relationship – relationship with God and, thus, each other.

Or, working backwards, as we often do, we seek deeper relationship with each other and, through that, a deeper relationship with God, herself. True relationship, true love, always points to and reflects God, for God is love. Thus, even feeble, faltering, messy attempts to love can be steps in the right direction.

We might as well ask, what is the universe? For, as we connect more and more of the dots, we find that they reflect a mysterious unity. This scattered, shattered beauty is being drawn together in love. It blossoms and grows where it can. It repairs and reconciles where that is needed. In the end, love triumphs by loving.

It seems so weak, sometimes, to wait on love, to yield to love, to refuse to use coercion, to leave yourself so vulnerable. In the end, it is the only thing strong enough to hold it all together. And, that is heaven: being held together in love – in God.

 

[photo by Tyler Nienhouse per cc 2.0]

multilingual mystery

Persian alphabet blocks

To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of  human origin; each language reflects and shapes the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or say as well in another; and the more languages you speak, the more nuanced your understanding of life becomes. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi- lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence. – Rabbi Rami Shapiro

And so, the tower of Babel is redeemed
When we build the conversation, together,
After, first, listening to the silence of true presence.

Somehow my heart knows the language
My tongue is loosed to sing
Before my mind can catch the melody.

Somehow, sometimes, if my mind will follow, rather than lead
I can wake to the deep reality
That is always, always, holding my true self.

And then the cascading voices,
The orchestra of life,
Is deep, and rich, and full.

All nature sings …
And we, as a part of the singing universe,
Find our tiny selves expanded within the One.

There are no words
And yet, I cannot keep quiet,
Not when that deep quiet within me stirs to life.

 

[photo by Dr. Bashi™ per cc 2.0]
[Again, I am grateful to Richard Rohr, for opening up my morning.]

 

looking for light

candle light

When times get crazy
And dreams falter
And shouts threaten to own all ears

When your heart cowers
And pulls you into your small corner
And your tight eyes fill with tears

That is when it is hardest
To see any light.
And when it is most important.

It is not the denial
Of this world’s selfish curl
Or that same curl within your clay

It is not the self-protective scurry
To keep yourself walled in
And resign all others to the fray

It is not whistling in the dark
That keeps you safe
Or points the way.

It is holding tight to hope
And offering kindness
As a vital part of all you do.

It is looking for the light
And discovering, to your surprise
That it shines through you.

You are God’s portal,
A conduit of grace.
You are the way that love gets through.

[photo by Images by John ‘K’ per cc 2.0]

the moonbeam’s box

holding a moonbeam
At the end of the day (or the beginning)
The heart of my faith rests in my heart.
It’s not the creeds or doctrines.
It’s not the smells and bells.
It is the hope (and sometimes realization)
Of the touch of the Holy on my soul.

That hope and promise of relationship,
My hope – our hope together –
Is what has held me firm,
Even as I question and struggle
With the forms and frames that have been dictated to me.
The path is not the destination.

“Spirituality is the moonbeam.
Religion is the box we try to catch it in.”
We need the box,
Else the real is too elusive for beginners.
And we are all beginners, to the end.
But the box is not a substitute for what gives life.

A God who loves me:
That is the source and joy of life.
An invitation to reciprocate that love,
(For love is full only when it is freely returned)
That is the mystery.
That holy circle of grace is all in all.

[The quotation about the moonbeam is from DR. KWEETHAI NEILL, PHD]
[Thanks to Timothy Luke Johnson for the insight that it is the experience of God, not correct doctrine, that is the abiding power of Christianity.]
[photo by Judy van der Velden per cc 2.0]

life peaks out

hide and seekI do so need you, Holy One.
I need to find the touchstone of my soul.
I need to know that REAL is real.
That life is more than living,
Breathing more than breath.

It is so easy to be wrapped in this fog of forgetting,
This mindless urgency of ‘should.’
Help me remember, as I enter this day,
That you are here, beside me,
Yes, even deep within.

Help me see life peaking out around that corner.
Help me hear the giggle in your call.
It is not a game of hide and seek you play,
But a game of seek and find.
Where pure delight is eager for discovery.

Help me feel your deep anticipation.
You can hold on to joy amid the noise of life.
For you, the end is sure, and soon.
Although creation rushes forth with such abundance
It somehow never leaves the heart of your embrace.

You ask me to hold faith,
Not so that I can prove myself,
But so that I can hold that joyful confidence with you.
Knowing that the eternal embrace is just a snuggling closer
Within the arms that already surround me.

[photo by Francesc González per cc 2.0]