stories

imagine.jpg

Stories touch the truth so much more deeply and fully than facts. We think that we can grasp facts – hold them and turn them in our hands; use them as our tools.

Stories hold us. We know their touch. They resonate in our souls. But we do not control them. They are beacons and they shine forth from a source that is beyond us, though it includes us. We participate, we shape our own role to some extent, but the story is beyond the tiny corners of our possession.

[photo by Thomas Hawk per cc 2.0 on Flickr]

 

Vicarious Connection

connecting.jpg

Sometimes, you can almost see light,
You know what I mean?

Most of the time, you don’t see light,
You just see what light reveals.

But sometimes … light, real light, shines forth.
Sometimes you can see what cannot be seen.

And sometimes, it happens through another’s eyes.
You notice that they notice … and there it is.

And your heart leaps,
Any your jaw drops,
And you know, deeply know,
That LIFE is real.

Even a stone has that kind of life.
Even the busiest little girl can touch its edges.
Even your own heart can melt with it.

LIFE is just that strong,
That patient.
That true.

(Holy wow!)

[image by Susan Murtaugh per cc 2.0]

[Thanks to Richard Rohr for the realization that ‘light is not so much what you directly see as that by which you see everything else.’ (The Universal Christ (p. 14). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

dust

dusty hands 2.jpg

Imagine, for a moment, if you will,
That your hands are dusted with grace;
So that everything you touch today
Receives a secret blessing.

Imagine the delicate shawl you spread
Across the shoulders of a friend
When you embrace in greeting.
Secretly, you fortify them for their day.

Imagine, when you gently touch the face
Of the child that comes to you for comfort,
That the care you show is a deeper balm
Than the band-aid you place upon her knee.

Imagine that the flowers in your garden
Receive an extra dose of light
Because you touch them
And admire their delicate beauty.

Imagine, when you touch a doorknob,
That a dusting of grace remains,
So that all who enter or exit there,
Find grace upon their hands, as well.

Imagine that you are given,
Just for this one day,
The chance to grace each encounter,
Bringing just a bit more life to life.

Imagine that this might just be true.
Smile at the grace you are given.
Smile at the blessing you can pass along.
Smile at the gritty, ubiquitous tenacity of grace.

[image modified from photo posted to Flickr by Matt Anderson per cc 2.0]

God our Mother

In celebration of Mother’s Day this last Sunday, please listen to the poem, ‘God our Mother’ by Allison Woodward – at this link. It starts just after the 12:00 mark. The written version can be found here.

mother 2.jpg

It’s true, you know.
(You do know it, deep down, don’t you?)
Your first sense of a loving presence
Came before you had any words to frame the gift.
You were knit together in a womb of love,
Fully nurtured by another’s very life.

You were called to life by life,
To love by love,
Which are our best and first response.
So, even deeper than the sense of God as male,
Is the sense of love as female.
And God, you know, is love.

It is not sacrilege.
It is the true echo of God’s imprint on us all.
We are made male and female in their image.
Each of us hold that double imprint
Both masculine and feminine,
Full autonomy, fully given for another.

And so we hold the imprint of divine connection,
That gift expressed in our own gift of self,
The ever-whirling dance of all that is.
Each of us is a unique expression of God’s love,
The chance to give what no one else can give,
Ourselves.

 

[image modified from photo by Irina (Patrascu) Gheorghita per cc 2.0]

better

vining .jpg

The green of the leaf,
The heat of the sun,
The laughter that bubbles up
When good friends meet
After a long absence,

The sweet satisfaction
In a sip of cool water,
The uncomplicated giggle
Of a small, dear child,
These are evidence of you.

These are embodiment of you.
These are where, again, you create life.

Theology is good.
The pulse of life is better.
I rejoice in them both.

[photo by Mary Beth Griffo Rigby per cc by nc nd 2.0]

empty

empty.jpg

In those quiet moments
When I let myself be still,
When I release the ‘shoulds’ of my life,
When I let them drift from my hands like so many autumn leaves,
When I drop the other defenses and distractions,
When I risk acknowledging the naked me,
And I stand without excuse before the vastness of it all,

In those moments,
When it seems I will melt away to nothingness,
To uselessness,
To emptiness,
To loneliness,
And become a vacant husk,

In those moments,
If I do not turn from this discipline
To grasp at any cover or shield,
I find, to my surprise,
You have not turned away.

That was, of course, my greatest fear –
That you could not love the naked me.
And that fear,
As you predicted,
Has been cast out by love.

It is hard for you to fill that which is already full.
When I let the clutter of my life fill up my days
It is hard for you to find a place to enter.
Yet, still, you do.
No space is too small for you.

And that is,
Indeed,
A great comfort,
When my heart has grown small.

Help me clear the clutter a bit today,
So you can enter a bit more fully,
So I can notice, when you do.
That you do.

And we can smile, together.

 

[photo by Fabio Sola Penna per cc 2.0]

scapegoat

scapegoat.jpg

We have sent the scapegoat into the desert.
It fled from our abuse.
We thought we had rid ourselves of the unholy.
But the abuse, itself, left its stain upon our hands.
The rejection of the other is, itself, the unholy.

The temporary expulsion of what we abhor
Only, finally, reveals that it has made its home within us.
When we are the source of what we hate,
No sending away, no huddling in isolation, will suffice.
There really is no fragmented purity.

Besides, the search for purity is only one path, and not the destination.
It starts with a sincere effort to focus on the good, the true.
But, that focus simply works to keep us yearning for the more,
Until we discover a deep and wonderful surprise.
Until we find that the whole is the Holy.

The Holy, far more powerful that purity, itself,
Can encompass all of who we are.
The mess, the muddle … and the yearning for more
Are all woven into the tapestry of love.
All we offer to the whole can be redeemed.

Only that which we hide,
Only that which we banish,
Only that which we deny,
Only that fragmentation of our perception,
Delays our embrace of your embrace.

But when we, at last, melt into your grace,
And leave the purification process to you,
And leave the labels and the othering behind,
And let you heal the fragmentation of our common soul,
Only then do we find the Holy wholeness that is you.

[photo by Carl per cc 2.0]