Yoda’s mentor

Yoda

When I read these words of St John of the Cross I figured I’d met Yoda’s mentor.

To come to the pleasure you have not,
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not,
you must go by the way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not,
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not,
you must go by a way in which you are not.

As Yoda would say, “Understand or understand not – there is no try.”

[image cropped from photo by Michael Li per cc 2.0]

lumpy love

lumpy loveThe whole of our love for each other is lumpy
Because love is specific
And because we are all lumpy.

It is easy to say you love the whole world.
It is harder to love an individual.
Sometimes their warts get in the way.
Sometimes yours are the problem.

We all hold within us insight and befuddlement.
We hold the whole mix of emotions
And motivations
And misconceptions.
We are both right and wrong
Good and bad.

When we love those whose
Confusions align with our own
Is that love or simple resonance?

Perhaps it is love with training wheels.

Mature love can be bigger,
More encompassing.
It begins to mimic the love of God,
Who sends rain on the just and the unjust.

Let us all raise our faces to that rain
And drink in the moisture
That lets us truly flourish.

We’ve had enough of dry times.
Let it rain.

 

[photo by Becka Spence per cc 2.0]

In the meantime

Quote

ominous times

“Meantime … that’s when the mean men come.”
– my own definition, circa age 5

Seems we are living in the meantime.
Seems the mean men have come.
When a mother dies, trying to shield her children from gunfire,
And the children are killed, too.
It is the meantime.

When the mean men come to power
And bend that power to their own advantage
Leaving behind the families who struggle to make ends meet
And then claim they are serving the nation
It is the meantime.

When the mean men use their power
To abuse and then silence the women around them
Who take their dignity and threaten their life and livelihood, too
Sometimes taking that, as well,
It is the meantime.

When the mean men point their fingers and shout
Trying to distract us all from their abuses
Blaming anyone who looks different or seems powerless
For the outcomes their own system perpetuates
It is the meantime.

When the mean men are ready to do whatever it takes
To preserve their positions of privilege – of wealth and of power
Building walls and buying guns, hoping to keep themselves secure
Not understanding that the imbalance and separation is their greatest risk
It is the meantime.

When white men and women (like myself)
Wear privilege like underarmour
So tight that it seems to us like our ‘natural’ skin
We think it hides our flaws beneath its smooth whiteness
It is the meantime.

I am complicit in the coming of the meantime.
The mean men don’t have to be men (though they often are)
They don’t have to be white (though it makes it more likely)
We just have to be small, stingy, self-absorbed –
Another definition of mean.

Can I also be complicit in changing the times?
Oh, I do hope so.
And the first step must be outside my own walls.
It is time to leave the meantime behind
But how?

It cannot be done through power and privilege
All my usual tools do not avail
I will not figure it out on my own
My head is too small and my eyes too blind
Will you take my hand and help me not be mean?

[photo by Oiluj Samall Zeid per cc 2.0]

true or false


Wise ones tell me that there is a true me and a false me.
The true me is the one formed in the image of God
And gifted is particular ways
To reflect that image.

The false me is the one that I think the world wants to see.
It is the one I want to see,
So that I can feel that I am ‘worthy.’

The same is pattern seems to be true in collections of people.
There is a true family and a false family.
There is a true church and a false church.
There is a true society and a false society.

The whitewash is not working.
Our efforts to be ‘right’
Are, so often, so wrong.

So, how do we learn
To step aside
From the false companion?

Paul’s solution?
Step away from the question of worthiness.
Put down the chore of living up to the law
And accept that you are already accepted.

When I was a kid, I thought of this as ‘do-overs.’
But that just set me up for another round.
When will I learn?
It’s not do-overs.
It’s done.

[photo by Mirjana Veljovic per cc 2.0]

why should I be surprised

autumn leavesWhy should I be surprised that I cannot understand true mystery?

True mystery is not something that can be solved.
It cannot simply be puzzled out and then set aside.
Instead, it burrows deep, pulling me with it,
Until, amazed, I find myself somehow at peace with what I cannot know.

I cannot know – yet I am known.
I cannot grasp – yet I am held.
I cannot find my way – yet, in that way, I am found.

It is, indeed, a mystery.
Unfathomable.
Surprising.
Mysterious.

Imagine that!

[photo by Andrew Birch per cc 2.0]

down is up

via dolorosaThe way down is the way up. – Richard Rohr

I don’t want to follow you on the way down.
I don’t want illness, weakness, failure, or sadness.
And I don’t think that you want me to want such things …
The goal for my soul is not mortification, any more than it is glorification.

The goal is you.

The trick seems to be that the elements of pleasure –
Fullness, satisfaction, acclaim, power, capacity –
Feel so good, that they quickly divert my desire.
‘The pursuit of happiness,’ is a siren song.
It is like sugar for my soul – empty calories that leave me wanting more.

On the other hand, loss is not a distraction for my desire.
Instead, the experience of loss drives me closer to you.
It is at those moments when my soul desperately cries out for you.
So, I must admit that there may be something to Rohr’s contention
That the way up is down.

The Via Dolorosa, the path of sorrows, is not to be sought,
But neither is it to be avoided at all costs,
Especially since even ‘all costs’ will not keep it away.
Even Jesus did not choose suffering
What he chose was to give himself to God.

[photo by Racineur per cc 2.0]

You think you are better than me

tension

You think you are better than me.
Of course, you are not.
But that does not make me better than you, either.

We are one.

Ugh!
That must make you uncomfortable.
It certainly makes me squirm.

Amazingly, that oneness doesn’t make us the same, either.
The mystery is that we are both uniquely a part
Of the universal One.

Like the left hand and the right,
Like the ear and the eye,
Our difference is a gift to the whole.

Indeed, it is that difference that makes it whole.

Until I put away my need to be complete on my own,
I will always be incomplete.
(Why is that always such a surprise?)

[image modified from a photo by Luc Blain per cc 2.0]
[I send apologies to my English teacher friends, lest you think you are better than I (am). Of course, as friends, you would never think that. I just needed to follow the voice of the small child who still runs around on the playground in my head.]