defiant joy

irrepressible.jpg

Is it possible
To hold within your heart
A nugget of defiant joy?

It is.

To deeply know
God’s deepest love
For all the deepest parts of you.

To hold to love
Despite the angry shouts
And sadly shaking heads.

To welcome God’s love
So fully, so truly
That it spills out to others.

Even – though they cannot see it,
And don’t know how to receive it,
To those with sadly shaking heads.

That is the miracle of grace.
That we can offer love to one
Who cannot love us in return.

Father, forgive them,
For they do not know
What they are doing.

Let me be a conduit of grace
Let it flow to me and through me
To all creation.

It is. (amazing) It is.

[photo by Michelle Robinson per cc 2.0]

words

words.jpg

sometimes, words won’t do
they are just too tiny
just too constrained
inadequate

but the absence of words
can leave an awkward emptiness
a sense of isolation
separation

so let us build
a tiny bridge,
a fragile conduit
with our words

let us reach
with faltering hands
to touch the cheek of hope –
the hope that we all share

the hope that we might be
both truly ourselves
and truly one
with all that is

such is the gift of God
selfhood and community
a mystery to be honored
with our tiny, hopeful words

[photo by Jennifer Fred Merchán per cc 2.0]

kludge

 

kludge.jpg

When I encounter a problem, a conundrum, a quandary,
I want to fix it, as quickly as possible.
I work with what I know, and who I am, and what I have
To find a way around or through.

And that, sometimes, creates a bigger problem

My preconceptions get in the way.
If I could back off far enough, or shed my frame,
The problem might just be transformed.

Instead I build a kludge,
A work-around of convoluted wires and patches.
I solve one problem and create another.

Too often, it seems my theology is a mass of kludges –
My own and those of others.

The longer I stay in my head,
Requiring explanation or understanding,
The longer I delay delight.
For somewhere beyond what I can grasp,
You wait to gather me in.

I am bound by my own befuddlement.
But even in that moment,
You find a way to set me free.
Slowly, I am learning to release my questions
And, instead, be held by wonder.

 

[photo by Marco Assini per cc 2.0]

two different strategies for safety

a doorway through the wall.jpg

It may seem like the best way to stay safe
is to build a wall around ourselves,
keeping out all that looks unfamiliar.
That makes for a lonely and limited existence.

A better strategy may be
to build a strong and inclusive community,
where we can look out for one another
and learn from one another.

But, you must know that
neither strategy will shelter you from all harm.
Pain, suffering and death come to us all,
It’s just that they are harder to bear alone.

[photo by Tiziana Peressutti per cc 2.0]

God, herself

When you remember
That whatever you do to others
You do to God, herself,
You see an even deeper reality to
“MeToo.”

Refusing to listen to words of truth
Is a refusal to listen to God
And a denial of the very heart of the relationship
That holds the world together.

Nevertheless, She persisted.

[photo by John Mavroudis from the cover of Time Magazine, 10/18]
[My gratitude to joekay617 for this reminder]

sorry

a tearful eyeSometimes I get frustrated
With how little my actions really do for good.
And then, when I screw up,
I’m grateful that I’m not so powerful.

I want ‘what I deserve’
Until I don’t.
It’s hard to step outside the mindset
Of quid pro quo and reciprocity.

I’ve been so thoroughly trained
In the framework of good versus bad
And the myth of my own superiority
Where my ‘goodness’ sets me apart.

Forgive me, oh Holy One.
Teach me, instead, to be a grateful, gracious part.
Help me not forget to live your love.
Mend my brokenness and the brokenness I cause.

Please.

Teach me how to live, even as I falter and fall.
Help me to accept and to pass on your forgiveness.
Help me to live in this world of scarred beauty
And give you room to make the scars sacred.

I release my mess to you.
It’s all that I can do.

Amen.

[photo by Elba Fernández per cc 2.0]

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]