beloved

 

A sincere thank you –
One more slender thread
Holding me to you
Acknowledging the way our hearts
Are created within our mutual embrace.

I am grateful for your presence in my life.
I am grateful for the way you anchor my hope.
I am grateful for your breath upon my cheek
And your whisper in my soul.
Your love holds me together.

Thank you.

[photo by judy_and_ed per cc 2.0 via flikr]

Learning to walk

learning to walk

How long, oh Lord?
How long will it take
For us to show your mercy,
For us to live into your grace?

Like a Mother,
Bending over her young child,
You wait for our first stumbling steps
Toward justice.

You wait for us to wake
With the compassion
You have placed within our hearts.
You wait with eager longing.

It seems you cannot compel our hearts
Without negating who we are.
We must learn to hear your call
And move ourselves toward you.

And yet, our eyes are turned away
From your dear face.
We let ourselves be filled with fear
And the anger that it breeds.

Our leaders curse and blame and fume.
We follow their example,
Letting their anger spark our own.
We yield to fear over faith.

Its hard to take that step
When we listen to the torrent of words
That flow from angry mouths
Feeding that anger and fear.

But deep within my heart,
When I am still, when I am quiet,
I think I hear you whisper,
‘One step, my child, one step.’

‘You learn to walk
By looking at my face
Not at your feet,
Nor at your fear.’

‘You learn by reaching for my hands.
You learn to walk by falling.
And by getting up.
And taking one more step.’

Help me to learn to walk toward justice.

Amen.

[photo by Eliya per cc 2.0]

[I need to acknowledge that my white privilege stains my words and shields me from much of the risk of striving for justice.  Yet the guilt and shame and fear that are my first reactions to the dawning realization of my complicity are not the motivations that will best help to change my heart or my actions. Such emotions keep the focus on me. Instead, I need to keep my eyes and my heart focused on Christ, who shows himself in the oppressed and marginalized people around me.]

your story

prayer.jpg

Oh Holy One,
I turn my heart to you.
I tune my ears,
Seeking the frequency of your heart.
I close my eyes,
So I might see beyond distractions.

This moment of turning
Turns the world.
Until, at last, I glimpse a different story.
It is a story more true than
The one that shouts to me from the TV,
Working to stir my fears.

Your whispered presence
Tells a deeper story.
Not about distance,
Not about disease,
Not about death.

Your story holds a secret melody
That sings of hope,
Of healing, and of resurrection.
You placed yourself within the struggle
To bear, with us, its pain and loss
And walk us through to promise.

Slowly I begin to understand.
Stories are life incarnate:
Life held at a distance,
So that I might better see.

The stories I listen to,
The stories I tell,
Shape me.

So, help me hear your story
The one you speak within my heart
The one that holds the world with love
The one that makes me one with you.

Oh Holy One,
Help me to pray.
Help me to hear your voice amid the storm.
Help me to walk with confidence upon the waves,
Looking only on your face.

Teach me, again, your story.

 

[photo by Via Tsuji per cc 2.0]

I need a different story

 

held .jpg

You would think all this time at home
Would bring a stillness,
An opportunity to breathe,
A chance to sit and think.

But, as I am now aware,
That takes a disciplined intentionality.
The rat-a-tat-tat of news coverage
Pounds at my soul.

I am not automatically quiet,
Even at times like these.
I must decide to turn my mind, my heart,
Away from insistent distraction.

Yet (take a deep breath)
You are here. Even here.
Your touch can spread peace, rather than fear.
There is no quarantine that can keep you away.

And so, I close my eyes.
I lean my head back, ever so slightly.
I imagine your arms around me.
I can feel your love anoint my soul.

And in your embrace,
I let my prayer become an ointment for the earth.
I see, in my mind’s eye, your hovering hope.
I relax my grip upon control and give it all to you.

The trial of this time,
The real suffering that ensues,
The anger and accusation that rise too easily,
Are not the only story.

You tell a different story,
One that even death cannot destroy.
And somehow I will let myself believe that your story
Is the one that will prove true.

[photo by Roger Ahlbrand per cc 2.0]

let them come

 

dimpled hand.jpg

Let them come to me, the little ones,
Who dare to see the world as wonderful,
Who dare to smile and giggle,
To reach out, to pull the world close;
To taste and touch and wonder.

They take the path with eagerness,
To find the open world – a gift.
They know the secrets of the morning
That have yet to be obscured by
Independence and responsibility.

Would that they would grow into their gifts
And yet maintain the strength of wonder;
Ready to enter the give and take of life,
Trusting in the web of love to hold them
Adding their own strands with dimpled hands.

Would that I could follow their example,
And trust enough to let my first impulse
Be a smile and an embrace.
Would that I could just believe enough
To let you love me; to love you in return.

Perhaps that is the narrow gate.
Only the true self can fit through.
There is no room for all the trappings I employ
To conjure love; to keep the world at bay.
It is in dropping those aside, that I may enter.

[photo by operabug per cc 2.0]

a bit of praise

moon behind a treeI give you praise today
For what you have done,
For what you will do
Indeed, for what you are doing.

I give you laughing, joyful, giddy praise.
I give you a deep and grateful sigh.
I give you a tear of relief.

For your life within me is life
And my life within you is grace.

The hope I hold tentatively, hopefully
In the deepest corners of my heart
You hold with me, as you fill even those dark corners
With an assurance that moves from hope to promise.

It is that deep assurance
That gives me strength to move
Out of my corners and into this day.

When I fall down, when I get up,
You are there.

the life of a leaf

fall leaves in MaineGreen leaves spend their whole lives
Nurturing the tree they call home
And sending vital oxygen into the world.
In the fall, when they retire,
They turn their souls to beauty –
Revealing gifts of color that had been hidden
Under the hard-working chlorophyl.

There is beauty in the bud.
There is beauty in the green.
There is beauty in the orange and yellow that follows.

I am rejoicing in each new turn of beauty,
In the leaves, in my friends, in myself.

[photo is my own]

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]

Fierce beauty

two friends embraceThere is a beauty so fierce
That it cannot be hidden.
Neither wrinkles nor scars
Can mask its magnificence.

It flashes out from eyes alive with joy
And exudes peace even as it struggles.
For there are those who are anointed
With the touch of the divine.

That touch, in turn,
Flows from their fingers
And whispers from their lips
Dusting the world around them with grace.

This is a beauty that expands with time.
Familiarity breeds … amazement,
For its kindness is ever deeper, ever true.
Its very constancy adds to its glow.

The glory of a sunrise,
Even on the highest summit
Cannot match the beauty
Of a fiercely loving friend.

[photo by Mike per cc 2.0]