brave hope

sunrise.jpg

Does the morning bring hope,
Or is it hope that brings the morning?

When my heart is dark,
And the world seems set upon its own destruction,
I focus my eyes on the horizon
And hope for hope to dawn.

I cannot seem to conjure hope
Any more than I can conjure the sunrise
Or the appearance of daffodils in spring
And yet – Ah! Look! – they come!

Hope and the dawn
Come, hand in hand,
Striding up the hill of morning
Throwing off the darkness with a smile.

Awake, my heart!
Wake to that cool, sweet rush of grace.
Do not resist the morning.
Do not let fear of disappointment rob this gift.

Let me greet the dawn with a brave, determined smile.
Let me gratefully receive this gift,
Rising strong – yes, strong – within me.
I will not turn aside from hope.

[photo by Dennis Yang 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 – my 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]

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]

the space between the words (2)

whispered wisdomSometimes, in reading other’s words, a phrase rings so very true that it expands my soul and feeds my journey. For me, these are among the ‘thin places’ that the Celts acknowledged – places where the space between the mundane and the holy is whisper thin.

I hope they will brush your soul with grace, and, perhaps, stir us all to action, as well.

Here’s an addition to this collection, added 1/28/19:

Matt Fitzgerald.png

“Let beauty be beauty, don’t worship it. Let your family be your family, don’t expect everything from them. Let work be work, don’t let it define you. Let our nation be our nation, not something to kill for.

Let life be what it is: a beautiful gift full of trouble, days of joy and contradiction, expiring in our hands. Life isn’t everything. We shouldn’t try to wring eternity from existence.”  – Matt Fitzgerald [as posted here]

Image of Franz Kafka

 

Art, like prayer, is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace which will transform it into a hand that bestows gifts, Franz Kafka – [as quoted here by Maria Popova – photo by per cc 2.0]

 

Hannah Bonner

 

Tears were not weakness when falling from her eyes, they were what courage looks like when it takes a minute to breathe.” [Hannah Bonner-photo and quote used with permission]

 

 

Frederick Buechner

One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.” – Frederick Buechner; photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

 

photo of Richard RohrJesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” – Richard Rohr – [Image cropped from photo by Festival of Faiths per cc 2.0]

 

 

[From time to time I will add to this collection, placing the new phrase at the top of the list.]  [photo at the top of the post by Pearl Pirie per cc 2.0]

new resolution (mid January)

new years resolution.jpg

Let me adjust my eyes this year to see with a new resolution.
Let me pull back the veil, just a bit each day
So that I might see your glory,
Tucked into each small corner of this place, of this life.

Let me see you when I look at the dawn.
Let me see you when I hold a friend close in my heart.
Let me see you in the day’s unfolding.
Yes, even in the mirror, let me see you.

Even in the mud and muck and mistakes,
Even in the maddening rush of selfish flurry
That seems to engulf us all.
Even in my blindness, teach me to see with other eyes.

And then, slowly, perhaps, you will sneak out.
You will reveal the secrets of your mystery
That all, all, all is being called home,
Drawn into the mystery that will transform life to LIFE.

 

[photo by Marwa Morgan 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]