a moment in time

a moment in time

For the gift of time,
The gift of timing
I give thanks.

 

For the moment, at least,
There is no hurry,
There is only now.

Somehow I must still my heart
To know,
To be

Somehow, I wake to you.
I feel the whisper of your embrace,
And long to know it deeply.

I come, though I know not how.
I release myself to you,
And gratefully receive you, in return.

I am a single stitch
That helps to hold creation
To the heart of Christ.

In this, in this –
I find my hope and purpose.
Somehow it makes a difference.

And I am glad.

Amen

[photo by Cara Louise Horne per cc 2.0]

leaning in

interfaith momentThe intent of my soul toward my god.
The intent of your soul toward yours,
Finds us leaning deeply upon each other.
It makes me smile.

Neither of us have a handle on the almighty,
Neither can hold the Whole within our minds or hearts,
But when the spirits’s fruits grow up between us,
I count it as a confirmation.

[photo by United States Mission Geneva per cc 2.0]

New Year’s embrace

hopeful sunrise

Come with joy into this day, into this new year.
There is much to do and much to experience.
There is a dance, already begun, reaching out its hand to you.
There is a deep smile spread across the universe,
Offering you a whisper of undeniable hope.

Open your hand.
You have closed it so tightly around nothing.
For nothing is all that you can control.
If control is what you seek, you will come up empty handed.
But if you seek joy, well, take my hand and join the dance.

The future is closed or open by your choice.
Choose life. Choose relationship. Choose me.
I am as real as you dare to believe – as real as your very breath.
I AM – and life, true life, is yours –
It is out of your grasp, but within my embrace.

[photo by Leonardo per cc 2.0]

 

thoughts on giving, thanks

coming into focusGiving thanks is part of a pervasive human activity: gift exchange.  …  So important is the pattern of give, receive, give back that some thinkers identify it as crucial for holding societies together. People who knit interconnections via gift exchanges create more stable communities than those whose only glue is external rules.

Ours is an age dominated by the contract not the gift.  Contracts are engaged only when specific mutual benefits can be identified.  Once the specified exchange is completed, the relationship ends.  The gift and gratitude context, by contrast, assumes asymmetry and continuation. – Raymond Boisvert

This brief reflection changed my (thanksgiving) day. That dance of grateful joy – giving, receiving, giving back – is a reflection of the Trinity that Richard Rohr is introducing to me. An understanding of ‘god’ as a solitary, all powerful, all complete, separate being is just not big enough to express the mystery of love. It takes the dance of Trinity to help me see. It takes the dance of relationship – of giving and receiving and giving again – the very heart of the Trinity – to help me understand.

[photo by Adam Baker per cc 2.0]

squirrel

 

squirrel in a cage
The best moments any of us have as human beings are those moments when for a little while it is possible to escape the squirrel cage of being me into the landscape of being us. – Frederick Buechner

 

I try for a moment every morning
To pry my attention away from the urgent
And focus on the eternal.

It is not easy.

Sometimes my distractions are discomfort:
A headache or a cold.
Sometimes it is the email, screaming in my inbox.

Or that damn list.

Sometimes it is just guilt:
The friend I should have called,
The closet where I’ve hidden what I should have cleaned.

They are all squirrels.

So, I try one or more of the methods I’ve been given –
I focus on my breath or close my eyes and smile
Or practice grateful reflection.

Each of those can help.

But what really makes the difference
Is when you sneak up beside me
And remind me

You are here.

That is when my soul can finally release its grasp upon the urgent
And fall into your sweet embrace.
That is the moment

I find myself, again.

[image filtered from photo by Chance Fry per cc 2.0]

a Narnia encounter (3)

along the beach[This is a continuing meditation. Part 1 is here; part 2 is here.]

I wait … and fidget … and wait some more.

Too often my mind rushes ahead of my day and I leave the real moments of my life behind. I have not learned to stay put; to live life as it comes, rather than waiting to live until my plans develop. (Which, of course, they never quite do.)

I think of the giant who brought me here as a simple soul, but he is wiser than I have realized. He seems content … or rather, he seems quite pleased … to do his part and trust that the rest will unfold as it should. That is not so easy for me.

And what is my part in this adventure? All I’ve done to this point is to ride in his pocket and sleep beside the fire. Oh, and keep the fire going in spite of fear. That, too. But what will I be asked to do from here? That is the part of the fear I have not quite vanquished.

So, I wait and I fidget.

I get up to walk along the beach, along the smooth wet edge close to the water. I watch the faint bubbles that form as my feet press the water out of the sand with each step. I breathe in deeply and smell the salt air. The smell of the salt tells me that this must be an inlet from the sea.

As I walk, I come upon a large flat rock that juts out into the water – a finger of rock that reaches out from a large rocky cliff that towers up above. I crawl out on the rocky ledge and let my feet dangle. The slap of the waves reaches to my feet with every undulation. There is a rhythm there that soothes me. I am caught and released with each pull of the waves, as if the sea, itself, might be having a wordless conversation with my soul.

Perhaps, if I can just release my urgency, I can learn to live in simple trust, like my giant friend.

My toes catch a strand of seaweed.

Suddenly the weed climbs up my leg and tugs me into the water. I try to hold on to the rock, but this all happens too fast and I am pulled down, down, into the cold. After my initial panic I notice that there is an opening under the rock I had been sitting on – an entrance to a cave that, surprisingly, is lit within. I reach down and loosen the seaweed from my leg and move forward into the cave. It isn’t long until I come out into an inner cavern, with its own beach, its own hidden cove.

I sit for just a moment on a twin rock on that shore. I look around and listen for any clues about what will happen next.

And then, beside me on the rock, there is a presence. It is a presence that I know. Not so clear, perhaps, as the voices on the wind … but very definitely there. I take in a breath, slowly, and let it out, letting my soul settle a bit into this presence.

“Hello,” I venture.

“Hello,” is the whispered reply.

“Is this the meeting I was called to?”

“It is one such meeting. There are many.”

“Ah.” I wait a bit. “It takes a lot to get my attention, doesn’t it?”

The presence smiles, though I don’t know how I know this. I have no real vision of this One. But there is a smile, and a reply, “It does take a bit, sometimes. That is the way of things. It is so easy to get lost in the rush of activity.”

“There is so much to do,” I try to explain. “There are so many people who depend upon me.”

“Ah,” again the smile. The very silence helps me see the silliness of this response.

“I don’t know quite how to do this.” I try again.

“Ah,” another silence and then the presence reaches out to my hand, which is resting upon the rock, wrapping me in a warmth that travels up my arm into my heart. “Knowing is not always necessary.”

I try to be content with this answer. I try to remember the peaceful acceptance of the giant. I try, but to no avail. I don’t know what to do with the quiet. It always seems that my mind wanders off somewhere on its own, or chatters on with anxious energy. I keep trying to pull it back to where we are.

The presence begins to sing, slowly, softly. It is as if I only hear it with my soul. Yet, its rhythms begin to smooth the wrinkles in my heart, the furrows on my brow. I lean back upon the rock and let the song sweep over me. Each measure is a pulse of steady comfort.

When I wake, later, I can tell I have been here quite a while. The presence has gone … or at least is not so palpable. I feel deeply rested – a feeling that I have not felt for a long, long time. It is as if I have put down a burden that I did not know I was carrying. I sigh. I smile. I roll over and slip back into the water and find way back to the beach of the giant’s island. I sit in the sun, feet in the sand of that beach, at peace.

Now, at last, I may be ready for the meeting the giant heard about on the wind. Ironically, I am ready, but no longer anxious, no longer feeling restless.

Because I am ready, I can wait.

[This soul story continues, here.]
[image by Susan Murtaugh per cc 2.0]

still

wrapped in a blanketI finger the edges of my soul
looking for the imprint of your presence.
The veil hangs straight and still
no ripple of movement
and yet – peace.
Somehow I know that you are here.
Still. Still. Still.

Stay with me, still
And still my heart
So that even passing evidence
Lingers at the tip of my awareness
Just beyond knowing
But not beyond faith.

You love me, still.
Still, I love you.
I rest, with the fullness of that peace
Folded round my shoulders
Swaddling my heart
In you.

 

[image modified from a photo by MIKI Yoshihito per cc 2.0]

You coming?

fresh strawI’ve got the straw ready in the manger.
I’ve mucked the stalls and moved the donkey to the back corner.
I’ve done my best to hide the mess of my life.
Why won’t you come, already?

I sit at the entrance to the stable-cave.
I look out at the night, at the stars.
I listen to the quiet of the town.
I push the noise of my own heart to the side.

And then the donkey brays.
His raucous voice invades the night.
He graces the stable with a fuming pile of crap.
Isn’t that the way it goes?

I think I’ve fixed it all, but it won’t stay fixed.
I’ve plotted and planned and futzed.
But the mess won’t go away.
Life is just that way.

And isn’t that the message of the manger?
It wasn’t pristine straw.
It wasn’t picturesque.
It was the middle of life as it happens.

Yet you came.

As a mother I should remember
That there is no control in pregnancy.
It doesn’t come when you want or wait till you are ready.
I should learn Mary’s lesson, and rejoice.

I don’t know how your gift can be accomplished.
After all, I am just me.
But I’ll trust your word and give you what I can.
And let you do the rest.

And you do.
Thank God.
You do.
Amen.

[photo by SuSanA Secretariat per cc 2.0]

All Saints

ancient hingeI stand at the top of the steps – a hundred steps, perhaps – and look out upon the morning. The sun has not yet come up, but the sky has begun to turn a lighter gray and the silhouettes of buildings and trees have sharpened, just a bit. It is quiet here, and still. No one else is stirring.

I turn and look at the large oak doors, heavy and metal-bound, that guard the entrance to the building that stands, imposing, at the top of oh, so many stairs. No one comes here, no one enters, by accident. Continue reading

rainy day

light rain on grassThe rain today is a slow drizzle
The kind that sinks gently into your soul
Filling the deep cracks that have yearned for its coming
Drawing the broken pieces whole

As I go about my day
Doing the dailyness; tidying and futzing with the debris of my week
The rain is there, in the background
Filling my holes.

What persistent grace you give
Working its way when I notice, and when I do not
Seeping down between each grain of sand
To firm it up, to allow it to hold its shape

You are the rain of my soul
The filler of my holes
The holder of my tiny fragments of self
The moisture that feeds the dry with hope

The tiny wildflowers that sprout across the pasture in delight of drizzle
Give testament to that persistent grace
And to the seeds of gifts within my frame
That you call forth within the quiet patter of an afternoon.

[photo by jenny downing per cc 2.0]