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]

the space between the words

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.

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 BonnerTears 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]

a quiet life

the shadow of a leaf

How blessed I am to live a quiet life
To feel the brush of eternity in clay
To know your smile
To seek your heart
To leave a whisper of that joy
In the ears of the world.

My call reflects both my essence and yours.
How beautiful.
How grateful.
How full of grace
That we could dance together now
And evermore.

[photo by Sam Cox per cc 2.0]

grace embodied

women in prayerWhen we think of you,
We remember how your faith unfolds into works of love;
How you persevere in hope, even when times are tough.

Your hope gives us hope;
Your joy brings us joy
Your faith inspires faith;
Your life shines life into our lives.

No wonder we give thanks to the Holy One
Whenever we remember you.
You embody the Spirit of grace
Who makes us one within the One.

No one can say, ‘Look! I made the candle burn.’
Instead what burns in you lights up another
And it goes on and on.

[a meditation on 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3]
[photo by Gregory Gill per cc 2.0]

stumbling into praise

an aspen groveI find myself in a yellow aspen grove,
Engulfed within joyful cascades of clapping leaves,
They brush my ears with sweet delight
And fill my eyes with beauty

It is a pure, deep gift of grace.
How can my heart but leap with hope?
I find the secret wonder of praise,
Released within my soul.

Somehow, I always thought that praise
Was a duly grateful, ‘thank you.’
But it is so much more.
It is a slide into pure joy,

It is a sudden recognition
Of your overwhelming goodness
Swallowing up the daily sorrow
And muddy deceits of satan’s whispers.

All that is wrong in the world
Is swallowed up in one sweet glimpse of you;
Of your power and holiness and —
Oh my, of your unbelievable love.

You direct that love outward
In a vast, creative embrace of all that is.
It shows itself in the trill of the bird.
It springs forth in song in these aspen leaves.

And, sweet wonder, you direct that love to me.
Praise sweeps humility off its feet,
As that great love enfolds me,
My small heart beating in time with yours.

 

Praise to you, Oh Holy One,
The pure delight of all the skies,
The maker of each atom and each star,
The lover of life, the author of hope.

You dance with all of creation,
Having made her for yourself.
Praise to you for such a dance.
And for my place within it.

Praise for what is
For what is promised.
Praise to you for solid hope.
The recreation has begun.

All praise.

another aspen grove

[1st photo by Dennis Grice per cc 2.0]
[2nd photo by Mitch Barrie per cc 2.0]

a good day

blissful dance

A good day
Is one in which you dance the dance you were born to,
And hear your own heart cheerfully applaud
Even as the world sighs with deep gratitude
And the Holy One nods and winks in your direction.

It is a gift to give your gift.

 

[photo by John Getchel per cc 2.0]

[Kudos to On Being’s newsletter – The Pause – for the reminder about what makes a good day.]

God is … ?

light through cloudsA friend recently asked, ‘Who – what – is God, anyway?’ The question rumbled around in my heart for days … and here is one response:

God is the life-force, the love-force, that (who) holds everything together and moves everything toward deeper and deeper relationship – relationship with God and, thus, each other.

Or, working backwards, as we often do, we seek deeper relationship with each other and, through that, a deeper relationship with God, herself. True relationship, true love, always points to and reflects God, for God is love. Thus, even feeble, faltering, messy attempts to love can be steps in the right direction.

We might as well ask, what is the universe? For, as we connect more and more of the dots, we find that they reflect a mysterious unity. This scattered, shattered beauty is being drawn together in love. It blossoms and grows where it can. It repairs and reconciles where that is needed. In the end, love triumphs by loving.

It seems so weak, sometimes, to wait on love, to yield to love, to refuse to use coercion, to leave yourself so vulnerable. In the end, it is the only thing strong enough to hold it all together. And, that is heaven: being held together in love – in God.

 

[photo by Tyler Nienhouse per cc 2.0]