off to the mountains

I’m off to the mountains.
My soul longs to absorb the colors of the wild;
To sit in the presence of the mountain
And let it sink its roots into my heart.

The touch of that deep quiet has faded
And needs to be renewed
So that I, too, might be renewed.
The attention of my soul is too easily distracted
By the flash and dazzle of the market
And the vitriol and terror of the news.

So, I will sink my feet into the numbing cold of a stream
And let my soul sigh before a columbine.
I will relish the quiet conversation of friends
Whose voices carry the whisper of the divine.
I will remember the solid grace of solitude
And the gift of mutual interdependence.

I am grateful to be able to make such a pilgrimage,
In the company of others whose hearts are open to its peace.
There are no guarantees on the mountain,
Except that it is there – deeply, powerfully there,
And its gifts of beauty and grandeur and challenge and grace
Play upon the wind and call me to its depths.

I’m off to the mountains to store up images of hope
To feed my soul and smooth the edges of my anger
And give me a bit of grace to share.
I go in hope and confidence that it still has gifts to share;
That my heart will still be open;
That its terrible beauty will do its work in me, again.

I’m off to the mountains.

[so … no posts for a bit.]

holding pattern

beneath the tree

Oh, Holy One,
I sit beneath the tree of my imagination.
I hold my troubled heart in my hands.
I don’t know what else to do.

You sit beside me.
You lean over and wrap your hands around mine.
You lean down and kiss my heart.
I offer it up to you, mostly out of desperation.
And you smile.

That, at least, is good; seems right;
Not righteous on my part, but true.
That smile softly changes the contours of my heart.
I move from grasping fear to gratitude.

Your smile tugs at the corners of my own mouth.
I feel my hands relax around my heart.
I feel my soul relax around my quandaries.
Your presence beside me is enough.

Indeed, it is more than enough,
I release myself into a surprising fullness,
My questions are not answered, but they are quieted.
I am held in you.

[photo by Felix Dance per cc 2.0]

a blessing for your morning

whisper

May the soft breeze of God’s whisper
Lift your heart as you arise.

May God’s dear smile
Play across the faces of your friends,
As you greet each other along the way.

May you find yourself joyfully engaged
In those tasks most suited to your gifts.

May you deeply know, even in the midst
Of troubles and questions and seeming failure,
That you, yourself, will never be abandoned.

May you see that any gift,
Given in love into the hand of God,
Softens the edges of reality,
And widens the flow of grace.

Each act of love
Is a step
In the redemption of the world.

[photo by Styleღwithღattitude per cc 2.0]

strange conversation

ballerina

Does it seem strange to you that an amoeba would try to talk to a ballerina?
Or, even more, that a ballerina would care to talk to an amoeba?

What language would they use?
What reality would frame the conversation?
What concerns, what urgencies, would energize the exchange?

So, when prayer confuses me … I probably should not find that confusion confusing.

The work of prayer is not so much what is being prayed about –
But about making the connection.
It is a wonder that a connection can be made;
A kindness that such connection is invited.

There is a transformation, bit by bit, in what I see;
In who I am;
In who we are, together.

Conversation becomes conversion … bit by bit by bit.

What grace!

[Image modified from photo by Mirjana Veljovic per cc 2.0]

my cavern

cavernI stand at the mouth of a cavern – huge, dark … powerful in its presence and mystery. I want to enter, something calls me in, but I am also fearful. If I walk this path, will I soon get lost amid the stalagmites and stalactites and crevices and boulders that lurk within the shadows? Will I fall or be trapped? Will I simply wander to no avail?

Yet, there is this call, not really audible, just a tug upon my soul. I take a deep breath and step toward the dark. And in that first step, I feel my heart open just a bit – or perhaps it just softens. It is an almost imperceptible move, like the coming wakefulness of morning, arising from the deepest sleep to the next level, just below awareness.

I take another breath and resist the urge to steel myself. It is not about holding tight, but letting go. Another breath, another step, ears on alert, heart inching ahead of my frame, I move. One slow step at a time, searching … or, no, opening, I move.

This is different. I somehow know that this is not a process where I will find something, or figure it out, or come to understand. This is a process in which I will be changed, opened, melded.

It has taken these few steps for the whole sense of this call to change. I am not called to some great mission, to some accomplishment that will be a offering for you. I am called to become someone different, someone melded, molded, reconstituted into a vessel, or … not so much a container for something other than I am, but a container that is an amalgam of me and you – a container that can now hold something that could not otherwise be held.

Beheld… that word, itself, turns a corner in me. If I let myself be seen – and the darkness provides a bit of a robe for my nakedness even as I shed my successive layers of protection – if I let myself be seen, I will become more of myself. Beholding as creation.

And beholding goes both ways. As I find my way through a successive unmasking of my very self, I find my way to you, as well. You dwell in truth. An honest soul, and only an honest soul, can truly encounter you. It is a law of the spiritual realm – that truth is a prerequisite.

Yet truth alone, sterile and hard, will not suffice. Somehow, honesty must be mixed with the affirming pulse of life itself, the truth of true connection, where the coming together is full and free and beautiful. Some would call it love, but even that word seems too light a thing.

And now all my words fade to mere filaments of hope. They cannot really do justice to what is.

I stand, naked, in the dark, still shedding layers of presumption and constraint. And the darkness, itself, a deep and quiet and holy darkness, swirls around me, urging union, promising completion.

Slowly the darkness becomes light. Turns out the darkness was within me, and I have begun to shed it, ever so slowly. The light begins to smile upon me, to welcome me, to make its way into me. My growing honesty is, at last, allowing me to embrace – to be embraced by – the truth of you.

This process is not done, but it is begun. And I am glad.

My soul, a bit raw from this successive unveiling, feels closer to itself. It confirms a truth that has long dwelt with me. I have no words. Except, perhaps, ‘thank you.’

[photo by Emily Mocarski per cc 2.0]

a change in plans

plans
A change in plans
Can be disconcerting.
It suggests that I’m not really
The one in control, after all.

Imagine that!

It also reminds me
That my focus, all too often,
Is on the circumstances,
On things to do and places to be.

I have a to-do list,
Not a to-be or to-be-with list.

But, when plans change,
I am reminded
That the richness of life
Lies in the continual dance of relationship.

Circumstances are just the medium
Where we dance that dance.
Life is not really about what, but who.

And I am so grateful
For those who dance this dance with me.
They touch my soul with grace
And open my eyes to the deep.

With these companions,
Plans are dance steps drawn upon the floor.
When you are actually dancing,
There is joy in creating the dance together.

Change is where the life is.
Let’s dance!

[image modified from photo by Jeremy Keith per cc 2.0]