summer abundance

yellow squashOne of the realities of summer
Is squash.
One day it is a blossom
The next a fingerling
The next, almost too big.

Ask me if I’m growing squash
And I’ll likely say yes.
But, really, it grows on its own.
My part is minimal.
The rest is miracle.

Sun, water, dirt, seed –
Become an edible delight.
I can barely keep up.
I am grateful for these quiet miracles.
And the fact they don’t depend on me.

[photo by Joan per cc 2.0]

Not. Perfect.

learning to walk

So, here’s a surprise for you:
I’m not perfect.
Never have been.

In fact, perfect isn’t so good,
‘Cause you’d have to stop right there.
Any move from perfect goes away from it.

And perfect –
Doesn’t have many friends.
Too insufferable; too lonely.

What I am; what you are
Is unfolding; growing; transforming,
All of which embrace imperfection at their start.

Like a little one,
Learning to crawl; learning to stand;
It can be a lovely, messy process.

What it requires is a loving environment.
Where each new step is cherished
And loving arms reach out to hold you through it all.

I am grateful to have such arms around me.
We fall together; we help each other up; we laugh.
Perfect! (not.)

[photo by wrk per cc 2.0]

A tiny resurrection

light beckonsAny new beginning holds the seeds
Of a tiny resurrection.
Any turning of the corner
Or of the clock
Brings an end
And a beginning.

We mark the big moments:
A birth, a graduation, a retirement, a death.
But it is often the small moments
That mark our souls:
The warm greeting in the eyes of a friend,
The warm hug that follows,
The knowledge that they still hold you
Even when you are away.

My life is marked most deeply
By these small moments of resurrection,
And I am ever grateful.

[photo by Benoît Mars per cc 2.0]
[My thanks to Richard Rohr, who suggests that resurrection is not a one-time thing, but the revelation of the pattern of the universe – that ‘reality is always moving toward resurrection.’]

honest encounter

contemplation

So, here is my quandary:
I want to come to you in honest embrace,
But honesty is so hard.
My nakedness is far too embarrassing.
Yet only naked honesty is worthy of your time … or mine.

It is not your mask I desire, but your dear face.
And your touch, not upon a fancied-up painting of myself,
But on my very soul.
I cannot send a proxy to encounter you.
I must come, myself.

And that is my deepest hope and greatest fear.
If I really come, will you embrace?
If you were to turn aside, my soul would die.
Yet, if I do not come … I’ll starve.

Holy one, you can see the mess I’m in.
What shall I do?

Shhh, my little one. Shhh.
I can see the mess, it’s true.
But I have embraced your naked soul from the moment I called it forth.
Never has it left my loving gaze.
Never have I turned away.
Never have I felt disgust or even mild disdain,
For you are precious to me.
Sometimes, though, I must admit, the silly costumes you try on
Can make me shake my head in wonder.

Know this – though the world may object –
You are my creation and bear the imprint of my love.
Relax in my embrace, and even the things within yourself that make you cringe,
Even those … can be redeemed, renewed, and reconciled.
All, all, all can grow luminous in my love –
And in that light, all will seem as a gift.

I do love you.
You, you, very you, I do love.

My love is the very essence of who I am –
the ground of your own creation –
and the undeniable reality of our every encounter.

It cannot be otherwise.

 8 21 13

[photo by Doc List per cc 2.0]

this simple meal

deep within the woods

One day, this day, lies before me. One step, the next step, is to be taken. I have strength for only one. I have manna for one day only. If I try to grasp at more, it rots within my hands. One day, one step, one piece of grace to give me strength to face it.

I kneel at an oaken table, deep within the woods, deep within a clearing where the large stump forms that table and where the brightness of the day is obscured by the heavy canopy of trees. Only one shaft of light finds its way through and hits the surface of the table with a clear, bright beam. In the spotlight of that beam, centered within its ray, is the simple meal of manna, which is spread for me this day. A cake of bread, a glass of wine, a napkin unfolded underneath as a cloth for the meal to rest upon. Nothing beside these simple provisions.

I say my grace before the meal… my grace, my prayer for grace, sets my heart in tune with the meal itself, to receive its nourishment. “Oh, Holy One, open my heart to receive your blessing for this day. Open my eyes to see your will, my hands to carry it out.” I reach and take the bread, break it and hold it for a moment in my hands. “This strength of yours I eat. I ask that you help me to spend it in your service and on your priorities. Help me to know what I must do, and to separate that from what others would like for me to do, from what I sense as urgent, but do not have the wisdom to also sense as hollow – an empty, busy bluster with no lasting value. Feed me on wisdom today, my Holy Friend, and let its essence creep into my soul.”

One step, one beam of light to guide, one hand to hold. For as my meal is ended, you join me here and offer me your hand. I take that hand of love and rise to meet the day. My own shallow wisdom is not enough, but the love and the wisdom that you offer is more than enough.

Isn’t that, after all, the promise of the manna? Enough for one day. Enough.

3 28 95

[photo by Jaroslav Kuba per cc 2.0]

Friendship’s grace

tiny flowersI am in the mountains, in a high meadow, where the trail is clearly worn along one side. It leads my feet without much difficulty, few roots or rocks and no question of direction. That gives me the chance to catch the full beauty of the meadow, the tender plants that grow on marshy stems, where the moisture is gathered, green, into a living form; the vast expanse of plant after plant, dotted with small white flowers, ruffled by the fingers of the breeze.

Beauty opens my heart like a flower to the sun. Friendship shared in the presence of beauty is water at the roots. In that moment, the flower, itself, can acknowledge its own beauty as one indivisible part of the whole. And that wholeness is the heartbeat of beauty, itself.

I don’t know that I need some profound insight today. I need the presence of a friend to hold my hopes with me a while, to help me face my fears, my doubts, my failures and know that there is still a ‘me’ that makes them smile. They are not waiting for me to be perfect, and neither are you.  They delight in friendship’s dear embrace, where the beauty of each soul, reflected in the other’s eyes, is deeply known, confirmed, and grown.

[photo by Jessica Lucia per cc 2.0]