what is religion for?

dew dropThe single and true purpose of mature religion is to allow you to experience your True Self–who you are in God and who God is in you–and to live a generous life from that Infinite Source. If religion does not do this, it is junk religion.                              – Richard Rohr


The seed of my very being
Is your infinite heart.
I want to watch the seedling break the soil
And unfurl its tiny leaves to the sun.
I want to feel the itch of growth within me.


I want to hold the dew drop of grace
That gathers, slowly, in the fold of green
And then, with growing fullness,
Quivers at the edge of hope
And falls into your waiting joy.


my true self

imprint of a leaf on water

My true self –
The self I long to meet

The one where I fit nicely in my own skin
And equally well in my community,
As if we are suited to one another

The one where goodness is not fake
But a natural expression of a maturing soul,
And where continuing growth is the sure future

The one where I can embrace the flawed reality
That is both where I live and who I am,
And still find peace and beauty … and firm hope

The one where I dare to join the dance
That is the world’s becoming,
The very echo and response to the Holy Three.

This is the self you call me to be.
This is the self I will become.
This is the dance of life.

[photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann per cc 2.0]

[thanks to Richard Rohr’s daily meditations]

the hole in my soul

holeThere is a hole in my soul that needs filling.
Stuffing it with newspaper just won’t do.
Neither will ignoring it, or just walking around it.

The hole is a wound,
Not from the slash of a blade,
But from the steady friction of the world.

I need the salve of your hope.
I need the wisdom of the great physician.
I need … you.

Oh, my little one, you have me.
Always and forever.

I am before and beyond.
I am within and throughout.
I breathe inside your breath
And leave the dusting of my presence
Wherever you are.

The trick (though it is no trick)
Is to be there. Fully there.
Fully embodied; fully infused.

This reality is already yours.
Now, before you retire.
Now, before you even start your day.

I am yours and you are mine.
That is true regardless.
But when you open to that truth
That is the magical moment (though it is not magic);
That is when your heart quickens with the breath of hope.
That is when wisdom invades your words
And grace flows from your touch
When you become the conduit of my love.

Oh, Holy One,
I long for this to be true.
It seems I always stand on that precipice of longing
But I lack the courage to fall into that reality.
So, year after year, I come to the very edge of promise
And turn to go without fully embracing its truth.
I leave the blessing for the busyness of my days.
I postpone your call, to answer the phone.

Pick up the phone.
That’s me on the other end.
You can answer my call in that conversation.
Trust – it comes with action.
Doubt is just the mud on your shoes.
Keep walking – it will be worn away.

[photo by Daniel Meyer 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]


circle dancingThe Holy One has need of nothing,
Not even me.
(No great surprise to anyone but me.)

Yet . . . the Holy One desires my love.

It isn’t needed.
It adds nothing to that Holy fullness.

Yet, She yearns for my gift of love.

And when I give it,
And sometimes I do,

I am more.

This dance always seems so unfamiliar
until the very end,
when I know
that I have danced it always.


[photo by Julie Pimentel per cc 2.0]


dandelion heartI sigh.
I gather myself for a moment’s centering.
I wait upon the edge of quiet
Letting my soul seep in.

Each breath draws in.
Each breath empties out.
The quiet deepens.
I release my fluttering thoughts into the void.

I refuse to ride my thoughts away.
I let them go, without me
And am surprised to see that I remain.
They do not hold the deepest me.

You do.

I do not know why that is a surprise
But I smile as I snuggle down into your lap.
I rest my heart upon your whisper
And turn my cheek to your caress.

Your lullaby is a wordless melody
Sung in the quiet forever
Only audible in stillness
But ever there.

I rouse myself enough to wonder
If my bliss seems boring to the more adventurous souls.
You croon and hold me close
And my heart beats with excitement.

This quiet moment is, indeed, but foreplay …

[the photo is my own]

magnificent heart

spring flowers


We are silly little creatures.
Why would you concern yourself with us?
Why turn your magnificent heart toward such tiny trinkets?


It’s not the pull of the trinkets.
It’s the nature of your magnificent heart
To touch the soul of each little thing
And bring it to
Its full and glorious self.

Life calls to life.
Love calls to love.
Beauty calls to beauty.
You call to me.

[photo by Mike Bizeau from his wonderful photo blog, Nature has no Boss, used with permission]

fidgety soul

sleeping childIt seems I am continually befuddled.
I question myself and I question my questions.
I gaze at my navel and I wander around the corners of my mind.
And it seems I go nowhere.

So …
I am thankful that the world is not held together by my understanding.
I am glad that the mystery of love is actually … a mystery.
I am grateful that my fidgeting soul, like a small and restless child, can be held
And held, and held,
Until I can fight no more
And I put my head upon your shoulder
And sleep.

[photo by FUMIGRAPHIK-Photographist per cc 2.0]


Got it nailed

nail in woodThe very moment when I think I’ve got it nailed, it moves. Jello to a wall, as they say.

I don’t know how people can be so sure of what they know – sure enough to tell me what I should do; sure enough to claim an infallible authority that is not possible within the context of human endeavor. Continue reading


reflectionCan your love be true?
Do you really love me,
Despite my silly, scary self?

Then let me snuggle down
Within your arms,
Within your deep embrace.
Let your love shape my heart.
Let your wonder call my soul.
Shape me to reflect your gentle kindness
To the world.

Let me be a sliver of hope
That finds its way
Into the life of my community
Borne upon the whisper of grace
That flows from your lips
Through my words
Onto the page of my life.

[photo by Adventures of KM&G-Morris per cc 2.0]