It is there

deep in the woodsIt is there

Deep, deep within the forest
Deep, deep inside my soul,
Deep within the smiles and words of friendship
Deep in certain books or poems
It is there.

Some call it life force, or beauty.
Some call it prahna or pneuma or ruach.
Whatever it is, I find it undeniable.
It is, for me, the deepest reality, and best hope.
I think I’ll call it love.

[photo is my own]

deep

moon on water

Deep calls to deep, they say.
I believe it.
It skips my head and grabs my heart.
The universe moves
And something shifts within me

I feel the quantum change
Small and vast at the same time.
There is a truth spinning at the center
Humming in my soul
Vibrating across the strings of my heart

You can’t pin it down.
Observation, itself, makes it shift.
Only one aspect at a time can come into view.
It is simply too big, too vast,
Too deep.

Logic looses its grip.
It cannot hold.
But where logic pushes away,
Love draws close.
The heart of it all calls to my heart.

I know that it is true,
Not because I’ve figured it out,
Not because I’ve grasped it,
But because it holds me
And I feel its embrace.

Deeply.

[photo by NJ per cc 2.0]

an imagined choice

candle lightI woke this morning with the vestiges of a troubled dream still roiling my soul. It remained, not so much in my memory as in my emotions. It was unsettling, and threatened to take me to a dark place. Suddenly, I could understand the idea of omens and evil spirits. I could feel the power of the imagination.

Nothing about the physical world around me was different. The sheets, tousled upon my bed, the blanket tossed aside, the taste of my morning coffee, were all as they had been yesterday and the day before. But my heart was troubled.

And now I faced a choice. I could let the dream take my imagination, or I could let my imagination take the dream. That idea … that different tone … started as a small point of light in the center of my soul.

Like a candle in the night, it flickered there, faltering, fragile in the darkness. But I cupped my hands around it and focused my attention there. Small as it was, it warmed my hands. That warmth traveled up my arms and found my heart. It began to expand within me until I found that I could breath again.

I took a deep, full breath and shook my head, and shook my soul. It broke the spell of foreboding. I listened to the chimes outside my window and the quiet breathing of my husband, there beside me. A sense of gratitude began to rise within me, just as the night began to fade to day.

Not all evil is imaginary, but sometimes imaginary evil can threaten to steal your soul. And sometimes even the evil that is real grows stronger through imagination. Even then, sometimes, you can choose to see the light, and welcome it with gratitude.

You cannot really hold the light. But sometimes you can choose to let it hold you.

May you find the light, today.
May it hold you in its warmth.
May you learn to choose hope, when you can.
And find room to be grateful,
Even now.

 

[this image was placed in the public domain by Noubi noubi]

 

i am

small child looking at himself in a store windowThe whisper of ‘i am’ within my soul
Is the echo of ‘I AM.’
Its breath would not be
Without the greater breath of life.

Yet, your great mystery is veiled,
Lest i be overwhelmed.
You hold back in order to give room,
In order to give time
For me to be.

I feel your tug upon my soul,
Your fingers brush my cheek,
And my hope catches its breath
In deep desire of you.

It is the first light of morning,
It is the call of a new day
That lets me take brief notice
Of eternity’s heartbeat in my own,
Calling me to be.

[photo by Lisa E per cc 2.0]

messy faith

city scene

If I am honest with myself
My faith is pretty messy.

On grateful mornings my heart sings.
I am wrapped in the peaceful veil of sunrise and birdsong.
I know – I seem so sure – that I am a small part
Of an immense and holy whole.

But other mornings I crawl out of a dull and achy hole.
I look around and wonder how love could be the source
Of such a mess as this.
My eyes seem tuned to all that’s undeniably wrong.

Is it the tilt of my heart that determines what I see?
And what tilts my heart?
Is faith a decision?
And, if so, what does it stand upon?

This postmodern mind of mine
Knows that knowing is slippery.
All, all seems built upon the sand.
I need a rock to keep me from collapse.

Yet, even rocks are made of whirling atoms,
With vast emptiness between each particle.
The solid – not so solid: I am not held up by ‘stuff.’
Instead, I am held by the very force of the relationships between each and all.

Right now, that is a much of a rock as I can find.
I clamber up – and am amazed that it holds me.
It holds me … and isn’t that what relationship most desires?
To be cherished, but not crushed. It is a delicate balance.

 

[image by SJKen per cc 2.0]

hope is worth the risk

tenacious hope

Hope is worth the risk.
Just saying.

Even when the odds are low
And the world seems such a mess
And disappointment threatens
Hope, hope itself, is worth the risk.

It keeps the heart pumping
And the eyes open to what may come
And anticipates the sudden intake of breath
Brought by the delightful surprise
That is (hopefully) just around the corner.

Yes, hope is worth the risk.

And most especially when it is grounded
In resurrection –
The one that has happened
And the one that will happen, soon.

So … delight with me in the coming delight.
It’s ok.
Even disappointment cannot erase
The delight of sharing hope with you.

[photo by Alix May per cc 2.0]

The Gray Wolf and the Wind

gray wolf advancing“I COMMAND YOUR DAY,” he growls, that gray wolf of late assignments and neglected duties. “I will eat your life, will consume your energy, will wear you out for no gain.” He relishes his role. “I don’t even care if you succeed in your tasks. It’s your soul, your spirit I am after. I can throw you crumbs of accomplishment and you will eat them eagerly and still you will starve.”

I am beaten. I slump against a fallen log and sit with hollow resignation, waiting for his teeth to tear my heart. I can fight no longer. I have nothing left to throw up in my defense. He circles the tree, my form, with gritty pleasure. He licks his chops and chomps his teeth in anticipation.   I wait.

My heart faintly whispers a plea, helpless and with no faith to send it upward, it hangs upon my lips and drops to the ground. I am defeated.

“But I am not.” An angel has seated herself beside me on the fallen log. She removes her cloak and wraps it round my shoulders. It is warm and smells of adventure. It wraps my soul. Then she stands and plants her staff in the ground. She draws a circle in the dirt, surrounding me, surrounding the log, surrounding herself.   “This place is claimed as holy,” she proclaims.

The wolf is pacing now, angry, suspicious and with glaring eye. He charges at the circle, but at the last moment diverts his steps. He growls and throws his anger at the circle, at the two of us within it. He rails against the barrier and gnashes his teeth. “Why do come you to rescue this pitiful soul?” he demands of the angel. “Why waste your effort on one who has nothing to give, not even a whimper of resistance. This one is of no value to you. Leave her and let me finish my feast, it is no loss to you.”

“If she is insignificant, why do you want her so?” The angel asks.

“I gain pleasure in defeat… she is giving me what I desire.” The wolf replies.

“You want to extend your kingdom beyond its current boundaries, but she belongs to another kingdom, exists within another’s realm. You cannot claim her soul. You see, it is you that have been defeated already. Eating at her only feeds your fantasy that you can regain what you have already lost.”   The angel is calm and measured in her reply, but it is clear that she is on her guard. Confrontation with a wolf is not to be taken lightly.

“Fool, fool!” The wolf shrieks and paces. “You think your words can put me off, you think that you have strength against me when it is obvious that I have the power of this world. You cannot resist me.”

He cannot contain himself in his anger. But instead of charging the circle, as it seemed to me that he would do, he turns and charges off into the woods.

When we are alone, the angel turns to me and helps me to my feet. Her cloak is still wrapped around my shoulders. She grasps my shoulders in her hands and gazes into my eyes. “Do not give in to despair. The great wolf’s only power is deceit. Do not give in.” Her voice both pleads and commands. “Take this cloak, this staff and claim your ground as holy. Do not let him enter.”

As the angel turns to go, she slips a leather belt from her waist and hands me a pouch that was hanging from it. “Do not forget to eat.” She says, quietly. “Feed your soul on truth, on the words of hope, on relationship.” Then she is gone.

I sit upon the log, wrap the cloak around me and open the pouch. I eat the manna with a grateful heart. Around my heart I draw a circle with the staff. “I claim this as holy ground,” I whisper and hold the staff tightly in my hands.

My heart whispers a prayer of its own, “Save me from the wolf’s breath.”

The wind answers. “I will save.”

 10-20-95

[image cropped from photo by Kurt Bauschardt per cc 2.0]