could it be

dandelionCould it be that you whisper within me
That every breath is your breath
That every hope holds seeds of your hope
That my love echoes yours
That my eyes are shaped by your beauty
That you are in me
And I am in you
More fully than I ever knew?

Could it be that you are training my eyes to see
The life that shines between all things
As they dance together in your hands?
All things, all things (yes, even that)
Are in your hands.

I see only dimly, now.
But, oh, I long for more.

[photo by Chris Luczkow per cc 2.0]

not perfect

scrappy flowerIt started with very good
Not with perfect.

I started with very good
Not perfect.

That was the plan all along.
That is the gift of life.
Very good.
Not perfect.

Perfect needs nothing,
No one.
Perfect should not change
Else it is perfect no longer.

Good can grow.
It needs soil and sun.
It is not complete in isolation.
It needs relationship.

That’s what makes it very good.
It’s born with the holes
Where the stitches can go.
A necessary part of the whole.

That is very good.

[image cropped from photo by scrappy annie per cc 2.0]

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]

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]

the cave

entrance to a caveI find I am still standing at the mouth of the cave. I tell myself I will go in; I will explore its depths. But then I see a shiny stone or a bit of grass or a tiny flower and I let myself be distracted. And here I am, still dawdling at the entrance.

Then the sky darkens and it begins to rain – a blowing rain that drives me into the cave. I step, at last, within the shadows and shake my arms and brush the wet from my hair. And sigh. With one last glance to the world outside, I turn to face the cavern that opens behind me.

I reach out my left hand to touch the cold stone wall beside me and use its surface as a guide to move a bit deeper into the cave. I move slowly, giving my eyes time to adjust; giving my heart a moment to still its racing.

I feel sure that there is something within the cave that waits for me – but I am not so sure I really want to find it. I am old enough to know that any encounter changes me. I have floundered enough to know that I am not always up to the adventure.

Yet, here I am. My hand plays along the wall. I press my lips into a hard, tight line and take the next step, mumbling a bit of a prayer within my heart.

‘Help me, help me,’ I mutter. It’s about the best I can do, these days, when it comes to prayer. I hope it is enough.

So, having braced my heart a bit, I move on. As I go deeper into the cave, I imagine that I will lose the ability to see. But my eyes do adjust and I find a small luminescence – some tiny bits of a lichen that seem to hold a light of their own, dotted along the path before me. They lead me deeper and deeper in.

I can barely see the step before me, but when I take it, the next one becomes clear. One step at a time; one small breath of hope; one by one, I move along.

After a bit, I begin to wonder, am I actually going somewhere? Is it somewhere I should go – or am I just walking in circles or wandering into trouble? What made me think the venture into this cave was right?

Ah, my mind is so very good at second-guessing. It’s almost as good as finding distractions to keep me from moving forward.

Trust is harder. But somehow I begin to realize that that it’s not the path that I must trust. It’s not even the sense of call or the tiny lights along the way.

It is the promise of companionship. I am not alone in this cave; nor was I alone at its mouth. Life is always in motion. There is no standing still.

But there is a difference between moving forward and just moving. And ‘forward’ is always toward deeper relationship.

When my desire is toward you, and I take a step (could it be any step, in any direction?) you are there. It is the direction of my heart, rather than the direction of my feet, that marks my progress.

I think I can see you smile. I reach out my right hand for yours and feel its warmth. I drop my other hand from the wall of the cave and trust your warmth to lead me. We walk the path of tiny lights together.

As we round a corner, we come into a space where the cave opens up from above in a cascade of light. I step into that flood of light. I have to close my eyes against its brilliance, but I lift my face and let it bathe me. I let it fall around my form. We both smile. We are both grateful for this small moment of connection.

I am at home. It is, as it has always been, within your embrace. You are my home, my path, my destination.

Thank you.

Amen.

[image modified from photo by Elroy Serrao per cc 2.0]

the difference

eyes are watching youThere is a profound difference between being watched and being seen.
One sets you apart as an object to be observed, perhaps even judged.
The other celebrates you as you are, inviting true relationship,

So, please stop watching me.
Instead, let us really see one another.
If we do that, love will follow.

[photo by wplynn per cc 2.0]

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]