Does it matter to the world That I have lost my center; That I find my heart jerked back and forth With every new event And the conjecture about what it means? Does my own peace or angst Add anything to the world’s unfolding? The answer is either yes, or no. Either way, it makes a difference Whether I can find my way to peace, in You. If yes - If my own centering in Your presence Can help in some small way To remind the world that there is a center And that we are all invited in - Then it does make a difference To one small corner of the world. If no - If my peace or angst are mine alone, If there are no ripples from my presence, Then, I might as well seek peace. It will, after all, Make a vast difference to me Even if it is me, alone. And I expect the truth Is somewhere in the middle. It is both yes and no. I will not change the world, much. But even a little can make a difference. I know this because The kind smile of a friend, The simple sigh of one I love, The joy that invades my heart From seeing the pure joy of my granddaughter Or the soft, proud smile of her mother These make my life rich. I am pulled from poverty of spirit To the rich, full embrace of life By little things. And so, I resolve To offer what little things I can To life, To You, And, so, to the world. I give my offering As a ‘yes’ to the center That gives its life to me.
The green of the leaf,
The heat of the sun,
The laughter that bubbles up
When good friends meet
After a long absence,
The sweet satisfaction
In a sip of cool water,
The uncomplicated giggle
Of a small, dear child,
These are evidence of you.
These are embodiment of you.
These are where, again, you create life.
Theology is good.
The pulse of life is better.
I rejoice in them both.
May you find the melody your heart was made to sing this day
May it flow softly, surely, out into the world
Giving hope those who wander close enough to hear.
May your soul know its part within the whole,
The part that makes it whole,
And sees that wholeness glistening in others.
May you wake beside your dearest love
And see them smiling at the sight of you
And feel their love enfold you.
May you hear the melody of God’s own dear song
Playing in harmony with yours
As it opens your ears to the symphony of life.
May it grace your way
And fill your day
With deepest healing and abiding joy.
There is life in the chimes outside my window
As they ring their solemn joy into the dawn.
There is life in my grandmother’s rolling pin,
As it makes the pies that have fed the family celebrations across the years.
I hold that life in my hands as I shape the dough.
There is life in the rocks that we gathered to build our fireplace.
They hold whispers of that gathering
As we gather, again, around their warmth.
If chimes and rolling pins and rocks can come to life – can I?
There are some images that speak for themselves.
As soon as you try to nail them down with words,
You make them smaller.
You tighten your focus, and lose the fullness.
Analysis can be good
But sometimes grateful acceptance is even better.
[photo is my own – you many use it under cc By-NC-SA 2.0]
There are moments
– far too few –
when I remember to lean my head back
and feel it rest upon your shoulder.
Then I feel you kiss the top of my head
and your spirit gathers me like a beloved child
upon your lap,
surrounded by your embrace.
The rise and fall of your chest
quiets my soul
and I know that
all is well,
all is well,
all is well,
I am on the deck of an old wooden sailing ship, conjured up from memories of pirate movies. It dips and sways in violent motion and I cannot stand without great effort. I am thrown against the mast and against the railings. I stagger and slip. There is a howling wind around me. It whips my hair and blows great sheets of water over me, drenching me with cold, wet saltiness. Then I am thrown again. I raise my voice to cry out in the storm, but though I am shouting, no sound can be heard above this turmoil. No one can hear my cry.
And I have no idea how to use the ship, how to steer, how to guide its passage. I am stuck here till the storm subsides. So I retreat inside the cabin and shut the door behind me. Two steps inside and I stop to listen. I had expected the same violent movement within the cabin – after all, it is a part of the ship in this storm. But it is calm in here. The lantern hanging from the ceiling sways in a comforting, slow rhythm. The wind is not whistling through the cracks. I look out the window and see that the storm is still in progress, but it cannot penetrate the quiet of this cabin.
I sit down at the table to rest and to take stock of where I am, of what is happening. There is a meal spread simply before me: manna and cool water. I begin to eat. My first bite stops me. A prayer of relief tumbles from my lips. I put my head on the table and sob with release from the pounding of the storm. I cry until there is no more tension within me and then I move to a bed which is secured to the wall and fall into its billows. I cannot move. Just before I slip into sleep, I whisper. “Thank you. Even within the storm, you provide an inner room of comfort and of rest. You give me peace, without which I am overcome.” I release myself to sleep, without fear of the storm, which I know I must face again tomorrow. Its bluster can wait. Today I rest.
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May the cool fingers of morning
Brush your cheek as you arise.
May the deep peace of the meadow
Rock your soul in sweet embrace.
May the light of loving truth
Dawn upon your soul.
May you wake to the life
That belongs to you,
Seeded deep within your very self –
A gift of your creation,
The delight of all who love you.
May you find and live your areté.
I stand on the hill beside the oak, arms across my chest, a little cocky. I warn myself to be careful about cockiness but I feel good – not defeated, not tired, not discouraged: good. I am ready for the day, pleased to be alive. That’s a surprise – no dread, no sigh. My head is buzzing from this feeling and it is strange enough that I feel wary about it. I drop my hands to my sides and stride off toward the well.
As I approach, my heart, still singing a light tune, feels the sense of awe in the amphitheater, and welcomes it. Awe and confidence at once. I come and seat myself quietly on one of the stone benches that surround the well. I watch the congregation gather. Angels, apostles, even animals come forward and find a place around the well. Everyone is quiet but there is a unsung song of joy on the hearts and faces of the crowd. On my face, too.
The well begins to overflow. The water rises slowly and flows over the edge in a clear smooth sheet. It gathers at the base and then flows off in a stream toward the edge of the meadow. One by one the members of the crowd go forward to the well and touch the surface of the water as it streams quietly over the edge.
Each one touches the well. Each one begins to glow with a soft light – it enters the fingertips and flows through the whole being of the one who is at the well. One comes and touches the water and then touches his own forehead. Another touches the water and touches her lips. A third touches the water and touches her heart. All, in turn, anointing themselves with the water and the energy that radiates from the well. All return to the congregation, take a seat and offer their hands to those seated next to them. Soon the whole congregation is holding hands and is surrounded by a faint glow.
Then the sun above the meadow breaks through a cloud. I had not missed it until it appeared, but now it’s brilliance shoots down and gleams off the surface of the well.
Suddenly the whole congregation bursts into song. It is a glorious, highly complicated melody where each member sings what seems to be a separate song, but, sung together, they make a whole of woven tunes so rich and yet so complex that the ear, not even the heart can really receive it all.
An angel on the other side of the well stands. He is seven or eight feet tall and towers over the congregation in great strength and beauty.. His face is both stern and soft, young and old, joyful and sorrowful. It is as if he holds the complexity and fullness of all of humanity in his features. He says, simply, “Today we take the time to rejoice, for it renews and completes us all.” He lifts his hands, as does the whole congregation, and they are pulled toward the sun and are gone.
I alone, am left on the benches. I still feel confident and strong, but I realize that my own piece in this complex web of life is very small. Humility and confidence have never sat so comfortably within me as they do now.
What a pleasant morning. What a blessing to be a part of the greater web of life.
3 10 95
May your heart find peace this day.
May you breathe in the holy breath of hope.
May it strengthen your soul and fortify your step.
May you know, deeply know, that you are not alone.
Just for a moment, may you feel the embrace of deepest love,
Circling round your very being, holding you tight.
May you know with deep assurance
That you will never fall,
Except you fall into those arms.