no magic

magicThere is no magic.

There is only mystery.

Magic presumes a mastery of the mysterious, where certain incantations will constrain the outcome. But mystery will not be constrained.

That is good news, when mystery is the very heart of goodness.

I want to release myself to the embrace of mystery.  I just don’t know how. So, I keep trying magic. Until I give up my attempts at control, I keep the mystery at bay. Such is my quandary.

I’d pray about it, except that I keep turning prayer into an attempt at magic, an Aladdin’s lamp. Three wishes will be granted for the rubbing.

Just like to me mess up a blessing.

Aauugh!

Why won’t I learn? When you bargain with a loving God, you only cheat yourself.

[photo by Linus Bohman per cc 2.0]

Those slubs

raw silkThe mirror of my mind’s eye
Is much more flattering
Than the one framed on my bathroom door.

My imagined goodness, too,
Contains all the contemplated kindnesses,
Not just those actually done.

My projects are better when I plan them
Than when they reach completion,
With all their wrinkles and flaws.

The problem is
When I am content with imagining
Nothing really happens.

I must embrace the flaws
If I am to love the life that is,
If I am to live at all.

Like raw silk,
The slubs are part of its beauty.
They add richness and grace.

Those cracks, dear Lenard,
As you knew so well,
Are where the life gets in.

[photo by mary per cc 2.0]

quandaries with prayer

restless

When it comes to prayer,
I am like a fidgety child,
Too tired to go to sleep.
My urgencies unsettle my heart,
Crying out for a way out.

My focus is me,
And so my prayers become
An incessant prattle,
Begging and pleading
For what I want.

It’s not that my desires are wrong,
It’s just that they rivet my focus
And overwhelm my heart.
Ironic, because prayer, for so many,
Is a path to peace.

And yet the instructions for prayer:
Ask, seek, knock,
Seem to confirm that focus.
Perhaps, I can find a bit of wisdom, there:
The way out is through.

I must bring myself to prayer
And all my baggage comes with me.
Until I speak my troubles,
I can think of nothing else.
And, besides, a friend will listen to prattle.

And so I come with all my messy pleas,
And sit down beside you,
And pour them out.
And you, my Holy Friend,
You listen.

That is a start.

[photo by Joe Benjamin per cc 2.0]

hard things

let go
One of the hardest things to do is to let go.
It seems an abdication.
Irresponsible.

But, when I cannot actually be responsible for it all,
It may be good to let go my desperate grip.
It might actually be wise and helpful.

So, how, exactly, do I let go?
Should I move my fingers just so?
Just what is the gesture of release?
See? I step out of one quandary into another.

Perhaps, if I would just accept the gentle embrace,
And return the love to its source,
Then letting go would simply happen.

Ok … so, how do I do that?
Again around the circle.
Dancing with the quandaries,
Rather than your grace.

Yep, letting go is a hard thing.
As hard as I can make it.

Did I just hear you chuckle?

[photo by Garrett Charles per cc 2.0]

The Other Cheek

longing for light… I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. – Matthew 5

What kind of good news is this? Don’t resist? Let the bad guys have their way? In fact, give them even more than they ask? Geez!

Get real! If someone busts my chops, I’m not gonna hang around and let them do it again. I’ll fight back or I’ll leave and plot my revenge.

How do you think you’ll win by letting the bad guys have their way?!?

Oh.

I remember now. That cross thing.

Surely you don’t expect me to follow that path. Surely . . . This is so totally bassackwards. I think I’ll just sit down here in the dirt and sulk. I mean, really!

Really? Can you really mean that I should give myself to abuse and let it go . . . and let it go, again? (It really does seem wrong, doesn’t it? I mean not even just selfishly foolish, but bigger picture foolish, too? Doesn’t it?)

Where are your eyes? Mine are too blind to see . . .

I have been struck across the face. Slapped silly, I guess.  Help me know how I should respond. It seems so wrong …

Can you take this half-baked prayer and breathe life into it? Into me?  I do hope so.

Amen.

6 16 08

[photo by Christina VanMeter per cc 2.0]

first step toward wisdom

step oneMy brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:2-7

My brothers AND sisters, you say,
You of the ancient patriarchy.
Evidence of your own wisdom.

So … I ask, as you ask me to, for wisdom
But I don’t know how to do so without doubt.
Second guessing is second nature for me.

To believe enough to find joy in trial?
To let it test my mettle
And produce endurance, maturity, completion?

Your idea of ‘lacking nothing’
Seems pretty different from what I had in mind.
I’m wanting you to change the world – not me.

Yet, I am left with a decision:
Settle into discouragement, or find the joy.
Perhaps, that realization is the start of wisdom.

Perhaps the path will show the way.
Perhaps taking the first step is what faith means.
Hope takes my hand. Joy stands beside her.

We step together.

[image cropped from photo by In Transit per cc 2.0]