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?
[photo is my own)
When I turn my heart to you in prayer
I find that I am smiling
A sigh escapes my spirit
And I fold into your arms.
That is the true moment of prayer
The rest is a conversation – mostly with myself
But you still listen
In infinite patience and love, you listen.
And you smile in return
And kiss the top of my head
And place your cheek against my ear
And I can hear the rumble of your melody deep within.
Somehow I know that you still love me
Even as I am
Even in this moment
Even through this day.
[photo by Mary per cc 2.0]
In this quiet hollow,
In this deep, still, place
My heart at first is quieted.
It gives up the rumble of my days
And the persistent picking of my thoughts
And the undertow of worry.
All these are splashed upon the shore like foam.
They dissolve upon the great beach of your
Until, at last, they simply flow in and out without
They come and go, but do not call to me.
I find, at last a quiet space to be.
And there I sit and listen to my heart.
And to your whispered presence
In its hollows.
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[photo by Kate McDonald per cc 2.0]
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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[photo by Greg Moore per cc 2.0]
Spending a week backpacking in the mountains of Colorado with four good friends is an exercise in being present: captivated by beauty, disciplined by the power of the mountain, focused on each step along the path. The rain and hail sent us into our tents for three hours one day and four the next.
Rain was my Yogi, saying, “Sit, wait, be. There is no next. There is only now. Be. Now.” Continue reading