When I encounter a problem, a conundrum, a quandary,
I want to fix it, as quickly as possible.
I work with what I know, and who I am, and what I have
To find a way around or through.
And that, sometimes, creates a bigger problem
My preconceptions get in the way.
If I could back off far enough, or shed my frame,
The problem might just be transformed.
Instead I build a kludge,
A work-around of convoluted wires and patches.
I solve one problem and create another.
Too often, it seems my theology is a mass of kludges –
My own and those of others.
The longer I stay in my head,
Requiring explanation or understanding,
The longer I delay delight.
For somewhere beyond what I can grasp,
You wait to gather me in.
I am bound by my own befuddlement.
But even in that moment,
You find a way to set me free.
Slowly, I am learning to release my questions
And, instead, be held by wonder.
[photo by Marco Assini 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]
I am having so much trouble centering in today.
I’m following every rabbit-trail my mind offers up.
No wonder I’m jumpy.
Maybe I should just become that rabbit
Follow the grassy trail before me
Stop to nibble on the tips of grass
Think rabbit-y thoughts
What are those like?
What are the thoughts of a squirrel? Dog! (?)
So, here I go, down that rabbit-trail
And here’s the mystery:
You are there, too.
Ponderous, deep, theology is not necessary.
A simple, grateful, receptive heart is quite enough.
That is where I am today.
I nibble the grass.
I feel the shadow of a passing cloud.
I manage to notice the simple joys around me for just a moment.
And I find a new way into the center.
Thank you. Again. Anew. Thank you.
[image cropped from photo by Eden per cc 2.0]