You have no right

you have no right

You have no right to speak my truth for me;
To choose the words or set the cadence.
It is mine … it is me.

You have no right to tell me who I am, who I should be,
Based upon your own determined ‘truth.’
‘I AM’ does not belong to you, either.

That said, I cannot presume to know your truth
Or deeply understand the place from which it springs.
It belongs to you, shapes you, as mine shapes me.

Given that we are in this together,
Would it be better to start from questions
Rather than presumptions?

I mean the kind of questions that are, themselves, true;
The gentle, inquisitive, persistent questions that actually want to know;
The ones that lead to true understanding.

I mean the kind of questions that acknowledge
That the bigger truth cannot be held within one small frame;
That my small truth is never big enough.

I mean the earnest search for truth that calls each of us
Into the deepest expression of our own true selves.
I mean the truth whose source is love.

I AM calls each I am into being.
I AM loves each I am along the way,
Fully, at every point, without precondition.

And I am learning, slowly, to relinquish my hold
Upon my small definition of truth, my small definition of me.
I am learning, instead, to be held, in truth.

[photo by Andy Hay per cc 2.0]

The Door into the Meadow

door ajar in a stone wallI push open the door, slowly.
It seems dark inside and quiet, and somehow holy.
I hope that it is holy – for it is You I seek.
My fingers tremble on the frame.

My eyes strain to see, my ears to hear.
All is quiet and dark.
But still … that faint sense of the holy keeps me here.

‘Please come,’ I whisper.
‘Please come.’ I hear in reply. Continue reading

dance of words

tumble of words

I love the gift of words.
They romp and cavort around reality, giving me a tool to see its form.
They light the crevices and illuminate the vastness of truth, stretching my mind to new horizons.
True words, words of life, bring me closer to the wonder of what is. Continue reading

The blessing of gifts

blessedThis quiet morning
I know I am blessed.

I know that few have ever lived with the opportunity and convenience given to me. I know that few have known such steady love of parents, family, husband, children, friends. I know that few have been able to trust their minds and bodies to work so well, and without due attention.

I know that my rare bubble of life is a gift. Continue reading

The First Stone

stone in hand

I hold the first stone I my hand, turning it over and over.
I feel its heft, notice its edges, understand its power.
I know the anger swirling in my chest,
Sensing that everything I honor has been violated.
I want to strike out – to protect what I see as the very anchor of my soul.

I want to throw this stone.

I want to use it to quiet, even if by murderous force, the voices that I hate.
And didn’t the Psalmist say we should hate those who hate you?
Didn’t he brag about it?
Well, I want those bragging rights, as well.
I want to be seen as a defender of truth – to use what power I have in my hand
To win the day, to force obedience to what I see as your commands.

I want to throw this stone.
… but something constrains me

Perhaps it is the vision of all those cloaks at the feet of Saul,
As he watches the stones hurled to silence Stephen.
Perhaps it is the line in the Psalm that follows the hate-full bragging,
Where the Psalmist hesitates, trying to weigh his own motives.
Perhaps it is the understanding that true obedience
Can never, truly, be forced.
Or, perhaps it is that encounter with the woman
Caught in the act, as they say (though apparently by herself).

I want to throw this stone,
But according to your criteria, I don’t qualify.

And the One who does qualify … refuses to throw it.
Instead that One uses a different power.
A power that can actually change the heart
And free it for joyful obedience.

The quick and angry fix is not a fix at all.

I put down the stone.

I place it on a stack of other stones
Released by those who have, with you,
Chosen love over rules as the first step toward
The world you are calling to yourself
Your kingdom come on earth as it is … heaven.

known by our love?

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – Jesus

Is this how we are known? By our love?

By that love that is patient and kind; is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. By love that does not insist on its own way; is not irritable or resentful … that love?

The love without which I am nothing? … that love?

And must I show that love toward those who are ready to push their convictions down my throat?

Geez.

[check out this reflection on the topic by a Thought Pastor friend]

Woe to you …

pointing a fingerWoe to you, lawmakers. You seek easy answers to hard problems and produce sound bites which trivialize our turmoil, placing blame and responsibility on anyone but yourselves.

Woe to you, self-righteous do-gooders, who give to charity but neglect your own children, who see money as the way to buy righteousness and avoid responsibility. Continue reading

Expecting Something Good

smiley face on a window

Sometimes – ok, often – grace appears to me in a conversation with a friend.

It happened again a few months ago, when a friend told me of her daily disciplines – nine specific intentions she uses to frame and shape her day.

The wonder of the conversation is that, as she walked me through each one, I recognized each discipline as part of her fingerprint upon my life. I have been the happy recipient of her faithful habits, of her intentional cultivation of grace within herself.

So, I thought I might try them on, myself.

Knowing how many times I’ve made resolutions and knowing how few of them I’ve kept, I decided to practice my way in, keeping one until it becomes familiar, before I add another. The first of her nine is to start each day with the expectation that something good will happen – and then to actively look for it.

So, this morning started off right, hands in the dirt of the garden, and looking up to see a fresh stalk of asparagus, pushing up to greet the sun. It tasted really sweet.

[photo is my own]

buzzzz … buzzzz … slap … buzzzz

mosquito

Look at the variety of creatures on earth. That demonstrates the wonderful imagination of their creator.

– Hildegard of Bingen.

Just look at the baboon’s butt and the spindly-legged spider and the iridescent humming bird and the waterfall and the mosquito – the mosquito? Hmmm. Why would that buzz through my mind? What wonder is there in the mosquito? Continue reading

Ultimate Authority

book and hand pointing upwardA recent post by a thoughtful pastor friend reflects upon ultimate authority – and how it shapes our communities of faith.  It made me wonder: when push comes to shove, what is my ultimate authority?

I’ve lived long enough, failed enough, deceived myself enough to know that I need an authority outside myself.  I just can’t trust myself to be right all the time, even when I really, really think I am. Yet, there is no other human who meets the criteria, either. All are subject to the smallness of our own souls and our own perspectives. Continue reading