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]

Not. Perfect.

learning to walk

So, here’s a surprise for you:
I’m not perfect.
Never have been.

In fact, perfect isn’t so good,
‘Cause you’d have to stop right there.
Any move from perfect goes away from it.

And perfect –
Doesn’t have many friends.
Too insufferable; too lonely.

What I am; what you are
Is unfolding; growing; transforming,
All of which embrace imperfection at their start.

Like a little one,
Learning to crawl; learning to stand;
It can be a lovely, messy process.

What it requires is a loving environment.
Where each new step is cherished
And loving arms reach out to hold you through it all.

I am grateful to have such arms around me.
We fall together; we help each other up; we laugh.
Perfect! (not.)

[photo by wrk per cc 2.0]

The short list

A list of things that will pass:

  • The soft sighs of a sleeping childpeaceful sleep
  • Spring’s cool mornings
  • Flowers that wake after a rain
  • The ache of yesterday’s exercise
  • The strength of my resolve
  • The urgent demands of this day
  • The current political mess
  • The opportunity on my doorstep
  • This, this, this, too.

A list of things that will not change:

  • God’s love in all of this

At last, I can breathe again. Nothing is too precious or too painful to be outside the realm of the embrace of love. I am grateful.

[photo is my own … already she has changed]
[Thanks to Brene Brown for her work on foreboding joy.]

small offering

dirty handsMy hands are dirty
My heart is muddled
My gift, impure.

And yet …
My space within the world could use a little kindness,
And so, I give my broken offering.
Not perfect, but still a contribution.

My piece, with yours.
Evoking more.
The space between us,
Bridged with light.

[photo by Leonie per cc 2.0, with a nod to Lenard Cohen]

honest encounter

contemplation

So, here is my quandary:
I want to come to you in honest embrace,
But honesty is so hard.
My nakedness is far too embarrassing.
Yet only naked honesty is worthy of your time … or mine.

It is not your mask I desire, but your dear face.
And your touch, not upon a fancied-up painting of myself,
But on my very soul.
I cannot send a proxy to encounter you.
I must come, myself.

And that is my deepest hope and greatest fear.
If I really come, will you embrace?
If you were to turn aside, my soul would die.
Yet, if I do not come … I’ll starve.

Holy one, you can see the mess I’m in.
What shall I do?

Shhh, my little one. Shhh.
I can see the mess, it’s true.
But I have embraced your naked soul from the moment I called it forth.
Never has it left my loving gaze.
Never have I turned away.
Never have I felt disgust or even mild disdain,
For you are precious to me.
Sometimes, though, I must admit, the silly costumes you try on
Can make me shake my head in wonder.

Know this – though the world may object –
You are my creation and bear the imprint of my love.
Relax in my embrace, and even the things within yourself that make you cringe,
Even those … can be redeemed, renewed, and reconciled.
All, all, all can grow luminous in my love –
And in that light, all will seem as a gift.

I do love you.
You, you, very you, I do love.

My love is the very essence of who I am –
the ground of your own creation –
and the undeniable reality of our every encounter.

It cannot be otherwise.

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[photo by Doc List per cc 2.0]

morning connection

morning sunrise

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.

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[photo by Norm Smith per cc 2.0]