Earth's crammed with heaven ~ and every common bush afire with God... E.B.B.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Annunciation

This, my morning prayer poem 
(It will accompany me for some time, I suspect)

Annunciation
by Marie Howe


Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does–

and so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as toward a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me


only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.


Friday, October 31, 2014

On the eve of All Saints

This just read from St. Clare
The journey of prayer is the discovery of God at the center of our lives. We pray not to acquire a relationship with God as if acquiring something that did not previously exist. Rather, we pray to disclose the image of God in which we are created, the God within us, that is, the one in whom we are created and in whom lies the seed of our identity. We pray so as to discover what we already have—“the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart.


It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between. Diane Ackerman

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Gorgeous Thing

I do not know what gorgeous thing
       the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
       beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
       whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
       that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
       in the world that is without
questions that can't and probably
       never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
       with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.
   ~Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jesus [Go to your inner room]


I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again.
        Etty Hillesum An Interrupted Life

Here’s what I want you to do:  Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
       Matthew 6:6 The Message

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our walls of division do not rise all the way to heaven. ~St. Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

And here is his morning prayer:

O Lord, grant that I may meet the coming day in peace. 
Help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. 
In each hour of the day reveal your will to me. 
Bless my dealings with all who surround me. 
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul, and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all.
In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. 
In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. 
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. 
Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. 
Direct my will. Teach me to pray. Pray within me.
Most Holy God, I pray and beseech you, give me a pure heart, a way of speaking that befits the faith I profess. Grant me uprightness of purpose, powers of reasoning unhindered by passions, conduct that becomes those who fear you, and perfect knowledge of your commandments. 
May I enjoy health in body and in spirit.
Grant me a life of peace, genuine faith and living hope, sincere charity and bountiful generosity, patience that knows no bounds and the light of Your truth to proclaim Your goodness to me, that for ever and in all things placing my trust only in You, I may abound in every good work, and that in Christ Your gifts may increase in every soul.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful. ~Amy Bloom

I love our coming together in the evenings...sharing our days events, the moments, things that touched us or distracted us; the people and things that occupy our hearts and minds in the days work.
Yesterday I was in the throes of secretly orchestrating a surprise party and went over to see how VBS set-up was going.  One of the VBS decorations was a life-sized cutout of a camel, and it looked just like one I have a photo of from the holy land.  Excited that I will soon be on pilgrimage there, I snapped a shot...me and the camel, for a bit of fun.
We pulled off the surprise too, a bridal shower to honor our sweetheart of a youth minister.  It was a wonderful gathering and so much joy was shared.  Her delight was on grand display, and she shared the moment so graciously with us all.  At the end, with her fiance there, we prayed a blessing over the couple.  All arms extended over them, heads bowed in prayer.  It is forever imprinted in my heart, and theirs too, I am sure.
As I shared these things with Roger, I showed him the photos of the party, and then appeared my camel shot!  He smiled and remarked how photogenic I am.  Told me I was beautiful.  I denied it, as I am so often critical of my own pictures and prefer to be the one snapping away great pics of others!  It is easy for me to see the beauty in others, in fact I am captivated by it.
But this morning I woke to this quote, my daily prayer prompt via email:

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful. 

Sometimes it just hits home, you know.  And I am feeling bountifully grateful for those dearest of loves in my life who encourage me, and see the beauty Love has planted in this imperfectly perfect child of God.
well, not quite life-sized, but a lot of fun!



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Pope Francis: “I ask for you (dads) the grace to be ever closer to your children, allow them to grow, but be close, close! They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love.”












Happy Father's Day to our sweet son, aka Pa-a, as his son calls him; my Dad and super fun grandpa, and my hubby - the best there is! May God our Father bless you in His love! And thank you each and all for blessing us with your fatherly care and loving ways!  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

See how The Lord takes care of me.

Waiting at the DMV and thinking of James Joyce describing the Church. Here comes everybody. DMV is a good image and a fun glimpse into the imagination of god in the body of Christ. Smiling grateful prayers...and then this;
The seat empties next to me and I hear someone pointing it out to another with clear directions.  A tall young man fumbles through and sits down, apologizing for the hand on my knee. A brief conversation follows until my number is called and off I go, reluctantly.  
I had just been talking with a young man blinded intentionally by his mother so he would not see the atrocities of his homeland, the horrors that were committed against his own family. Soft spoken, reflective and with an easy wide smile. He is getting his ID and is nervous how he looks. I told him he is handsome and he grinned "see how The Lord takes care of me". Useless to even try and hold back my tears when I am sitting here next to Jesus. See how The Lord takes care of me.
Buesking

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Poetic Rendering of The First Principle and Foundation Of Ignatius Loyola

Love made me -
Love sustains me -
Love leads me forth.

For this I sing praise,
bow low, and put
my life at the disposal of
Love.

Every tree - every
single star in the sky
points back toward
the Beloved.

May nothing pull me
away from Love - no
small wish of mine
next to the immensity
of the Beloved.

With the Beloved
may I shine.

~ Christine Rodgers


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.
Nkosi Johnson (1989-2001)
Zulu boy known for raising AIDS awareness

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thank you, Miss Gladd

When I was in 1st grade, I had Scarlet Fever...this back in the day when it was deadly serious.  First a stay in hospital in isolation, them home but still quarantined for some time. 
By the time I was permitted to return to school, I was still frail and was not able to play at recess.  Instead, I was benched.  Each day I sat, my back to the wall, and watched the children play, feeling blue that I could not join them.
My teacher was a wonderful woman, Miss Gladd, who lived up to her name.  After a couple days sitting there, feeling forgotten with nothing but my disappointment keeping my company, she came and sat beside me.  She'd brought a small piece of string.  She asked for my hand, and tied the piece of string to my finger, as she told me it's purpose.  She said to me, "This is to remind you that God has you on this bench for a reason"  and explained it was up to me to figure out what that reason was. 
I was stumped as I daily sat there pondering her words.  Then, and I remember this so well, my friend Susan came over and sat with me.  We were both just sitting there with our backs against the stucco wall, eyes on the playground, and she began to tell me about a sorrowful thing that was happening in her family.  She talked and I listened.  I don't remember saying anything to her at all.  And I don't recall what she shared specifically (God has gifted me in that way).  What I do remember is Miss Gladd coming to sit by me second recess, and telling me she'd seen that I'd maybe figured out a bit of why I am here.  I felt the grace of God, before I ever could have named it as such.  I do know in that moment there aroused in me a longing that stirs in me still, my first memorable inclination toward God.
On Fat Tuesday I came across a thin ring, made to look like a knot around your finger.  With that ring, this experience, long forgotten, came back to me in a rush as clear as the blue sky above.  I am wearing it for Lent, a reminder to remember that God has me 'on this bench' for a reason. 
I have learned since my childhood the wisdom of that first principle shared earlier for Ash Wednesday...everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

ASH WEDNESDAY

I ask for the grace of an intimate knowledge of God's presence in my life and an awareness of my own response.

While not typically thought of as a prayer, the first principle and foundation of the spiritual exercises contains much that is worth reflecting on as I enter my Lenten retreat 'in the midst of the world'.

God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life
to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God's deepening his life in me.
 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lent's Invitation

















You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.

John O'Donohue

Monday, February 24, 2014

There is a voice that stirs my longing, it is Christ

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

- Rainer Maria Rilke from: Book of Hours, I 59

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sacred Memory

The other day Kyla and I were working together to organize her room. We rediscovered a bag of stuffed animals etc. we'd put away and among the items was a baby doll she carried everywhere when she was toddling around. It was fun to share with her this happy reminder of precious days passed.
























Later we moved her little shrine to her bedside table.

 





















A holy card fell out, St. Kateri Tekawitha.























It has a relic, (a bit of red cloth) and Kyla commented that it was strange to think a piece of someone's clothing was sacred. I was surprised by my emotion as I shared with her that this bit of cloth was like her doll, which is 'just a doll' but also more, simply because it was hers, and is full of meaning and memory for us. She teared up too, 'getting it'. Happy grateful tears, a really good hug and yes, a sacred moment.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Roger wrote me this in 1971, true to his word and heart on his sleeve. What a joyous life we share, no matter what life has brought or may one day bring, to be in it together, my life's greatest blessing! 
 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

"Nothing is Lost" by Noel Coward

Friday, January 10, 2014

"What the Heart Cannot Forget"

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

~ by Joyce Sutphen, Coming Back to the Body

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pope Francis' Top Ten Things To Do in 2014

1. Don't gossip. Guard the dignity of all.
2. Take only what you need.  Don't waste food.
3. Make time for others. Make your time well spent.
4. Choose the 'more humble' purchase. Give to the more just cause.
5. Meet the poor 'in the flesh.' Go out and serve Christ.
6. Stop judging others. Start in love and kind-ness.
7. Befriend those who disagree. Find your common ground.
8. Make commitments. Keep them.
9. Make it a habit to 'ask the Lord.' Listen and He will help you.
10. Be happy. Live in the Joy of the gospel.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

God-is-with-us

It's been quiet here online,
though raucous enough in my life through advent’s waiting
the loss of my husband’s sister, my friend, who was also mother and daughter-loss
the rough road of one of our own who is trying with all she’s got to change her life
preparing for my moms visit (a rare and difficult thing for her to do, given her health, but she is vigorous in spirit)
family
hope and ache, loss and gain all tossed into December’s mulled offerings
and then comes the feast
Incarnation...God with skin, love enfleshed
I feel it in the happy chaos of child-Angels plucking feathers from their wings and robe-clad Shepherds making haste to greet the Christ child in the manger at Christmas Mass
Feel it as Lucas wraps his arms around my neck and I can still feel him so
As Conor kisses my forehead and I am so small beside him with his arm wrapped around me, Merry Christmas mom
And Leslie speaks her thanks and I feel her breath carry tenderness to my ear, her smile, delight to my eyes
When Kate calls, anxious about many things while I hear her own babies in the background, and though apart, a grown child’s need and a mother’s reassurance bridge the gap
And Jessica catches me in the pantry, after taking the girls on 'the best day ever!', confiding her renewed perspective; later we linger while the house sleeps and I am grateful for this closeness
Watching Henry laughing at the glad welcome he receives, the family embrace is everywhere
With my Mom close by, watching me in the kitchen, later bragging about her girl, we sit and I hold her crooked hand
Catching Roger’s eyes across the room, conspiracy of grace, again and again he sees, every petal reads ‘he loves me’
With Kyla and her scooting close, childhoods joys
The door swings wide, again and again as family arrives.
We join hands to pray, feast on food and wine
there are quiet chats in corners, the grandmothers commiserate
while games & laughter drift in on the air
We gather crowded close to open our gifts
All advent I heard the whisper and as I sit back and watch, I hear it again under the playful exchange...
I am not coming...I am here

Friday, November 8, 2013

For Sharon

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
    Excerpt from Tagore's The gardener 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. Diane Ackerman

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Listen and attend with the ear of your heart - St. Benedict

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
-John Fox

 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MIRACLE FAIR












The commonplace miracle:
that so many common miracles take place.

The usual miracles:
invisible dogs barking
in the dead of night.

One of many miracles:
a small and airy cloud
is able to upstage the massive moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder is reflected in the water
and is reversed from left to right
and grows from crown to root
and never hits bottom
though the water isn't deep.

A run-of-the-mill miracle:
winds mild to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

A miracle in the first place:
cows will be cows.

Next but not least:
just this cherry orchard
from just this cherry pit.

A miracle minus top hat and tails:
fluttering white doves.

A miracle (what else can you call it):
the sun rose today at three fourteen a.m.
and will set tonight at one past eight.

A miracle that's lost on us:
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers
but still it's got more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the inescapable earth.

An extra miracle, extra and ordinary:
the unthinkable
can be thought.
   

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Praying for family (Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria)

I gathered prayers all week, rising early to offer my holy hour of prayer and fasting as the people of the world unite today for peace, though in truth the prayer for peace has been companioning me through these days. Why wait...
My own heart overwhelmed with the immensity of need, I found myself placing the need constantly before the Lord, only held out my hands and offered one word - Syria - to the Father's heart.
This morning, though, I read through those gathered prayers.  I prayed them slowly and with full intention in early morning darkness. I thought of all the others who were joining me in prayer unseen this morning...some in the comforts of their homes, some in churches, but also in shelters and on streets, in temples and especially those living in the midst of the terror we are praying to end.  When I got to the last, a litany of Mary of Nazareth, my heart broke wide open.  The myth of separation was again torn apart... those written prayers did their work, words I never would have thought of on my own pointed the way and I did follow. 
The power of prayer is not just to change circumstances...the very act of praying changes us!  May the example of Mary's humanity and the full humanity of her Son Jesus bring us all home to ourselves...to the oh so very human FAMILY of GOD...
 

Friday, September 6, 2013

God bless Fr Sheahan. Gifted with 2 loaves of gorgeous homemade Irish bread he kindly shared. Perfect ending to the day and saved a bit for morning too!  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rest in Peace Seamus Heaney. So often your poetry did 'catch [my] heart off guard and blow it open'!

 Postscript

And some time make the time to drive out west...
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open

Seamus Heaney
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Praying

"I believe that God wants a personal relationship, an adult friendship, with each of us and that prayer is the best way of engaging in that friendship. By prayer I mean what occurs when I am conscious in some way of God’s presence. So prayer can be as simple as watching a child trying to speak words, looking at sunlight glancing off snow-covered trees, playing with your dog, feeling the wind on your face, hearing birds sing, smelling bacon sizzling in a frying pan, looking at someone you love; all can be prayer if you’re aware of God’s presence as you take in these experiences."

--Excerpted from Praying the Truth by William A. Barry, SJ.







Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reunion

I just returned from Indiana for our family's 50th reunion. 
We live 2000 miles away, so it was wonderful to reconnect, to feel the love and share the memories, to sit outside in the cool of the evening with late lingering talk, slow and easy.
But something else was happening as well.  It started when I saw my cousin, heard that voice so familiar though I hadn't heard it in eons...
Memory...
With amazing physical clarity, keenly sensate  (which is not the same as accuracy, mind you)
I remembered the feel of the air along the path behind Uncle Wes' that led through a wild field to adventure...
The hall's quiet captured light at Uncle Charlie's that led to Kathy's room, where we'd sit on the bed and talk in secret...
Uncle Daryl laughing affectionately with me beside his shining car, with his sparkling smiling eyes, standing in the driveway...
My hands on the edge of the counter, waiting to get an ice cream with Uncle Tony...
Danny's bike with the playing cards clothes-pinned to his back wheel...
The gravel crunch under my feet at Uncle Dickies car lot...
Grandma's old colander in my hands picking blueberries ...

The power of place, of objects, of things we pay no attention to in our youth, but find, as we grow older, how they have laid their claim on us none-the-less.  The gifts we receive unawares...

My Mom with two of her brother's, Danny & Daryl

 







Smiling Chai, Laughing with Kyla




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Summer's evening is for this...

I know the idiot's warehouse is always full
I know each of us
could run back and forth all day long
and show everyone our vast collection
though tonight...retire from the madness for an hour.
...
Gather with some friends or sit alone
and sing beautiful songs to God.
-Hafiz

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Uncle Tony


My Uncle Tony, Lord rest him, has gone to God. 
He was a gem of a man - the patriarch of the family (big brother to a dozen siblings, including my mom!) when his own father died. A man of good humor, constancy and a great appreciation for life! He is threaded through my childhood memories.
He taught me to value curiosity:
He worked in the steel mills and his garage/workshop was scattered with magnets - magic for any child.  We could search out magnetic bits in the dirt like treasure hunters!  He knew how to play, explore, wonder.  Introducing us to magnets was to make of us appreciative explorers of the mysteries before us.

He taught me how to pluck a chicken:
A sight and experience I recall, but not pleasantly, so I will spare you the details...
He taught me to while away an afternoon in a backyard hammock:
I must have complained of 'nothing to do' because he led me to the backyard with great sobriety, to a hammock on a stand in the shade, and he lay down with me beside him.  Will you look at those branches.  We chatted awhile, and he told me this was a good thing to do when I didn't know what to do, just to lie here and look, to think about anything or nothing at all.  Then he went back into the house.  But he took the time to teach me a valuable lesson firsthand.  And he got me out of his hair!
He taught me to hang out in the kitchen for the latest scoop:
He was always there.  Sitting at the kitchen table, or standing with a dishtowel in hand.  He'd quietly laugh at the things he heard, a good listener.  Unobtrusive, he got all the juicy details.  He'd watch me, watching him, chin on the table, let me stay until the conversation took some turn and he'd shoosh me out.  I always wondered what it was the grownups talked about that I couldn't hear.  But it didn't bother me.  I just headed out to the hammock...

Without Intention

I wake in the night.  Cricket song fills the air, so expansive I can barely hear the hum of the fan at the foot of the bed as I lay beneath the thin summer sheet.  I listen awhile and then realize I am thanking God for such a moment, and all the graces this has stirred within me.  Thus occupied, thoughts flow easily in gratitude until I am overcome.  And then I hear it...silence.  The crickets have quit their song.  I hear the hum of the fan at the foot of the bed as I lay beneath the thin summer sheet.  I hear my husbands steady breathing.  I roll over, settle in, and sleep.
Helen Masacz - Empty Bed / How Can You Sleep At Night. Oil on Board

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunday's Gospel...
















This image of Martha and Mary caught my eye...do we listen to Jesus from 'a safe distance', even while in the same house, doing what is necessary in our own minds, or will we allow ourselves to be drawn intimately closer...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Walking

The thin veil, communion of saints "Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. 'Be still,' they say. 'Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.' "  ThankFULL for all the love that I have known...for all the love that I have received unawares...

In the world to come I shall not be asked,
"Why were you not Moses?" 
I shall be asked, "Why were you not Zusya?"

-Rabbi Zusya

Friday, June 21, 2013

Daily

  by Naomi Shihab Nye
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
 
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
 
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
 
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
 
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
 
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
 
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love this

Plant
So that your own heart
Will grow.
Love
So God will think,
“Ahhhhh,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Rolls.”
Sing
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Needs.
Laugh
Because that is the purest
Sound.
-Hafiz

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lord, the air smells good today, 
straight from the mysteries 
within the inner courts of God. 

A grace like new clothes thrown 
across the garden, free medicine for everybody. 

The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise, 
the first blue violets kneeling. 

Whatever came from Being is caught up in being,  
drunkenly 
forgetting the way back. 

Rumi (Lord, the Air Smells Good Today, 13th Century)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unarmed Truth & Unconditional Love

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.  
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this image of 'unarmed truth'.  We hear that phrase 'to speak the truth in love' but his words move it from a pious phrase to such a visual image of true humility. 

unarmed: without weaponry ( anything to injure, defeat or destroy) to have empty arms, to not hold something that provides security, strength, or efficacy to defend oneself...

This is how my husband speaks to me; with unarmed truth and with my closest human experience of unconditional love.  He speaks the truth to me; and even if it stings I see it is because the truth wants to live in me more fully and I have, in that moment at least, resisted.  He disarms me.

When I think of my human experience of unconditional love I think of my own children (and for that, all children) in that wonderful baby to child phase of wide open arms.  How they would rush into me with joyous abandon whether in affection or need.  How they could speak to me, even without words, and how I long for that truth to live in me more completely...to believe I am loved unconditionally, and to be that same love.  This is my image of God.  And from that place, as james taylor sang, to shower the people you love with love

My failings are close to home.  Those moments when unarmed truth is not chosen and I pick up the weaponry (I am right, or the one in control here, or just too tired of this)

Thankfully, I don't have the final word.  Dr. King was right.  Unarmed truth and unconditional love do have the final word, not in some last day when the world reaches it's conclusion, but each day, and having received, I offer my deep felt amen to God's grace.  May unarmed truth and unconditional love have the final word in me and you.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

FAITH

This photo of our grandson always prompts gratitude and a smile...
to remember how securely love holds us...
and to savor the many blessings of life with wild abandon and confident joy

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello World

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.        Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Picking Blueberries

When I was a girl I spent my summer days with my brother at my grandmother's house.  I tagged along with her each day, her 'helper', while my brother looked for mischief with Danny, our youngest uncle.  We did the laundry and she would let me run the wet clothes through the wringer (once getting my hand and arm stuck, which remarkably did not cause me to lose my arm though that is what flashed before me as I saw myself looking more like my uncle Dickie -who'd lost an arm to polio as a child).  We baked sticky bread, and ate it with cups of cream with a splash of coffee.  After lunch we'd sit on the porch to rest awhile, watch the weather, quiet.  Sometimes, standing in her kitchen, grandma would call to me, hand me an old colander, and say 'let's go pick some blueberries'.  She had bushes along her back yard, and I'd hold the handles, lifting it's bowl to catch the berries she'd drop in by the handfuls. 
I was browsing when I came upon an old colander that conjured up this memory.  I had never seen one like grandma's in all these years, and there it was.  I was glad for the prompt.
Months later, I came across it again, still there in the etsy shop, and this time I bought it.
By the time it arrived, I'd forgotten again.  We were standing in the kitchen when I opened it, lifted it in my hands while the surprise of tears spilled out.  I was 9 years old, my hands feeling the handles as though it were only yesterday, the patina of memory timeless.  I told my husband I don't know why I'm crying, and he looked at me smiling.  I think he saw the girl I was remembering...