Saturday, October 25, 2014

focus

multitasking is dangerous.  

it's not efficient;  
it's doing everything a little bit worse. 

a LOT worse.

it's putting others in harm's way, and I am the harm.

to be fully present as I walk through the world is not a trendy luxury.

it's discipline.  
it's survival.

it's protecting others against the careless version of myself.

it's got to stop.
the mindlessness
the carelessness
the shoddy and the shabby
the kneejerk 
preoccupied
asleep-at-the-switch thing.

life is a practice
not a reactive flailing headlong plow through the world with one headlight out

we each are given our body space on the planet
and a measure of free will 
and the risk to others 
that accompanies such a gift.

and what is asked in return…

before love
before accomplishment
before art
before anything…

is Focus.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

piano

So I couldn't figure out why this poem popped out yesterday morning.  It was sunny, a summer day.  I was feeling chipper...my piano is in good shape and I play it...you know....it's not really literal...not about me...

I realize that it's probably grief over my mom's passing coming out in verse.  She brought music into the world, to so many people, into our family, into me. 

i stare at the keys
black and whites
they don't weep
and they don't speak
the fingers that used to create with a touch
are long long gone

and the silence

cries out

Friday, June 6, 2014

could we be one

Just found this in my journal--an entry from 2007… the question still remains...


could we be one
in some other universe
some other time
when all differences and antagonisms
are melted away in the heat of the light of the Son
when love rules
and we all bow low
and acknowledge the holy
and feel the breath of the Spirit
in each of us
regardless of distinctions
and adversarial positions
the old things are passed away
behold the new has come
and none of that matters
in the face of something so

brilliant


Thursday, May 22, 2014

more than You love the dawn


I see how You love the dawn to life
turn the night into day
simmering up the heat and the light
until it is brought to perfection

I see the lights of the cars
tracking their way across my field of vision
right to left on a smooth straight line
and I see how You get each human inside
out of the bed in the morning to dwell in another day
I assume each one is lonely
and it may well be true
but You also work with each heart
from the inside out
from the outside in
as much as they will let you
to simmer up the warmth and the light
until they are brought to perfection
because You love each soul
more than You love the dawn

and You got me out of bed this morning
left to right in an awkward broken line
you work with my heart
from the inside out
from the outside in
to simmer up some light and some warmth
to soften and light my darkness
gradually
until I am brought to perfection
as much that is as I will let You
which is sometimes very little
but You keep on simmering me
because You love my soul
more than You love the dawn
that I stumble out of the bed to watch.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

what if i….

Hello good people!  This is my second post of the spring.  Spring came late, so are my posts, I guess.  A song I wrote a long time ago came to mind this morning, and I feel like God brought it back into my consciousness.  I see this reminder now as Jesus, my Teacher, with a twinkle in His eye, saying, 

"There's a better way… it's right there in the words of the song I gave you so many years ago…remember?  You and I have talked about this theme many times.  More to learn here, my student, my child.  Read it again."  



what if I let go my grasp
of all the things that raise me higher
what if I gave my life
as a gift
blessed and broken
for the poor of every kind
poor as I am inside

would there be less of me
would I become a nobody
or would I finally be
the best of what you had in mind
for me?

what if I crucified all my pride
and upward striving
put an end to dreams of fame
bigger things
and social climbing
made myself more teachable
reachable
invisible

would there be less of me
would I become a nobody
or would I finally be
the best of what you had in mind
for me?

one finger at a time
loosen my hold on the pride that I cling to
then walk me by the hand
lower and lower
down to the places You go

cause I need to go with You
wherever You take me to

what if I had seen the way
You endured humiliation
seen You go so deathly low
to secure my own salvation

how could I then live a lie
pretending I’m up here so high?

give me the heart to see
how You became a nobody
and showed me the way to be
the best of what You had in mind
the rest of what You had in mind
the best of what You had in mind for me

what if I
crucified
all my pride?



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

first outdoor run of spring

i was grateful to be at Citizens Park,
running the paths, navigating the melting ice--
the first outdoor run of the spring,
when everything, though muddy, is fresh.

to be able to breathe outdoor air,
to own the gift of respiration.
the natural rhythms of the body,
in coordination.

grateful for fresh outdoor air, for life, for health.

for the calm that follows the storm.
for the freshness that melts the ice.
for the exhilaration of being mobile and alive.

it seems more precious to me than ever
partly because of the 
deliverance
from the constant recirculated air of winter.

because much of the season,
we were in
tight rooms 
and long eternal hallways.

to have a taste of spring,
of raw fresh soil outside muddying my running shoes,
a burst of freshness that I don't take for granted,
at least not today.

thank You for recovery
and the relative peace after the blizzards.

the quiet picking up of our lives
and holding them up to the sunlight.

coming up for air

Hello again, friends.

Since last I posted, aeons ago, I've needed all my energy to help Corinne through a process which involves many tests and a major surgery.  I'm happy to report she is on the mend and on her way to health.  

Simultaneously, though, when Corinne was turning the corner, my mom, Pat Ferguson, was diagnosed with stage 4 aggressive cancer.  As Corinne gained steam, my mom declined--heartbreakingly fast.  Mom passed from earth to heaven a short time ago, and we celebrated her life in a memorial service this past Sunday.



It was so poignant to tell her life story as a family, each in turn telling a chapter.  Singing the songs she loved, thanking God for her extraordinary life.  And extraordinary it was.  How blessed and graced we were to have her as our mom.

And how deep the void now where her shining presence was.

Only now, in the calm that follows the whirlwind, can I begin to post my thoughts and prayers again. 

Only now do I begin to come out from my tunnel and see the daylight and feel my pulse normalize.

Now I get my bearings and look around like a groundhog coming out from hibernation.


Good morning sky. 
Good morning melting snow.  
Good morning spring rain.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

a prayer for the New Year (reprised for 2014)

Hey friends-- I wrote out this prayer and posted it at the very beginning of 2011.  I read it again this morning on the brink of 2014.   

As many of you know, I haven't posted in quite a while--I've had my hands full.  This past year has been a challenging one for us, and so these words feel very real and alive to me.  I re-posted it in the hope that this could be fuel for your own prayer for the new year, and that brilliant HOPE will be very much alive for all of us!


God I give You
last year
with its close calls
rescues
traps and sorrows
collapses and renewals
crises and joys
stains and scars

and I hope somehow
I lived it well
in Your wise eyes.

I give You this new year
with all its bright and shine
caution and hope
I lift it high up to You now
when it has barely broken the horizon

take it up into Your hands
along with my soul
look them over with Your keen eye
trim away the chaff
the chaos
the reticence
and re-fire me to go
poised at the gate
fueled with hope
blackened with the burn marks from last year
but rich with the hard-won lessons
and ready to go again
as the planet is ready
for a new revolution around the sun

there is much to learn
adventures to welcome and not to fear
as I step onto Your proving ground
knowing You post Your angels everywhere
and that the same providence
that guided me through the last wild ride
is all still there
ever aware
on the watch
and worthy of my second-by-second trust.

O God
say the word
I'm ready to go
into the rising New Year
even though
my knees might be shaking
a little
from the old one.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

whoa

He has shown you, O man, what is good. 
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.  
  Micah 6:8

------

whoa

what if

the whole thing
is just to

show up

with a buoyant
peaceable
spirit

and do something
you do well

something that makes the lives of others

somehow
better

and then
the next day

do it again

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

hymn to the wild sky


At 5 this morning I watched a summer storm power up and race across our backyard--a front row seat to a huge show, a display that I usually miss because I'm focused on something else.  I wrote this poem with one eye on the sky and one eye on our ancient roof, hoping the storm would stay out where it belonged. :-)  

hymn to the wild sky

our Father in heaven
i am watching Your power 
written in bold dark clouds across the sky 
right to left, driven by wind  
water plummeting from the heights
feeding the bursting thirsty foliage 

no sirens
no warnings

but a charged-up sky is sparking and seething
the wrestling of lightning and wind
torrential window rattling chest pounding 
deep earth rumbling
and big sky splitting open

this fierce dance of the high atmosphere 
appears wild and chaotic to us
but it is in fact
obedient to laws
that You wrote 
on the expanse of the cosmos
at the moment of creation

Let there be--
and it is

You show off Your vibrancy in such a storm
You rouse the heavens and shout for joy
for life
the exuberance of a Creator
expressing Your existence in a burst of furious love
I AM
You bellow 
and the earth responds with life

(except
for we
sophisticated
humans
with our headphones on)

how is it 

that outside
the Voice of God thunders 
separated from our flesh by an eighth of an inch of glass
and we bury that Voice 
we little minds gazing at our screens
sucking in 
prefabricated ideas 
human invention 
promotion
and radiation

while just three feet away
the world is being oxygenated
created and recreated
by a Mind so much greater than our own

?






Tuesday, June 11, 2013

healing the space


Saying it, breathing it, receiving it...

healing the space

Your light is coming up
Your pure light diffusing into this space
dark words and fears losing their power
evaporating
giving way to healing
the dawn pouring its new oil into loved ones as they sleep
any and all toxins retreat
scattering
as my soul opens skyward 
reaching for Your Holy Spirit 

Lord let the dark old story
scrawled on these barren pages
be rewritten 
in Your bright new ink

Lord here we are 
here we are
breathing You in
opening our pores to Your grace

courage is coming
we feel it building
spirits lift even in our sleep
deep calling to deep
our cells cry to you 
stretching upward
grasping for Your restoration
YES

YES we will be healed
YES this space
that we walk sleep eat and dream in 
will be cleansed
we will stand again
smile a deep smile
and lift our souls up to Your brilliant Light

all will be well
all will be well

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

give You this day

A prayer to invite God into everything...

give You this day

come Lord Jesus

into my focus
into my awareness
into my sensibilities
my fears

my ability to love
my resolve to act

come Lord Jesus

into my pace
my breathing

into my mind
sharpen it

into my decisions
guide them surely

into my body
tune it

into my perception
attune it

into my eyes
brighten them

into my my conversations
season them

into my faith
make it solid

into my senses
make them vibrant

into my center
make it hold

into my affections
make them true

into my attention
steer it

let me sense
You breathing inside of me

let me submit
to Your guidance system

let me respond
fluidly
to Your spark of inspiration

let me live this day
animated by You
quickened by You
given fresh oxygen from You

for I am Yours
willingly
joyfully
and
with a great exhale

i give You this day

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

back again

the birch tree in the backyard
was a branchless
skeletal white trunk
just a few short summers ago
written off for dead.

yet here it is!
bursting, re-thriving
green fireworks erupting
wildly resurrected for yet another year
the green fuse of life
re-routes itself
reconfiguring
forging new pathways to the light...

the reports of its demise
were greatly exaggerated



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hold On: for Boston 4/15/13

I wrote the song Hold On the day of September 11, 2001, as events were unfolding with ferocity.  In the vacuum that brought New York, and all of us, to our knees in those days, gasping for breath, the question arose in the throats of many of us, "where does God fit into all this?" This song was my way of dealing with it.  

Now, in the wake of Boston 4/15/13, I was stunned to realize how much this song speaks to the current tragedy.   I'm re-posting Hold On in hope that it might in some way be a comfort to those who are reeling from the events of the past couple of weeks.

Link to recording of "Hold On"

hold on

despite the devastation now
beyond the things I'll never understand
God I'm reaching for Your hand
beyond the questions hanging here
despite the awkward silence in the air
I believe that You're still there

and I'll hold on to the Voice that calls my name
hold on to the Heart that feels the pain
hold on to the promise that remains
hold on

and I'll hold on to the Hand that gently guides
hold on to the strength that's left inside
the shreds of belief that just won't die
hold on

the gift of one more day begins
the act of breathing out and breathing in
the will to start again
one more day to serve, to give
to reach beyond the wreckage and to live
to respect the sacred gift

hold on though the world is not the same
hold on to the God who'll never change
hold on to the fragments of your faith
hold on

hold on and believe the Holy One
and know that His justice will be done
hold on to the Kingdom yet to come
hold on

and just hold on for the world is turning still
despite every tremor we will feel
hold on for eternal life is real
hold on

and just hold on though the mountains fall apart
the pieces of hope left in our hearts
will hold us until the healing starts
hold on

just hold on.


©2001 Greg Ferguson.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

prayer for the new



Lord God 
don't let this year be
a mere copy of last year

breathe your Spirit into this year fresh
give it the color and heat of Your intent
the radiance of Your vision
the fire of Your love
the power to carry out Your dream
swiftly and strongly

let this year shine like a brilliant sun
and let us thrive 
in its light

Saturday, January 12, 2013

watchful eye


i'm on the lookout for the holy
for the numinous
it's everywhere
but is best caught in the lowest of light
when the distractions of our world
are hidden for a time
dormant for a few hours

then the watching souls
who are awake
get an opportunity to catch
the faintest of a glimpse
a vibe the inner senses detect
a stillness beyond stillness
a light that broods over the earth
in the earliest dawn
or the deep dusk

then i hold my breath

then the holy comes out to play

and maybe
just maybe

God will speak

Thursday, November 22, 2012

prayer of thanks


thank you deep breathing
thank you self care 
soul care

silent short simple prayer

thank you trusted confidants
true connectedness

unquenchable spirits
unbreakable trust

thank you freedom to fail
and fail fast
regrouping rebuilding
and learning from the past
getting back up and trying again

thank you brothers 
sisters 
and friends

thank you sabbath
deliberation
defusing temptation to cave in
thank you confession
listening ear 

thank you inclusion
acceptance
resilience

picking up the shards of broken glass
another chance
a second pass

thank you perseverance
determination
deliverance 
the road to redemption

and thank you 
thank you
thank you

salvation

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

minimalist morning prayer

the sky is brightening
from black to deep blue to red
tinges of sunlight around the edges
unfamiliar birds are flying in a V
from left to right

some mornings
a couple of short phrases of prayer
not spoken but breathed
are all that's needed

it's enough

my soul inhales the silence
and exhales remaining cares
finding God's attentive stillness
in the spaces of the sky


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

prayer for the fight

yesterday morning i needed to pray this prayer, to have the strength to rise up with courage to face a challenge that demanded the best from me--more than i thought i had in me.  



o God

i have given myself to you as my Lord and Commander.

now is the test--
now the challenge.

i submit again to Your authority over my heart,
the floodgates of pure faith you wish to open in me.

steer my vision,
arouse my trust,
wake up my courage,
the love in me.

be Lord of my resolve,
Lord of my fear.
Lord of my words,
my demeanor,
my countenance.

Lord of my posture,
my will to give.

sharpen my eye,
quicken my intuition.
awaken my expressiveness.
open wide the doors of encouragement
and let love fly free.

strengthen my backbone.
leave no loving or protective word unsaid in me,
no act of bold support undone.

let me be fully the healer,
the advocate, protector--
eyes of love, resolve of steel,
radiating Your joy and light
and your
strong,
unconquerable
Hope.





Saturday, August 11, 2012

full text of Zulu Time Summit session 1 opener video


Hi friends,
It's a longer-than-usual post... but i hope it's rewarding :-)
You can also find this at willow creek association blog:  www.wcablog.com

zulu time

06:00 hours: 
Zulu time
the sun emerges predictably red on the horizon

start the clock on the day

and we humans
emerge from our stasis,
our sleep
and we take up the responsibility
of free will
mostly unaware that we are
inexorably

connected
one to another
in invisible pathways

jetstreams
shipping lanes
prevailing winds
genetic strains
climate patterns
tidal pulls
the mysterious inroads of prayer

connected:
when one is lost, another grieves
when one is hurt, another bleeds
06:01
this day is in our hands...

what will we do with it?
  
a visionary speaker
sparks an innovator
a design takes shape
wheels set in motion
giving birth to a movement
spreading like a flame
through a church
an enterprise
a city
sparking new ideas 
new adrenaline
walls fall and doors swing open
giving life and hope to
tens
hundreds thousands
moving mountains

feel it?—
potential
it’s everywhere

 a quiver in the atmosphere
disturbing the Pacific Rim
fears in Japan
spark prayers in Berlin

connected

a flashing light
an ambulance siren
a freakish cold spell in Lisbon
child and father under blankets
shivering by the bank on
Boulevard St Germaine
Paris
Hanover Street in Baltimore
by the convenience store
look in those eyes
movement in the ocean floor
Singapore
Bucharest
Malawi
United Nations
Children without vaccinations
09:00 hours Zulu time

leaders gather in New York
scribbled notes from a speech
pen and ink on a Moleskine,
three inspired physicians
having made a point to listen
now engage in conversation
posing the question
will these great minds be moved...
to action?

they wish to learn
they book a flight
wings lift off into the night
passport check
security
Jakarta
Rwanda
Congo Kinshasa
sworn enemies
humble themselves
before a 40 inch screen
(as praying souls in Paraguay hold their breath
on their behalf)
 ...unprecedented

they gather to learn
to heal and to hear
hands join in prayer
clearing the air
listening,
open
willing to be moved...
letting go the deepest of the wounds..
reconciling
excising the fear
brothers
for the first time...
in one hundred years

instantaneous paths of prayer
whisper synced from here to there
decisions to leave
decisions to stay
soldiers drop to their knees to pray
13:00 hours

Syria
Libya
taking up arms
alert
alarms
worldwide protests
desperate prayer requests
old regimes fall
new ones rise
sleeping churches come alive
calls to action
cyber campaigns
after the drought
comes at last...
the rain

Sao Paolo
Corcovado
statue of Christ with open hands
voiceless children
white hot sand
Chicago
Krakow
Amsterdam
commerce
drug trade
street lights
gang signs...
follow down every pathway
Palestine
Mumbai
slums of the Dalit
zoom in on Cairo
the Zabaleen
Garbage city
children’s unprotected souls and feet

one woman listens to the Voice
in the silence
and an idea
catches fire...
in the desert wind
the dry season ends....
the healing.. begins

South Asia
a church in a city that must not be named
one step away
from being found out
shut down
incarcerated
but.. for the prayers in
Des Moines...
and Bahrain

always listen..
watch the streets..
read the signs..
between the lines..

baptisms
in hiding
in tubs
in fonts
in pools
in lakes
the cleansing water
the tides
the surf..
tsunami
Tokyo
from the heat of desperation
comes... connection
Japanese youth
take up a collection
for reconstruction
digging out from under the quake
caring for those left in the wake
spending themselves for the sake
of the broken

what it takes...
is one listening ear...
wherever you are..
tuning in...
finger to the wind...
a willingness to be moved

23:59 hours: 
zulu time

the stars glow predictably white in the black night sky

some keen observers connect the dots
and see them as constellations

others of scientific mind
see them carried along with us in a vast gravitational sweep
that moves galaxies

others see each star as an unrelated...
disconnected...
individual point of light..
all on its own...
alone..
in the universe

each awake and looking human being
takes one last look at those brilliant points of light...
and drifts off to sleep

reset the clock for one more day

...what will we do with it? 

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