Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter sky

good morning Lord!
it is a good morning

because you ARE

bells are rung all over the world.
in every church
for us to hear
loud and clear

We have hope.

the air is fresh--
feels like
Presence.

so much i don't understand
about loved ones lost
about life, disease, death,
the natural course of things.

but what is true rings every bell

YOU
EMERGED
ALIVE

now you gladly
gleefully
turn on the sunlight
over the winter wetlands
soon the green shoots will soar past the gray.

the birchbark will light up
the birds will swoop and sing
a blue patch of sky opens up wide
around the clouds--
a smile from the upper reaches.

So
we can live freely in deep rooted joy
knowing there is infinite life
beyond what we thought to be
a closed gray system.

the blue is above
always above
the gray
and today
it is breaking through.

the light shines in the darkness;
the darkness
has not
will not
can not
overcome it.






Saturday, April 4, 2015

Transforming Center - Good Friday

Every several months, I have an opportunity to sing at a Transforming Center event. The Transforming Center is an organization founded and led by author and spiritual director Ruth Haley Barton dedicated to the health of the spiritual lives of church leaders.

It’s refreshing to me, after so many years of singing to large crowds in huge rooms, to sing simply, usually without amplification, in a small space, with simple accompaniment, as souls are stilled and contemplative.

That chapel vibe draws me into the company of Jesus.  I used to hang out in empty chapels and cathedrals when I could. This is the next best thing to that silence. It’s communal. It’s pure in so many ways.

So much that could distract is stripped away.  It’s organic and without bells and whistles.  It’s meditative and peace-inducing.

Especially on Good Friday.  We walked around like a clump of pilgrims around the chapel, revisiting the Stations of the Cross. There were beautiful and simple iconic images representing Jesus' journey from his trial before Pilate, through the agonies of his walk to the cross, the horror of his crucifixion, and his death and burial.  It's amazing how in that little space, with those images, I can imagine myself there.

Less is more.  Less stimulation somehow results in more imagination, a more vivid picture.  An ability to be more engaged and present.  It's fascinating how that works.

Ahhhhh… grateful to be a part of something so simple and beautiful.

Monday, March 30, 2015

note to self

so...
self--

instructions for today:

breathe

breathe

and be happy inside

because your joy
is helpful
nutritious
and healing
to your loved ones

even
especially
when they suffer

and...
self:

trust
that our Helper is with us
at the ready when we need His immediate aid

and on the watch
even when we don't

Sunday, March 29, 2015

bird feeder prayer

God, good morning.


Giver

Universal 

Cosmic 

All-creating 

All-encompassing 

Creative God.

God of grandeur, God of detail.


Aware God.

Protective God.

God who sees.

God who loves.


Observant God.

Lighter of the spark.

God who rouses.

Patient...
but passionate God.


God of times and seasons.

Animator of the grand universal flow.

and in no less detail or attention,

the flow of the blood and hormones

of each soul--

homeless, 

deep in illness

prostitute, hardened criminal,

child with cerebral palsy.

me.


Shepherd of each little sheep.

each puppy.

each infant.

each bird that crowds around the feeder.

whose idea was it that we plant and load a feeder
with seed, or to give us a feeder?

behind all of it, it must have been

and still is

YOU.

Maybe we are to load the feeder daily
to remind ourselves that You care about
the least little sparrow.

and You feed them.
through us or not.

they will be cared for.

the eyes of all wait upon Thee
(whether they know it or not)

and You give everything in its proper time


Author of peace

Generator of joy.

Easer of sorrow

humble kneeler down to serve

foot washer.


God of mysteries

and unsolvable riddles

Keeper of secrets of the universe

God of the great engine room
that powers all orbits and movement of galaxies

seasons and heartbeats

climates in good order

and climates in disarray


the God of patience and repair.


of planets

ecosystems

countries

families

and
human bodies


souls


the eyes of all wait upon Thee

even though some turn away and cannot look
because Your light is too bright


God who reaches

exerts

feels

longs

moves


grieves

shouts

weeps

regrets

sighs


picks up the pieces


God who stoops down to serve

cleans and washes


salves, restores

rebuilds

renews seasons

souls

unbreaks hearts

restores pulse

normalizes breathing


God who established weather patterns

who heaves deep sighs when we mess with them

God who rebuilds after the disaster

God who closes down summer

eases us with autumn

hardens the ground and grays the skies in winter

wakes us in spring


You are beyond description

there are not enough days or terrabytes
to capture even a microbe of who You are to us.


so silence is often our preferred communication

wonder is in our brains

and thanks is in our humbled hearts


thanks.

Friday, March 20, 2015

click scribble

God good morning
the light is rising
my eyes pry open
I sip the coffee
and begin to click the keys

in the early morning
on the keypad
there are no rules

I might flip over to pen and paper
to go deeper
a scribble of ink on a Moleskine
scrawling my heart out
opening a vein

click
scribble
click click

in return
YOU
open the doorway a crack
and I begin to sense You
in my instinct
on my radar

the space

the quiet of a lake
the woods
the desert
big sun
big sky
a deep night
a river alive
a rolling current
I reach
reach for You

wanting to go deeper
to get closer
to You
alive
not some cold distant version of You
packaged polished
and posted
on a billboard

but YOU
You with the bright sun
You with the big smile
and the unvarnished joy
unspun
running like the wind
coaxing me along

and then comes the calm

the calm
that rearranges my breath
the angels sing
and I don't want to move

still and open
to Your next word
from a world unknown

then the high pierce of my device alarm
shuts it all down
breaks it up
packs it up
back to earth
where the day
is already getting away

I close up
clean up
brush up
start up
and pull out
onto the pavement

while the holy mysteries
trail off in the rear view mirror
dissipating like dust
in my wake

see You tomorrow




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

breathing peace


Lord Jesus,

I know we are immensely precious to You.

I know nothing that happens in us or to us escapes Your notice or care.

Peace, be still.

The storm raged on the boat;  You calmed it with those words.

You can do the same for the storms within us.

What if, upon breathing in, we think or say out loud,

Jesus

...and, breathing out, we think or say

Peace, be still.

Perhaps this creates some space in us for You to work.

It's an exercise to dissipate anxiety, yes, but most importantly, it's a prayer, and a potential healing moment.

It's a garden of peace and rest in our soul that we visit and revisit, when our breathing is connected to Your Spirit.

Jesus...(in breath)

Peace, be still...(out breath)

repeat as needed

So important a medicine...done slowly...
slowly...

The inhale is the taking in and asking:

Jesus...

The exhale is receiving and allowing Jesus to calm the storm within,
and give peace to our body and soul.

Peace, be still.

What a gift.

As available,
and as present,
as the air we breathe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

snow through a new lens

gentle flurries float down with extraordinary grace

looks like God is sending a soothing salve
on to this inflamed earth

...or are they

tiny angel paratroopers?

every day, deliverances
large and small
we need them, each and all





Sunday, November 9, 2014

you were made for this day

a wise friend blessed me with those six words.  here's my take on what they might mean:

    ------------------

all that has gone before
every last crumb of your checkered past: 

your first shot at life
your upbringing
downbringing
your swings and misses
victory marches
your combat tooth and nail
failures on your face
your public mistakes

your scrambling 
desolation
re-education
restoration
survival
and revival

all of them brought squarely into this moment
by Your Maker Himself
shaping you
with His powerful holy hand
into NOW

NOW

arising up from the dark soil of your  life 
there emerges this
vibrant fruit
to be harvested 
in ways you could never fathom
in your wildest imagination

you
were made
for this day.






Saturday, November 1, 2014

a moving day

sometimes
you get more of a lift

when you try to lift a piano
to help a friend to move

than when you play a piano
to try to
move a room

Monday, October 27, 2014

kneelers

sometimes
God
i feel like we should
only sing
to
a few
at a time
over coffee on an open mic
or no mic at all
just human voice through the air

or in a small chapel
with kneelers
kneelers

knees to floor

in a posture of dependency
speaking, singing,
whispering
one stumbling child
to another

knowing that
You are
closer than the air
and
we
are all
in the same aching need of You 

and that
none of us
can be anything of use
to this gasping world
until You breathe on us
calm our souls with Your touch
and lift our weary bodies up to serve 

and then 
maybe
just maybe

we might be able to pull somebody
to safety

and maybe
just maybe

it will be
me

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.

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