December 9, 2013
If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person.
Random: without definite aim, reason, or pattern.
There is no rhyme or reason, aim or pattern, just words falling from my fingertips birthed in prayers, prayers that you draw near to the God Who draws near to you and loves you no matter what church or state says. Words are simple enough to be understood and teach and strong enough to make a heart break or make a heart blossom.
I am learning that Life begins at the point where my comfort zone ends.
God’s greatest gift is unconditional Love and God’s greatest promise is eternal Presence.
If I am unable to see God in the profane as much as I do in the profound, then I am missing half the story.
Worry is an activity of the mind, not the heart. And it is the action of a mind which does not believe or understand its’ connection to God.
Remember this one every time you meet someone, especially someone you do not like or agree with: everyone has a past (everyone!); everyone has a story; and everyone is on a Journey.
God is present in all circumstances…all of them. There is divine purpose behind everything, all things, and therefore Divine Presence in everything. So as painful and hard as it is to grasp, all things and all circumstances stand with the will of God. It is hard to grasp that when looking n the pain of loss, death, violation, poverty, abuse and violence. But in truth, God has given us all the power, presence and perseverance we need to prevent and end these, but we have not employed these gifts to their higher purpose. Remember, there are no victims and there are no villains and in the end of all time, everything will be swallowed up in Love and Mercy.
Prayer is my conversation with God, which leads to friendship with God, which in turn leads to communion with God which ends in my union with God.
I agree with Mimi Dixon’s musings on Advent, and in my words I have four things that I surmise: God rarely operates within my (or any human) frame of reference; God does not operate under any or anyone’s timetables because God is infinite and eternal and time is a human construct that attempts to measure time and space, here and there. But God operates in the place and space of ‘no time’ so therefore any and every time is the perfect time for all time with God is Now.
Whew…that one hurt my brain.
And the final two: the obvious one, God’s ways are not our ways; and, God is way more comfortable with chaos than we are, because we experience chaos as the subjects of it, and God experiences chaos as the Object of it.
So, to think that God is going to do anything within the neat confines of my neat little world and world view with its finite flesh and blood, limited capabilities, understanding and comprehension, and then do so within a scripted frame of reference using societal norms is simply preposterous, asinine and absurd.
Musings done for now.
P.S. Oh yeah, Grace is Absurd. But that subject is for another blog.
December 6, 2013
“Everything is gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is the measure of our gratefulness. And gratefulness is the measure of our aliveness. Are we not dead to whatever we take for granted? Surely to be numb is to be dead.”
What does it mean to say that “all is Gift?”
Does it mean I deny or ignore the existence of dissatisfaction, drudgery, pain and emptiness? Does my cloaking those realities behind the veil of ‘Thanks be to God’ while not really meaning it – ‘acting as if’ – hold any integrity?
Does saying “all is Gift” mean a mere change in perspective, refusing to let the darker, wounded natures of life rule the day, neither ignoring nor empowering them?
I am not sure I have the answer to that. Hindsight is always 20/20 anyway; with a little time and distance, indeed all things can be seen as gifts from a generous God. But what about seeing and saying that all things that are happening now are gifts from God and meaning it? I have a harder time with that. Being grateful for all things does not excuse or wash away the pain or the distress of certain circumstances, it merely affords me the opportunity to invite God deeper into the moment. God is always present in all things, in all ways, in all circumstances whether we see, hear, feel or even acknowledge that Reality.
When I say “thank You” for what is right now, I am showing gratitude and humility for God being present. I am saying “thank You Lord for bringing all that is Divine – love, grace, mercy, Presence and Absence –into this particular space and moment.” In saying ‘thank You’ for all that is, all is made Gift by that very act. As I do this, I begin to understand that wherever God is, God is creating and loving and working. And wherever God is working becomes a holy and sacred space. In truth, my very being becomes holy and sacred because God is present in the moment and when I get that truth, I am dwelling with God in the moment. Then, indeed all is a Gift for God is all I need in the end.
Seeing all as gift, and God in the moment, is apropos for this time of year for we have just entered Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming.” Advent is the time when we wait, and hope expectantly, for the coming of our God. We await the divine arrival in symbolic gestures and in reality, being born anew in the daily experience of the gift of God’s grace.
The truth is we are not waiting for God, for he is here, always. We are really waiting for our perspective to change, to understand that faith is not an emotion, but an act of the will. For in these pregnant days, all truly is a gift when glimpsed through the eyes of the God Who is an ever Present Reality.
December 5, 2013
The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God, knowing that [God's] goodness can reach down to our lowest depths of need.
December 4, 2013
For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem
without hope, knowing there’s nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one
might offer his father’s ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there’s nothing else to do.
Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall
in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you’re hating me now,
I who own my own house
And live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.
Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man’s holiness another’s absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,
the surge. I’m just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.
The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.
November 28, 2013
I turn and give thanks to God for all that is and is to come. I am thankful to God for our divine friendship, my love grows deeper for God moment by moment, closer to Home.
I give thanks. Then I live my thanks by giving my life away in serving and love.
I am thankful for the quiet, hidden prayers that have been offered; for the angels who inhabit my world; for the 55 pound divine fur ball named Juno who reminds me everyday what grace and unconditional love truly are. I am thankful I have breath and life to say “thank You!”
I am grateful for the mosaic that is my life: joy and sadness, fullness and emptiness, sickness and healing.
I am grateful and thankful for the 120 subscribers who have humbled me by signing up and even reading one tiny word I write, may you be Blessed, may you be Blessings. May my words, in some small way, lead you deeper into the God Who passionately loves you, longs for you and embraces you as the divine children you are.
I am grateful for all the people in recovery who challenge me daily and keep me clean and sober; those who remind me of God – in blue jeans, grace in t-shirts, and divine love in brutal transparency.
I am reminded of the wise Meister Eckhart quote, that I try and live out daily, sometimes feebly, sometimes fully: “If the only prayer you ever utter is ‘thank You’ that would suffice.”
November 25, 2013
M.C. Richards has been one of the most influential people in my life I have never actually met in person. Her poetry, prose, pottery and person-hood are exquisite examples of Divine Love taking place in flesh and blood.
I have been feeling spiritually ‘beat up’ the last few weeks, my hunger and pining for God being off the hook. Yet, my sense of God is punctuated more by Absence then Presence. I am learning again the painful lesson that spiritual maturity is based more on acknowledging and living out truths as acts of will rather than as reactions based on shape-shifting emotions. So, it does not matter that I do not ‘feel’ God. I know the truth: God is faithfully and eternally Present to me, since God dwells within me and therefore cannot deny his own Being and Presence therein.
That being said, I kick and scream during spiritual growth spurts, throwing tantrums on the ground, refusing to see the necessity of growing up spiritually. Then I am reminded that growing up spiritually takes deep courage, rooted faith, child-like trust, and the willingness to go through rather than around the fear. I am learning albeit slowly that courage comes after not before the act.
So here is some truth and perspective from the deep wells of M.C. Richards:
It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who we are. We face surprises. And disappointments. The crucial fact is that we are different from anybody we know and admire…. It takes all one’s courage to be the person one is, fulfilling one’s odd and unique possibilities.
Source: Opening Our Moral Eye
November 23, 2013
The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?
You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element. Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into
the world again. Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?
Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?
Source: Blessing the Bread
November 22, 2013
Recently, I have been ‘reviewing’ my history regarding my experience of spirituality and the practice of spiritual disciplines as well as the evolution and transformation of it throughout the last quarter of a century. I have grown from a black and white (rigid) understanding and interpretation of what it means to be led by the Spirit towards a more tolerant, compassionate experience and view.
In short, I have become less arrogant that my way is the right way, much less even “a” single way being the ‘right’ way. I have come to know and see that the Spirit is like the Wind indeed – blowing wherever the skies and landscape take it. Who am I to judge the Spirit’s leading and intention in a persons’ life? I am learning that God can work in any way God sees fit, and can obviously do so without any input from this particular ragamuffin.
I am learning again one of the indispensable foundations of spirituality (and spiritual growth) is listening: listening to God, to our hearts, our fears, our pain, our joys, and especially to others. Spirituality (and spiritual growth) can and do occur in solitude, but for them to flourish deeply they must grow in relation to another – in community. And I am fast learning one steadfast truth: all community begins with listening. It is an initial listening to a call from the Other Who then leads us to others and in listening to them we are led to ourselves, and it is vital to listen to each one clearly because at the Center they are all saying the same thing: “we are loved and we are one.”
It is in the mutuality that grows from listening that the deepest spiritual significance occurs, namely the mutuality between listening and telling; knowing someone will listen without judgment and knowing that someone can tell their story knowing it will be heard. That is one of the greatest powers of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous – story telling, listening, a shared struggle and a shared healing experience.
Those of us who are wrestling with spiritual dilemmas and demons, creeping and crawling ever so slowly towards awakenings, do not necessarily need answers but ‘presence’ – the permission to confront the dilemma, struggle with it out loud knowing we will be heard, and finding solace in the ‘defeat’ of terminal uniqueness (the belief that we are so different that we are alone in a chaotic, random universe).
Listening begins and deepens our spiritual experiences. Listening affords us the space and silence needed to empty out our pain through storytelling and mutuality. Listening is where we find not only answers but maybe more importantly the Presence Whom is the Source of all our longings.
November 20, 2013
Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens.
Possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love.
Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.
Source: New Seeds of Contemplation