Time Out or Time In

1 Jun

Time out! The morning sun is warm. The setting is peaceful. The perch is perfect. The next task can wait for a little while. Can’t it? Sometime today, maybe every day, listen to yourself, put the phone away, shut down the computer, turn the TV off and take yourself to that favorite place where the sun is warm and the setting is peaceful and the perch is perfect. Be there, not because you need to, but because you want to. And after a few visits, you will go there, not because you want to, but because you have to. That place of inner retreat and renewal will have become part of you. Maybe it’s not a Time Out. Maybe it’s a Time In.

Just Wondering

22 May

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty and darkness covered the deep waters. Then God said: “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that it was good. Then He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

If you set aside the debate about “historical accuracy” for a moment, where and how is truth contained in these words? Try not to read the words as “explanation” but more as “exploration.” Sometimes there is uncertainty in “beginnings.” Unknowns abound. Clarity is hidden in the darkness of the moment. I say to myself: “I just can’t get a handle on this” but then “the light comes on,” figuratively speaking. We used to call them “Aha!” moments. Eureka! Now I get it! A caution: just because light is called good doesn’t mean that darkness is bad. Don’t make that assumption. It has terrible consequences. And, what is the role of “light” in your life? Is there any? Source? Purpose? Spiritual implications?

Just wondering.

Old Stuff

10 May

This is a 2,000 page history book. No, more likely a 2,000 volume library. This window into the world is growing still in a small village in southern Arizona, home for one thousand folks, a place you would go to for the sights and smells and textures of life in the slow lane. Pull up a bench in front of the general store and look to your left. Just over there is the City Park, a patch of green grass with the inevitable brass marker affixed to a large stone. A little to the right, that’s the yellow train depot, now the home of a few elected village officials because the train doesn’t stop anymore. The depot is beginning to show its age, a little paint peel here and there, but still a proud reminder of yesterdays when ranchers tied their horses to a hitching rail and sat under the branches of the History Tree. I think it’s nice, once in awhile, to sit in the shade of an ancient tree, lean back so your body touches the bark, and listen. Amazing stories are waiting to be heard. I think the same can be said about that ancient collection of wisdom we call The Bible. We are people of The Book, and, like the village tree, this book still lives to share its stories, adventures, joys and sorrows. I’m grateful for old trees and old books, for the wisdom of the ancients, for the voices of the past informing and inspiring. Why don’t you sit down and listen today? Lean up against a welcoming tree, open The Book in your lap, and join the conversation. You are an important part of creation’s slow movement toward an Ultimate Reality. You are part of the story, a special chapter being written each day. Be grateful for old trees, an ancient book, and an Eternal Source that still speaks to our souls.

Flowers In The Desert

5 May

A quick glance won’t do. Spend some time with the photograph. Don’t rush. Let it come to you. There is a thought, an insight, an awareness that brings with it a blessing. You will find it not with reason, not with analysis, but only with the eyes of your heart. It is a gift to unwrap slowly. Be still and let the Spirit surface.

Encountering Eternity

25 Apr

In the still darkness of early morning,
surrounded by soft sounds of unlabored rest,
before the first bird sings
or the pungent smell of coffee, bacon
crackling and the hissing melody
of two eggs frying define the
moment of waking,,,,
I wait without expectation, bare to the bone,
sacred waiting neither seeking nor pursing.
In the void that precedes effort and experience
you speak my name as you step from a shadowed
corner, arms extended in an invitation to embrace.
There exist only two entities, two minds in this moment
of miracle and mystery. But at the touch of finger tip
to finger tip, jagged bolts of lightening rip through the
curtain of darkness and faint light grows ever brighter
revealing in a finger snap of time the most beautiful of
all beauty, the perfect of absolute perfection, the face of
the never seen, the always seen. I dare to look upon the
visage of God. And there you are…and you and you and you.
The faces of humanity in the holy countenance. In the still
darkness of early morning, before sight and smell and ears
and hands create new realities, I wait for the eternal unexpected.
And here you are. And here I am. And here we are in the
sacred void of encounter.

Nazareth Man

8 Apr

Which one did you say is the Nazareth man?
The third from the left, second row back?
What did he do to merit the shame?
Curse the High Priest, a Temple attack?

Do you see all these crosses that line the road?
Each is a sign to all who pass by:
pose a threat to the Romans, the Imperial power,
and this is the way you will surely die.

Trust me, my friend, it’s a horrible death.
Spikes through the hands, unbearable pain,
a signal to all who walk this road:
defy the Romans and this is your gain.

O, yes. I remember your Nazareth man.
His name was Jesus as I recall.
He preached on the mountain and by the sea.
Didn’t he overturn tables in the Temple hall?

Such a shame to see him die this way.
He had much to offer, remarkable skills,
a voice for justice, a heart for the poor,
the very things that got him killed.

Perhaps someday, maybe years from now,
people will think of the Nazareth man,
how he cared for the weak, the poor, the lost
and decide, if he did, then maybe we can.

I hope the cross is not the end.
Perhaps Yahweh will someday send
another like the Nazareth man
to lead us on to a better land.

See, they carry him now from that terrible cross.
What a sad sight to see; what a tragic loss.
He could have been such a guiding light.
Must we always live in the darkness of night?

Metaphor Making

28 Mar

It’s against the law to live in Arizona and not recognize the red cliffs of Sedona. At least, it should be. Words seem inadequate to describe this natural wonder. Artistic creations in the natural order shine in the morning sun and literally glow as the sun retreats in the evening sky. Yes, it’s crowded with wide-eyed human beings. And, yes, the traffic can test one’s patience. But when you stand on a hiking trail and look out over the glorious canvas, you know you’re in a special place, a spot on the planet where beauty reveals a different kind of reality. The hike that morning was just tough enough to raise my heart rate and cause me to step off the trail to rest. But what I stepped into was a new dimension of awareness. The red soil, rocks and boulders, fragrant trees, the broad winged bird circling down in the canyon, sun rays ricocheting off those red cliffs…and me. In that restful moment, I was part of the whole, an intentional ingredient in this recipe of creative beauty. My breath recovered, I stepped back onto the trail, eyes now on the rocks and stones that wanted to trip me up, knowing that I was surrounded by something greater than the challenge of the walk. And when I came to a smooth stretch on the narrow trail, I could look up and know that the experience was worth the effort. Well worth the effort. Sedona, a walk through a metaphorical marvel. I leave the metaphor making to you. Enjoy the walk.

Surprise Me, God

21 Mar

Lord, make me an instrument of your love:
how about a tuba that sets the beat
and helps the other instruments make music?

Make me a light that shines in the darkness:
a torch that burns hour after hour,
not a skyrocket that explodes and is gone.

Give me wings so that I can soar in Spirit Wind:
maybe a sparrow, please. I know you love all
that is common. But, not an eagle. Too aloof.

Make me a river of your mercy and love:
one with lots of rivulets running off in all directions
with fresh, sweet water. Do you think we need
another stagnant pond?

But, Lord, at your pleasure and for your name’s sake:
make me the me you want me to be for today.
I don’t doubt that you know better than I do
what’s needed in the garden of your hand.

Or, and here’s a thought: a wild flower waving
along the highway, not another potted plant
in the outdoor section of Home Depot.

Surprise me, God. You’re good at that.

And, thank you.

Balancing Act

12 Mar

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few potholes in the streets of beautiful Tucson. Maybe more than a few. And if you fall into one of them, even at normal speed, you may be scheduling a visit to the tire dealer, one that has an alignment machine. When tires are out of alignment and balance, you know about it. You can’t drive that Lamborghini if there’s a problem with these two important features. Works the same way with life. A life out of balance or mis-aligned is destined for some bumpy travels day by day. I think balance is finding a reasonable mid-point, a centering that encourages understanding, patience, and tolerance. In this out of balance world, we seem more interested in putting up barriers and obstacles than working toward common understanding, common goals. It’s the same with alignment. If the tires on your car are not aligned, each will want to take its own heading. To align those tires means they are pointed in the same direction, calibrated to roll smoothly. No shudder in the front end. No vibrating steering wheel. In life, I recommend alignment along with balance, and I have a particular Specialist in mind. He knows how to take a shaky life and smooth it out. He’s had a lot of experience in correcting wobbly lives. He knows all about the potholes. A warranty for his work? Guaranteed. I’ve got His number if you need it. So, drive safely. And live abundantly.

Decisions At Dawn

28 Feb

I have choices to make at the dawn of this day,
and what I decide very well may
determine the fate of humanity,
everything rests on little old me.
But I shall not surrender to evil or fear,
let me make this point perfectly clear.
You, too, have a role in this dawning day.
So much depends on what we say,
but even more on what we do.
I ask you, my friend, to think this through.
Let’s live today as if the last,
honor the moment, release the past,
look for the best, expect nothing less,
love from the heart, help clean up the mess
that violence and greed always leave behind,
live from the heart as well as the mind.
Yes, I have a role to play in this day.
With courage and faith, come what may,
I’ll live for the best, the highest good.
Do you think there’s a way, that maybe we could
walk together across the stage,
make a difference somehow on history’s page?
We have choices to make at the dawn of the day.
Together, let’s choose what to do, what to say.
If we have the will, there will be a way.
Here, take my hand. Let’s welcome today.