Archive | June, 2020

Oh, Feathers!

29 Jun

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There is a bird flying around somewhere and he’s missing a feather.
But, that’s not a big deal, is it?
Ornithologists, my big word for the day, report that preening and
plucking feathers is a big advantage for the average bird.  The
process releases a fine oil that aids in flying, and
the bird knows that in order to get a new feather,
an old feather has to go.  Is there something wrong with an
old feather?  Not really.  But the new feather is strong and
anchored deeply for smooth and safe flight.  In that
sense, the new is better than the old.
Make no application to human beings.
Having said that, I know some old birds that
would be better served with a few new feathers.
The old ones have served their purpose, or there have
been improvements in the newer model, or society has
moved on and old feathers don’t match the flying requirements
of the day.
Preening is painless and a new feather or two might just do
the trick in a time when we all need to fly a little higher.

Let him who has ears (and old feathers) listen…

Patterns

27 Jun

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Traffic patterns.  Patterns to make a new dress.  Patterns of speech.
When I watch my favorite TV detective shows, police officers
are always looking for a pattern of behavior in order to catch the criminal.

A few days ago it occurred to me that I look for patterns, too.  That explains why
I take pictures of a pile of rocks, or tree leaves, or cloud formations.  The
object is of interest, but it’s the pattern that catches my eye…design,
shape, form.

In the photo above, the sunlight through the tree is striking, and the tree, itself,
has an interesting form and shape, but it’s the pattern of light and dark on
the street…the shadow…that causes me to stop and pay attention.  Brilliant
light coming through the impressive tree produces an eye-catching beauty
that is here for a moment and then gone.

Do you feel a metaphor coming on?
You and I are here for a moment in time, the blink of an eye in relation to
planets and stars, and during that flicker of human life, we have chosen to let
a powerful light shine through us.  The pattern cast from the Light is a reflection
of who we are and to whom we belong.

“Let your light shine…” Yes, but it’s not “your” Light or “my” Light.  It is the
Light of Creation, filtered through our leaves and branches, casting a shadow
that is beautiful to see.  Patterns of hope, love and charity are produced
when we allow the Light to flow through us.

Ashes and Embers

25 Jun

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It used to be so lush and green
and now thick gray smoke hangs over blackened land
and the burnt carcasses of pine and saguaro.

The mountain will survive, even prosper in the years to come.
Not so the bear and the bighorn,
our sisters and brothers
whose homes were canyons and rocky peaks.

Stop today for just a moment and ponder the sad reality of
ashes and embers, the suffering of the mountain,
and the distress of Creation’s beloved creatures.
Stop for a moment and become one with them.

 

Evens and Odds

24 Jun

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Even and odd.  Even is good…odd is…well, odd.  Odd lacks the polish, the
perfect symmetry of Even.  Even has it all together…Odd is just
slightly out of balance.  But look closely at the lovely flower.
One beautiful centerpiece.
Seven surrounding blossoms.
Five petals on each bloom.
Five white centers in each of the seven blossoms.

I think we have a God who loves Odds as much as Evens.
For which I am very grateful.
There’s room for all of us in the vase.

Hugs For Everyone

23 Jun

You don’t have to be a little child to be welcomed into his arms.

There’s room there for all of us.

A Sign Of The Times

21 Jun

This is who we are. This is who we can be.

May all these statements become our
reality….very soon.

Creating

21 Jun

A few days ago a wonderful friend sent me a brief quotation
from the late Dr. Martin Buber, a prolific author and scholar.
Buber’s work in philosophy and religion produced the remarkable
little book titled “I and Thou”. Buber believed that experiencing
the Absolute, his name for God, was more than simply believing
or possessing knowledge. Expressing his commitment to the idea that
experiencing God is in our actions, Buber wrote: “We do not
experience the Absolute in what we learn but in what we create.”

Buber proposed that the Absolute (God) is not a What but a How.

Creating is to experience God. Yesterday I participated, thanks
to Zoom, in a Writers’ Group where individuals bring their prose
and poetry to read and critique. For almost two hours the souls
of six people sat in the realm of Spirit. We created. We brought
the gifts of our own individual creativities, offered them
to each other, and in the process felt the joy, the emotions, and
the wonderful insights that come when we move beyond beliefs
and knowledge into the world of creativity. The Absolute was
present.

Creativity is not confined, though, to prose and poetry writing.
Creativity is in building or mending relationships, acts of
kindness, responses to human needs. Creativity is in doing.
Every day is an opportunity to experiencre the Absolute.

Even today.

Look For Light

18 Jun

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or, where can I flee from your presence?…If I say: Surely the darkness shall cover me and the light around me become night…you are there.”

It’s still dark at 4:30 a.m., but for many of us, darkness cannot tell time. If you are feeling the heaviness of dark skies in all that is swirling around us

look for light.

Make up your mind right now and stick to it. I will look for light. I will hold grim reality in one hand and genuine gratitude in the other. I will acknowledge one and allow the other to shape my day. Today, without fail, I will look for light.

Scattered Pieces

16 Jun

It feels like some of the pieces are missing. The countless days of Covid Confinement, the unending photos and descriptions of protest in the streets prompted by senseless cruelty, the charred mountain that glows in the dark night, political and economic uncertainty, and now our faithful companion Maggie’s unexpected death have caused the puzzle to shake so that pieces are scattered all over the place.

These things are real, very real, but they are not final. Each of us, at different times, carries a bucket full of crises and challenges. It’s heavy and tedious and tiring. And we would be thrown completely off balance if it were not for the counter balance of Presence. A bucket in one hand, the Spirit holding the other. The Spirit doesn’t lessen the load. The Spirit increases the capacity to cope, to climb, to confront, and ultimately to conquer.

Beloved community of faith, hold your heads up. We are inherently stronger than we think. The puzzle pieces all fit, even though they are now scattered. Keep walking. Carry the bucket in one hand and hold on tight with the other.

There is light ahead.

Collaboration

13 Jun

Did I tell you I’m reading a good book?

It’s one of the discussion books my church is going to use soon in a small group setting…Zoom, of course. It’s called Still Writing – The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. Dani Shapiro wrote it.

This idea jumps off one of the pages. Today I am going to collaborate with God. Here’s what Shapiro writes. “Michelangelo saw a statue in every block of granite…the woodworker George Nakashima believed that when a true craftsman brought out the grain that had been imprisoned in the trunk of a tree he ‘found God within.’ I’ve long envied those artists who work with materials such as these…clay, marble, granite, wood…because I imagine the feeling is one of collaboration.”

So, today I’m going to intentionally co-labor-ate with God in some creative way. Don’t ask me how or when or where. It will just happen, I’m sure. Co-laboring with the Creator! Maybe even Co-Creating! I’ll supply the hands and feet. God will supply the motivation…Compassion.

Yes, I know. God will be in charge.

P.S. Why don’t you try it, too. We can compare collaborations.