Archive | November, 2020

40 Minus 1 And Counting

30 Nov

Yesterday started the countdown. Forty minus one and counting. We are now into the Christian season of Advent, the forty days preceding Christmas. It’s generally understood as a “get ready” time, preparation for the remembrance celebration of the birth of Jesus. I’m just curious…what do you do to get ready? What’s on your checklist of preparations?

On the more secular side, we make sure we have enough Christmas cards. Don’t forget the stamps. We begin early planning for the Christmas meal with family and/or friends. But this year…well. Decorations! Of course, inside and outside. The electric power company loves us. Some of us try to lose ten pounds so we can put it back on from Christmas to New Years. Some of us don’t and we look like Wally the Walrus by New Year’s Day. The planning goes on.

On the religious side, we attend special services at our churches. Well, we used to. This year we will stream Advent across the networks. We read Advent devotional books, focus our prayer experiences more toward Advent/Christmas, and devise other wonderful ways to prepare for what’s coming. Something wonder-filled.

I suppose there is a secular/religious side, too. In that you might include special efforts to care for the poor, the homeless, the helpless…whether they are believers or not. Advent and Christmas bring out the best of our benevolent selves. Everybody makes the list on Christmas.

Now, I’m not a wet blanket, but I’ve heard of people who have to take a week or two off after forty days and Christmas to recover from the joyful season. And they are not all clergy, by the way. So the moral to my story is this. We are in an enforced slowdown environment right now, and we will be, in all likelihood, on December 25. So, let this Advent season be an intentionally slower paced process than in previous years. Use the new Covid definition of time as an opportunity to breath at a normal rate, become more intimately involved with your inner being, think of others as personal blessings, not just people to buy for. Connect. Connect.

The anniversary of Jesus’ birth is going to come whether you are ready or not, whether we like it or not. Give yourself…and give God…the thoughtful gift of your fullest presence to the Good News. As they say in the movies, this Advent can be “the beginning of a wonderful friendship.” Maybe out of this terrible time, into which Advent comes, in which Jesus’ birth is honored, maybe out of this heart-breaking time you will build a memory which will feed your spirit for years to come.

May it be so.

Hide And Seek

28 Nov

Somewhere in the gift of minutes and hours that make this day,
little pieces of hope are playing hide-and-seek.
Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces will fit together snugly,
creating a picture of hopeful joy.
I hear a voice asking, “Would you like to play?
Do you want to find the joy?”

O, yes!
Here I come! Ready or not!

Thanksgiving Day +1

27 Nov

I read about a man who uses the alphabet as a guide for his morning gratitude meditation time. He sits in a quiet place, calms his mind in the silence, and then begins his alphabetic journey. “A: I am thankful for…” “B: … C: …” and so on. So, this morning, the day after Thanksgiving Day, when he got to the letter “T” he paused and considered his gratitude options. “I am thankful for Tom (a good friend) …” Or, “I am thankful for beautiful Trees that glow in the cool Fall of the year…”

And then it hit him. It was the day after Thanksgiving, remember. Yesterday was a wonderful memory because all the family members gathered at his house (pre-Covid time. Remember those days?) and they had a delicious meal together, played games, sang songs…had a great time. But the very best thing, nestled in his remembering, was the iconic symbol of Thanksgiving Day +1…the turkey sandwich.

So, he continued his prayers, having found the appropriate blessing matching the letter “T”. “I am grateful for Turkey sandwiches made with two thick slices placed carefully on freshly baked bread then moistened with just the right amount of mayonnaise, and…”

As he pushed his desk chair back and got up, he was heard to say “I’ll finish this in a little while.”

So, in his absence, I’ll add my own ending to his posting. Grateful? You? For? I hope every day is a “thanksgiving” day for all of us. Great big things (G) and Small things (S), momentous and minute (M), always remembered Humbly (H) and offered as an act of Praise (P). Joy (J) fills the hearts of all who take the the time to say “thank you” to the Source of all things, the Providing Presence whose love sustains and satisfies our deepest need.

Amen (A)


24 Nov

Between yes and no is maybe
hot and cold is warm
too much and too little is enough
happy and sad is contented
yesterday and tomorrow is today


birth and death is life


between waking and sleeping
is life today

but best of all

between all living things and Love is
nothing, zero, zip, nada
“Nothing can separate us from the Love…”

One Click In Time

22 Nov

One click in a random moment,
one “yes” to an impulse that moves
from brain to hand faster than any computer,
and there it is. There it is, an invitation to enjoy
all the elements that, in this moment, combine to
produce beauty.

The most obvious is the graceful Egret, so
lovely in flight. Then the Reflection in the water,
soft and imperfect yet vital to the visual moment.
She flies toward the Light. Will she enter the
opening between the trees or remain with the
water. Colors combine to create this peaceful
scene…they blend and work together, new
creations emerge from their willingness to flow
together and yet maintain their own striking identities.
Shadows, the leaning curves of the trees, spots on
the water’s surface. Everything is important. Each
element, without the others, is less than the whole.

Together, they create wonder. What a fundamental
life principle, all captured in one random moment,
one click.

Spirit Journey

21 Nov

Strangely and wonderfully made! For all living things that bring
joy and wonder to the world, we are truly thankful. For all grace-filled moments and all creatures that make the day grace upon grace, we are grateful. May I trust the currents of the Spirit to hold me up, sacred Breath to carry me on my journey, and indiscriminate Compassion to demonstrate my commitment to the Way of Jesus. May the seeds of Peace, sown in hope, begin to blossom soon.


20 Nov

The wait was worth it.

She walked along the water’s edge, deliberately, stealth bird in search of food swimming at her feet. When some flash of motion revealed a meal, her long neck shot forward, the length of my arm, spearing the prey, leaving the water motionless.

But I kept saying to her: Fly. Spread those huge wings and throw yourself into the air. Turn awkward into graceful. I waited. And waited. Camera poised, finger on the trigger…until. Finally, tired of my mental pleading, she fluttered her wings and graced the world with beautiful flight.

As hard as it is, sometimes you just have to wait. Not everything works on my schedule. I try to remind myself that, in a moment like this one, I can wait frustrated or fascinated. The goal is not just to take a picture, but to see what is on the other end of the long lens. To discover.

And so she flew. In fact, we both did.


18 Nov

The analogy is far from perfect, but you’ll have to admit there is some similarity. This morning I installed a new anti-virus program on my computer. After about 14 pop-ups, a couple of reboots, and a cup of coffee, it was done. Then there were more pop-ups telling me how smart I was to choose this product, how “present” the program would be to my every need, and, of course, would I like to upgrade to even more and better protection. It took about an hour, but I am now protected.

So, here’s the analogy. Many years ago, I said one word…”Yes”…and activated a system in my life that has been always present, always available, has never sent me a pop-up, and doesn’t cost me anything…except my life. This spiritual Presence doesn’t have to be renewed every year, has a very long history, and has received 5-Star reviews by millions of people.

I’m glad to have the anti-virus protection, but I couldn’t live without the Presence. The new computer program is limited to “one person use”, according to the fine print. The Presence is universal, even cosmic. In fact, my Friend is looking over my shoulder as I write this.

It’s a great relationship. You, too?

Go And Do Likewise

16 Nov

If these very stones could talk…Well, they can!

Barren Beauty

15 Nov

Of all the trees in the manicured garden,
this one merits a mere glance from
those who define a tree by its colorful
radiance, a foliage bearer, as if the leaf
is the life source, the nourishing agent of
nature’s creativity.

Should no leaf ever again appear on these
branches, beauty, personified in simplicity
and sacred purity, will cause consciousness
to gasp and stand anchored to the earth
in the presence of inherent symmetry.

Flaming reds and glorious golds deserve
the applause of those who see, but it is
barren beauty that startles the feelings
and haunts the heart.