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Three Words

30 Aug

Walking through the historic section of the small Colorado town, I saw the remains of a distant era, signs from the past. The old fire truck with lots of miles on it but not much paint. Construction from decades ago, still standing but crumbling around the edges. Then, turn the next corner and you are face to face with the 21st century’s gift to the legacy world, the T-Shirt shop. I kept walking. But a few minutes later I was stopped in my tracks by the sign shown above. Three remarkable words. I don’t know what the San Juan Rangers do, but I’d join up just because of their bold declaration. Honor. Integrity. Commitment. How would this world be different if we plastered those words on signs everywhere, the result of having a new heart and a transformed life. I know, signs don’t change people, but I can tell you what does. Those three words are the consequence of a realization: God lives within me. The Christ of creation is inherent in my being. I didn’t cause it, and I can’t change it. And this awareness, taken seriously, causes me to take down the old signs — Me, My Way, and Maybe — and put up new ones as my life’s identity: Honor, Integrity, Commitment. The man who told me that God resides within my being lived by these three words, taught the idea to anyone who would listen, and demonstrated them at the end of his life. People follow the Way of Jesus in many ways and for many reasons. Some do so because he has transformed hearts, minds, and perspectives. Once you realize that you are the living vessel of what he called The Kingdom of God by virtue of your humanity, the old signs come down and new ones go up: Honor, Integrity, Commitment. Following His way leaves the old behind, dares the new, and hopes eternally. Many thanks to the San Juan Rangers, whoever you are, for your sign to me as I walked through history. Where do I sign up?

Night Sky Painting

25 Aug

In the almost dark of night, the Mountain said: “Let the cloak of night fall over us and bring us peace and rest.” And in moments, lights went out in houses, cars vanished from the streets and the earth was silent. Sun, hearing Mountain’s wish, said to himself: “I will give one last display of my presence and my power. I will burst through that reluctant opening in the clouds, just there over the peak of the Mountain, and I will demonstrate the Beauty that I possess.” And within moments, stunning reds and oranges and yellows exploded through the cloud opening. Astonishing beauty. Watching and listening to both Mountain and Sun, the vast expanse of Sky smiled knowingly and whispered: “Watch this.” Then with one stroke of a celestial brush, Sky painted a jagged line across the dark canvas, over the Mountain, momentarily startling, there and gone. The Human saw it all, everything detonated at once, quite by chance and good fortune, never again to be seen in exactly this configuration. One blink and the fullness of Beauty was away to another moment in another place. On a dark and foreboding night, when ominous clouds hide the Moon and there is a hint of stirring in the air, that’s the time to pull the chair near the window, sit undisturbed, wait. Something good happens for those who wait, watch, and look through eyes of wonder. The Artist does remarkable work. Regard it all as a gift. Receive it all with gratitude. You’ve just experienced The Sacred.

Right Here! Right Now!

19 Aug

I have a friend who signs off on all his emails with: “Find a need and fill it.” That’s pursuing life, not waiting for it to come to you. That’s active and intentional. But the “finding” and the “filling” can’t be done unless you know where you are and until you connect with the moment. That is, until I am more aware of this moment and its possibilities than I am of myself and my own desires. To live “in the moment” is to be aware of life at a deeper level than routine and ritual. The sign in the picture above was painted on the side of a building, and I think it expresses the core issue in living an intentional life. “I am exactly where I need to be at this moment.” Not in yesterday or tomorrow, not in what might have been, not in regrets or the dream of tomorrow’s rewards…but right here, right now. How can I live this moment with joy, purpose and integrity? To the person who thinks: “I’ll try that tomorrow. Why the sense of urgency?” I reply: Sit back, take a deep breath and think about what you just said. Those “lilies of the field” don’t last forever.

Imagination

12 Aug
Is your imagination available for a moment? Here you sit. Cool breeze from the ocean. The sound of seagulls passing nearby. The rhythm of wave after wave, never stopping, bathing the cliffs and the sand. Here you sit, not for a quick glance, but for a thoughtful experience of yourself as part of the scene. What do you see? What do you say? What stirs in your spirit? Imagination is a gift and a good friend. Write a story. Sing a song. Make a wish. Remember. Sit with your friend and make a memory. Encounter and experience the Sacred. Nothing is more important in your life than this moment.

Need Some Good News?

4 Aug

Poor thing! His legs are too long for his body. His ears are too big. He’s a bit awkward. Gangly. Those words used to describe a lot of my friends when I was a young teen. Me, too. But, as I was reminded: “Well, his mother loves him.” And that’s because love doesn’t look at the outside. Love has eyes that see beyond the externals…right into the heart. My teen years are long gone, but I recently stopped in front of my bathroom mirror and did a quick analysis. Quick. My hair is just about gone, my feet are flat and my middle is out of proportion to the rest of me. If “gangly” describes the little one in the photo, what’s a good word to describe me right now? Never mind. Bad idea. But the good news is “his Father loves him.” I know that for sure. That’s the message of my faith. That’s the good news of the “Good News”. Want to know something else? Maybe you’d better sit down first. Ready? So are you! In spite of…because of…because you are you. How about that!

Clouds Falling

31 Jul

Round and round it goes, and where it stops…well, it doesn’t. It never stops the eternal cycle of transformation. What you’re looking at is a cloud reflection in a puddle of wonderful rain. Cloud. Rain. It’s all the same. It just changes names. The cloud I see in the morning sky is going to churn for a little while, and then it’s going to fall out of the sky onto my head, all over my just-washed car, onto the potted plants struggling with thirst, onto the deer and coyotes roaming the mountainside, onto all living things that cannot survive without a drink. Onto the earth that will become a ball of dust without the silver droplets of cloud. Everything is connected. Everything belongs. I know exactly what these words mean: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And I take great comfort in knowing that I am a small part of forever, forever in the mind, the heart, and the presence of the Creative Source I call God. Just now a little hummingbird paused at my window long enough to wink and wave, and in the distance a somber, gray cloud is turning pink right before my eyes. It’s going to be a good day. We, you and I, belong. Thanks be to God!

Signals

28 Jul
Everyday, in some way, I am reminded of The Presence. A kind word, a helping hand, the joy of waking in a new day, sky art in the evening when the canvas glows at sunset. Everyday, in some unexpected way, the message comes. You are never alone. Don’t be afraid.

Mother of the Mountain

20 Jul

Mother of the Mountain, watch over us as we sleep tonight and smile upon us when we wake into the gift of the new day. May we share the tenderness of your heart with all who struggle, your unflappable courage with all who fear, your wisdom with all the inhabitants of this earth who look to the heavens for help in discerning right from wrong, truth from error, faith from self-serving indulgence. Mother of the Mountain, bless us one and all and cause us to smile when we see your lovely countenance in the evening sky. This is our prayer tonight as shadows lengthen and darkness drifts across the land. Amen.

Bridge In The Fog

15 Jul
The bridge in the fog is a visual metaphor. It means…..what you think it means. I invite you to spend a few minutes absorbing the photo, letting it become the complete focus of the moment. What does it say to your mind? To your heart? Can you see it with your spirit?

Inconspicuous Beauty

9 Jul

Thank you, God, for inconspicuous beauty. For “taken for granted” encounters. For all that is common and ordinary. Remind me today that nothing is without value…and no one. I am grateful for this particular day because I am confident that at some moment I will do a double-take and say to myself: “Wow!”