Sitting In The Morning

21 Mar

I hope today I will be wise enough to sit for awhile and take in the vibrance of life around me.

I hope that I will open my arms wide so that someone might feel welcome and sit with me in wonder.

I hope that all I see and all that goes unseen will bless me along the way.

I hope that I hear the birds sing, listen to the clouds drifting by, and feel the warmth of the sun.

I hope I will imagine.

May it be so.


In Spite Of

20 Mar

Every Sunday at my church we begin community worship with a verse from the Psalms .  It goes like this:  “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Come to think of it, that’s not a bad way to start every day.  But, as you know very well, not every day is a cartwheel-turning day.  The Lord may have made it, but something happened in the transmission.  Life happened, and on those days I want to edit the last stanza of the Psalm:  “…I will rejoice and be glad in spite of it.”  Witness the majestic sahuaro cactus whose arms are supposed to reach elegantly toward the heavens, symmetrical and consistent.  Something went wrong.  It is my monument to “in spite of”.

When things don’t go my way, may I become aware of peace in the midst of it all.

When life seems disjointed and I feel at loose ends, may I find reconnection in relationships both sacred and human.

When anxiety anchors me in darkness, may I find escape, not from but to the Presence that infuses life with hope.

In spite of everything that wants to rob me of joy, may I open the doors of my heart and find You there.

May it be so.





Toward The Summit

18 Mar

Even if gray clouds blot out the soft blue of the morning sky, may I discover peace in somber shapes and shades of darkness.

And if the stones along the pathway are jagged and treacherous, uneven and slippery, may I walk with mindful focus and curious attention as companions in the journey.

And if the path becomes too steep, the effort too great, may I be wise enough to pause, to rest, to welcome the beauty around me as a cool drink of refreshment.

Nothing, not gray billows, not sharp stones, not the effort of the climb, nothing will keep me this day from standing at the summit and raising my arms in gratitude.


26 Nov

Today a lovely golden butterfly spreads her wings in the warm California sun and the cooling breeze from her rising tosses the curls of a child in Bolivia.

A soft pink rose, tended by a loving heart and gentle hands, unfolds her petals in a pristine French garden bounded by hedge rows and while lattice, and the fragrance of her birth crafts a smile on the face of a wheel-chaired man in Philadelphia.

Perhaps someday we will understand.

An obscene gesture made toward a women carrying  a placard pleading for peace and the end of brutality causes the globe to wobble in its celestial circles, to quiver among the planets.

One dark word spoken in hate confirms the depths of human cruelty, breaks the ancient axis of life, spinning the ball into endless universes.  The gasps of life fade slowly.

The strength of hate is greater than we know.

We who ride the ball into the darkness undoubtedly will mistake the rush of stars past our startled faces for the intervention of a benevolent mystery whose plan unfolds from humanity’s dissolving.

As we taunt and torture each other in the name of sovereign interest and economic necessity, we loosen the bolts which we name virtues, and as they fall one by one, we feel the distant shudder, the telling tremor that speaks our names.

Perhaps someday we will understand.


A Pathway To Be Explored

17 Nov


Today I ventured out into the world and came upon a pathway I had not known before.  It invited me into a gently sloping descent, over a small stream curling around large gray stones, past desert wrens singing their morning songs, and into a grove of small palo verde trees.   Beside the pathway, stark against the mountain ridge beyond, stood a rather average green limbed tree and a not too distinctive saguaro cactus.  But what caught my attention was their embrace.

I sat on a nearby flat stone and wondered at the unusual sight, the intimate proximity of cactus and tree, thorn and leaf.  “You appear puzzled,” Cactus observed.  “Yes,” I replied, “you are so different and yet here you are side by side.”

“We are different,” Palo Verde said, joining the conversation.  “I have no beautiful shape like an oak, no scarlet leaves like the maple. I do not rise into the the clouds like the sequoia.   I am rather plain in the world, but I am here.”  “And I,” added Cactus, “live in this hard, coarse skin shielded by my sharp, menacing thorns.  Sometimes I frighten people who pass by.  They keep their distance, never come close.  But I am here.”

“You seem to have made the most of your awkward situation,” I observed.  “Yes,” Tree answered, “but it wasn’t easy at first.  We both got in each other’s way as we grew from Ground, but then one day we looked at each other and realized that we spring from the same earth.  We are nourished by the same Rain, warmed by Sun who smiles upon us both.  And over time we grow stronger together.  We  discovered that we are meant to be what we are and that we can help each other in spite of our differences.”

“She’s right,” Cactus added.  “We both enjoy visits from song birds who make their nests in Tree and from Desert Wren who feels welcome to perch on my sharp thorns and chatter to the world.  Tree offers me shade in the hot summer sun and I, in turn, share my reservoir of Rain that I store inside.  We both found that we just wanted to be what we are, and that we can be, leaf to thorn, if we find more that holds us together rather than what makes us different and keeps us apart.”

“We understand each other,” Tree explained as Wind nestled her closer to Cactus.  “We have no idea why Ground put us so close together, but we are here.  We decided not to make the best of a what appeared at first to be a bad situation, but to stand together by this pathway and welcome all who wonder as the pass by.”

Today I ventured out into the world and came upon a pathway I had not known before.  It is a pathway to be explored.

Unquenchable Song

15 Nov

Version 2

Abiding Spirit —

May the last thought at the close of the day and the first awareness of the new morning shape a sacred smile in my heart, fill my struggling soul with the balm of healing, and form on my lips the unquenchable song — Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

May peaceful serenity finally overcome the deadening despair circling my head, malignant shadow mocking my confusion.  May wisdom bring clear light to decisions that are just and beneficial for all.  May hope, robed in courage, prevail.

And may the earth forgive our callousness while having mercy on the prideful foolishness that marks us as aliens in the art of creation, profiteers of false promises and failed pronouncements.  Show us your mercy, Ancient Mother.

Amid the voices of disappointment and despair, may I have the will to seek the common good, faith to find and walk pathways of understanding, compassion sufficient to work toward the welfare of the best and the worst.  May it be so.  Amen.


The Bowl and Towel

27 Oct


It seems like only yesterday I got this bowl and towel.  The bowl is cracked, the towel worn thin; I would have wagered there and then I’d never use these things.

We sat at table with our Lord and talked of happy times.  The meal was done, the hour late; we all began to speculate about what he would say.

But when he stood, he turned and moved toward one end of the room.  With no word said, he turned his back, picked up a bowl and from a rack removed a common towel.

The room was now completely still.  He walked to Peter’s chair, bent low and from a pitcher near poured water cool and crystal clear, then reached for Peter’s foot.

“My Lord, what are you doing?  Please!  It’s I who should be there.  I cannot let you wash my feet; it is not right for you to treat your servant in this way.”

“If you refuse to take my gift, you have no part of me.”  “Oh, Master!  Please!  I cannot live without the hope and love you give.  Wash feet and head and hands!”

From Peter, Jesus moved to all and washed our dirty feet.  He then called each of us by name and one by one to him we came to get a bowl and towel.

My earthen bowl is smooth with age, my towel is frayed and torn.  But these I cherish more than gold for they remind me how he told that we must do the same.

The years have gone, and so has he.  No longer can we share an evening meal, a pleasant song, a desert breeze, his handshake strong.  Just these of him remain.


A reflection on John 13