Circle The Wagons

17 Mar

The mentality of the moment  is “circle the wagons!”  Maybe, though, wagon circling has become our standard mode of operation.  Think about the nature and quality of our political culture.  Circle the wagons!  Or, the results of how we treat the earth.  CTW!  Or, about the specter of violence in our society.  CTW!  Or, the killer that stalks the earth and causes us to strip the grocery store shelves of “essential” products…paper towels and toilet paper…I take more than I need and you get nothing.  CTW!  I am reminded of nuclear blast shelters we used to dig in our backyards.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not making fun of this terrible virus that has caused us to use a seldom heard word:  Pandemic.  Do everything reasonable to avoid the germ.  Follow the advice of experts.  Be cautious.

And don’t think that I’m fishing for some religious meaning in this time of world hysteria.  God didn’t cause this to happen in order to get even or to teach a lesson.  Let’s get that absurdity out of the way quickly.  No, but since you and I are hunkering down for the foreseeable future, why not use the time to put your money where your mouth is…so to speak.

For the sake of your sanity and your soul, use some of your time to practice what you have preached:  “I need to make more time for God in my life.”  “I don’t have time for spiritual development.”   I would if I could, but I don’t have the opportunity to develop (1) spiritual practices (2) prayer (3) study and reading (4) calling Aunt Gertrude and wishing her well (5) writing those notes that are long overdue to friends and family members or (6) ???

What can you do to keep your spirit healthy and your mind intact?  Here are two specific options:  (1) make an inventory sheet and hourly count your rolls of paper towels and other essential paper products.  Increase your anxiety if it appears that supplies are running low.  Or, (2) use what extra time you have to develop a spiritual exercise that will reduce your blood pressure and increase your consciousness of God.

When we finally come through this hard time, and we will, you can look back and say: “My spirit is stronger now than ever before.”  Or,  “Look how neatly I made the check-marks on my Paper Towel Inventory.”

 

Yellow Flowers

15 Mar

IMG_0164

 

I have a suggestion for you.
See those two saguaros?  Don’t demand a lot of detail
beyond those two cacti.  The scenery in the far
distance is lovely, but there’s no specificity.
Don’t ask more than the scene can give.

But…look what’s at your feet.  You are surrounded
by gorgeous yellow flowers, each unique,
each offering you the gift of the moment.
In a time of uncertainty, better to rejoice
in the flowers at your feet than
focus on the shadows in the
distance.

Maybe we need the unknown at the base of
those distant mountains to remind us
of the reality and blessing
of this moment.  Don’t miss
the beauty around you.
You’re standing in
the middle
of it.

 

Prayer at 4 a.m.

12 Mar

I’m having difficulty focusing on important
prayer topics for this early morning.
My mind is still sleepy,
my eyes are heavy,
and I am distracted by
back pain and a black dog.

Speaking of pain, I was surprised to
learn that my friend Jim is
in the hospital with a bad
case of pneumonia.
Need to send a card.

Prayer!  Focus!

I caught a glimpse of an early headline
as I was pouring coffee a few
minutes ago.  This ugly virus
is spreading even more rapidly.
I’m rethinking some travel.
Terrible stuff!

Drifting again!  Focus!

By the way, did you happen to see
the homeless man near the mall
yesterday?  He had the most forlorn
looking dog by his side.  How an
he feed himself and that cute dog?

There I go again!

I am determined to think of something
or someone to pray for…but, one
last thought and then I’ll really
concentrate.  Politics!  Elections!
Debates!  I’ve had it up to here!
Do you think we’ll ever figure
out how to get along?

Ok, that’s it.
Enough of these distractions.
I want to think of some important
things to prayerfully
consider.

I’ll call you later and we can talk
about these other things.

 

 

 

 

Smile!

9 Mar

Flower Collage 6

Yes, you are allowed to smile during Lent!

Go ahead…try it.

 

 

 

Let The Banquet Begin

26 Feb

Like it or not, acknowledge it or not, believe it or not…everyone is invited to God’s abundant table.

The table is set, let the banquet begin.
Open the doors and usher them in.
The tables are bending with delicious repast,
and the wonderful moment has arrived at last.

I invited all my prosperous friends,
they promised to come to the meal and then
each one sent a note:  “Sorry, my friend,
something’s come up and I can’t attend.”

Will all this food, then, go to waste?
Not on your life!  Let’s fill this place.
Send all the servants out in the street
and have them invite everyone they meet.

The beggar, the poor, the down and out,
people that nobody cares about.
Bring them in and sit them down,
people who live in the worst part of town.

They are my guests at the banquet tonight.
Their presence here is a great delight,
for they are the ones who need this most.
So fill up the hall and let’s have a toast:

For the joy and the blessing we share this good night,
for the presence of these, often out of our sight,
our sisters and brothers who all have a place
at the festive table of mercy and grace.

Like it or not, acknowledge it or not, believe it or not…it’s true.

There Is A Time…

19 Feb

IMG_1149

There is a time to do cartwheels on the sand
and a time to retreat,
A time to build castles and a time
to surrender them,
A time to be bold and daring and a time
to be cautious,
A time to own the moment and a time
to lose it.

It will never look exactly like this again,
so see with your spirit,
sit in awe and
wonder.

Canvas will capture the scene,
your heart will capture the moment.

 

Sneaking Up On Silence

13 Feb

Doorway Posada

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone says to me:  “I’ve tried ‘silence’ but it doesn’t work for me.”  They usually go on to say something like:  “Yea, my phone alarm went off, reminding me that I should take time for silence, so I put the barbells down and found a corner of the gym where I could sit on the floor and I tried to be silent for about twenty minutes.  I gave up at fifteen.  Doesn’t work.  I think I’ll go do some situps next.”

Read the sign on the left door very carefully.  I think it means ‘enter the Silence in silence’.  Preparation is part of the prize.

It is frustrating and disappointing to flip the “Silence” switch and expect deep quiet to come on like a light bulb.  The journey to the center of the soul starts before you sit in a Lotus position or in your prayer chair or some other special place that is conducive to reflection and meditation.

Sneak up on Silence.  Tiptoe, don’t run.  Enter the Silence in silence.  Then, in time, you will know the joy of walking through the other door.

May it be so for you.