Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The view

I look at myself and long practice
Distorts the image I see
For good or ill

I look at others and my thoughts
My values
My beliefs
Distort the image I see

Lord help me to see clearly
If I am going to err, may I err on the side of grace
Help me to see the best in others and myself
Help me to see hope
Help me to allow growth
And hope

Deliver us all from our blindness
Deliver us from our eagerness to see the worst
Forgive us for those moments
When we have not seen ourselves or others with your eyes

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The self in the mirror

I worry that Jesus drinks himself to sleep when he hears me talk like this. Anne Lamott.

Everyone once in a while.
Out of the corner of my eye
I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror


I will be the first to admit I have done a lot of good stuff
I have had adventures
Seen the the world
Helped people
Published books

But I have had moments
Oh so many
Of which I am not proud
And I have some deep rooted flaws
That cause me to be,

Let's Just say I am not Jesus

And there are moments when the person I see in the mirror
Is not one I like

I see myself as some others
Not all others,
But as some others see me

The image is both truth and lie
But it is

It is what is there and what people want to be there
For good (some want to believe in me)
Or ill, some want to see and believe the worst

But there it is - at least this morning
In the mirror
That rather ugly
Knobby self
I'd rather not see

I think I'll move to

Friday, August 29, 2014

On funerals and other things

“I liked those ladies! They were helpers, and they danced.' These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper, and that I danced.”
― Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

I love funerals
because they are usually hopeful (all about God’s love)
and kind
(he was a great father, when he really wasn’t all that great)

But they are appropriate
these words of faith and compassion

I hate funerals
because they reveal my own struggles with faith
(does God really love me, really?)
and my own tendency not to be kind to my self
(if they have a funeral for me, probably no one will come)

funny how sometimes
as the evening stretches on
such thought wander into one’s mind

it wasn’t a bad day
I taught a course (it was not excellent, but adequate)
saw some clients (does anyone ever get better from working with me?)
had the annual board meeting for my agency (I still have a job)

and now, as I think about bed
I can feel the fatigue
my neck hurts
and my mind is sore

part of me is just tired and a little down

but part of me grabs hold of the thought
that there were moments when I did help
and did dance

and made someone smile

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An open letter to parents who have lost a child

Dear One (s)

It is a horrible tragedy when a young person dies.  As parents we never expect to outlive our children, and when the death is so unexpected it is uniquely difficult.  I have often wondered how I would respond if I got a knock in the middle of the night telling me my child had been killed!

I want you to know that although I cannot truly know your sorrow, I believe you as parents, and all those who are part of your family, must be in terrible pain.   I have no clever answer about why such things happen.  I struggle with the presence of such tragedy in the world.  I suspect it is just the way it is in a world where we are given choices, and make them.  And where those around us also have choices that can turn out tragically.  It is the way it is in a world where illness and natural disasters occur.

The only thing I can really hold on to, as I did when my parents both died of terrible illnesses, is the fact that “nothing” as Paul says it, “can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus”

God loves us when we are born.  As we grow up.  God loves us when we do well, and succeed.  God loves us when we mess up and fail.  God loves us in our joyful moments, and when we are in despair.  When we are children connected to God, our Holy Parent, we are loved.  When we have chosen to be “out there” and try it “away from home”, we are loved.

When tragedy strikes and we are ill, we are loved.  When in a moment, on a dark night on a country road, something goes wrong, we are loved.  In that moment of dying, we are loved.  And beyond, we are loved

I believe God loved your child, and loves your child still, in that new place, that “something next” he/she is now participating in.  I believe God loves you, and each person in your family who is hurting.  I hope you can each feel, in some way, that love.  And find some strength and peace in its presence. 

I believe there are people around you who care.  I believe there are people around you who are carriers of the Sacred, and who can help you find hope and healing.  My prayer is that those people will find their way into your lives, and that you will recognize them when they arrive.

But mostly I wish for you, in the midst of this time, God’s presence.  I would like to close by sharing with you a blessing given first (as far as I know) by John Claypool, who also lost a child.

God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you, God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you. Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you. Do not be afraid.  Amen.

Secure Attachments

the mother deer looked slightly affronted by my presence
her tail flicked
and those huge ears
(the better to hear you with my dear) twitched

nearby a little fawn anxiously pranced

gently the doe nuzzled her child
calming and loving
and then
without another look
peacefully went back to her grazing

her child now secure
went back to chasing bugs

the security
of love and trust

every child deserves this
every child of every color of every country
every child of God

Lord forgive us for the many ways
we fail to provide security
for your