Monday, December 31, 2012

Releasing and Receiving in Time

Jesus made it clear to the young man who wanted eternal life to come to come to him as a matter of course, like so much of the rest of his life had, that emptiness – openess – is a prerequisite to receiving. Both Jesus and the young went away sad because his hands were so full of so many wonderful things that he had no capacity for the answer to his question.

As we come to the turn of the year, this story makes me wonder what my hands hold that limit my ability to receive the new coming?

There are all kinds of things this past year has brought that I find myself still holding onto. Some were damaging when they first came – and continue to be so. I know that the longer I hang on to them, the greater the damage will be. But I have kind of gotten used to them – have even adjusted how I think and live to make room for them. I bring them out every now and then, reliving the hurt and the disappointment all over again. They will gladly travel with me into the new year – but will undoubtedly limit my capacity for the new just as surely as they have done already.

The only way to receive, is to release. So, I must forgive – those who have hurt me, intentionally or not. They shall not have control over my capacity for wonder for one more moment. Release is more important than payback. Release prepares me for the new. Payback dooms me to repeat the old.

As it turns out, I must also release myself. In sorting through the contents of my hands, I find all kinds of coulda, shoulda, wouldas. They circle in an endless spiral of regret, the fuel of disabling shame – and they have to go! I must not allow what might have been to limit what might still be!

Of course, tt is not just painful things I have to release. Like that young man, my hands are full of some pretty wonderful things. They were meant for the moment – meant to pass through, to be used – but I have managed to hang on to them, making them the measure of wonder going forward. But now I find my hands full with yesterday’s wonder – and without capacity for tomorrow’s! Best to enjoy each moment. Then let it go – with thanksgiving and sacrifice.

Release makes way for receiving. It is the only thing that does. No better time than now.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Keeping Watch at Night

It had been a
     in the deep
     dark silence

Not a word
     not a song
     not a glimmer
     of light in
     the east or
     anywhere else

And there
     they were.
     just doing what
          was expected
     keeping watch
          at night.

In a moment
     the silent darkness
     simply ended
          the sky itself
               with wonder
               with good news
               of a great joy!

     New song
     flooding out
          from silence
     Light shattering
          the deep dark

And to whom
     was unexpected song sung
     did longed for light come?

     To those
     keeping watch
     at night
          as expected.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Waiting in the Dark

 We sit
          in the gathering

Images of
     slide seamlessly
     in and around
     a mosaic of
          shaded with
          the textures of
          joined now
          by stark

Hope stretched
     by loss
     upon heart breaking

     not lost through
     but taken
          wrestled away
     all but
We sit
          for dawn
          a single

Sunday, December 9, 2012

No Room

The bathrobed inn-keeper’s voice
     breaks with
     age or
          “There is no room
               at this inn.”

     As they turn
     and make their way    
          he, watching them go,
               and calling says
          “You can use the stable
               if you want.”

     They want.

          And there in the
          splendor of an empty
          stable, their son is born.

History corrects –
     no inns
     no innkeeper
          They were staying
          in an ancestral home
          crowded, perhaps, by
          taxpayers, like them.

But still
     no room
     no place
          for their son
          to be born.

Except a deserted
     back cave seasonally    
     used by the animals.

Not much different
     these days.
          still crowded out
          still no room

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are We There Yet? (Advent One)

 The voice comes floating
     from the back seat
     of my mind.

Maybe the deep pull
     of the there
Maybe the impatience
     with the getting

Still the voice
heard once
     heard hundreds
     of times

More than the
     longing for
          is the desire
          to be…

     not now.
not yet.

Still miles to go

It will not come
     sooner for the

Best enjoy the
     getting there
     while we can
     while we must
It alone
     prepares us
     for the being

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving: The Usual Suspects

The routine tracks of my Thanksgiving reflection take me back to familiar places and people on this day set aside for it. That is as it should be, I think. The usual suspects, because they are usual, are all too often taken for granted – not forgotten, exactly, just not remembered with deliberation. And that, too, is probably as it should be.

Some, long since gone, are so woven into the fabric of my life that it is sometimes hard to know where I stop and they begin – which thoughts mine, which theirs. Coming over the distance of years, their voices are crystal clear, forming the soundtrack of my inner life, blending into a symphony of meaning. Still others have been the mirror in which I have known myself – and like a mirror, have all but disappeared into purpose.

Grateful for colleagues at the various places I work, whose ideas challenge and change the way I think, or who ask just the right question at the right time – beginning a new adventure. Laughter weaves its way through conversations, giving them an effervesence, a liveliness that is deeply refreshing. Working with people who care so much about what we do together challenges me, humbles me, encourages me.

And for those, closer still, knowing best – forgiving most – holding lightly, but closely. Sharing the messy, chaotic journey through the ebbs and flows of becoming, as much part of me as I am of myself – maybe more. Just thinking around the table gives pause for unspeakable gratitute. Each one, themselves. What gifts of grace – laughter, listening, hearing unspoken connections of understanding over time, sentences finished without words, worlds of meaning in a raised eyebrow, a half-smile, depth in shared stillness.

Then, unfashionably perhaps, but looking into the mirror – seeing who is there, as aware as ever of faults and failings – still, thankful for the gift of my life – of me. To do less would be to undermine the thanksgiving for those above who have helped me become – and will, until done.

And, most of all, for Him in Whom all thanksgiving – indeed, all life – is made possible. Enabling wholeness through the wonder of giving thanks – inviting me into His own life, bringing what I am, finding place at the Table.

Thanks be to God.