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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Does love
          And – if it does –
          is it love that obeys
               or proof of love
               or wish for love
It sounds so
          un-love ly

Perhaps the problem
     is not with love

Obey is
     for us
          a four letter word
     implying things
     by our resistance
     to it

But what if
     love is about
          obedience by
          another name

What if
     hearing the
     heart of the lover
     the loved seeks
          nothing more
          nothing less
          nothing else
     wanting only
     what love wants

Love doesn’t

its power is greater than that

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Places where not much happens

We need places where not much happens – to remind us that most of life is not about things happening – not about grand adventures – not about exciting things one after the other. We need places where not much happens to let us enjoy by reflection – to let us just be. To let us just know.

We need places where not much happens – so we can watch the clouds move lazily across a deep blue sky to the gentle rhythm of the upper atmosphere – so we can watch the haphazard flight of a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, its wings a blur, its head by turns shining azure, red, emerald in the afternoon sun – so we can watch a caterpillar trundle its slow way across a sun baked patio, almost run over by a tiny lizard racing to stand stock still for no discernable reason.

We need places where not much happens – to sit, coffee in hand, with good friends talking about nothing and everything, listening to the familiar cadences of loved voices, hearing the laughter behind the gentle teasing, the music of a long friendship made in places like this, for times like this.

We need places where not much happens – to think deeply about things that matter and things that don’t matter, in no particular order – to enjoy considering the wonder of grace and forgiveness and mercy and unspeakable sacrifice that makes places where not much happens possible and necessary, so great is the overwhelm of love in action.

We need places where not much happens – to let the heat of a painful conversation seep into the bedrock of commitment that makes such conversations possible, and necessary – to allow space and time for healing the wounds caused by words spoken harshly, too quickly, fueled by defensive anger – to let spoken and unspoken forgiveness reshape and heal the brokenness that comes from risking love – to know that we wouldn’t have it any other way, for this is what it means to be human and in relationship with others like us.

We need places where not much happens – to rest in the deep love of One Who knows completely, but still loves profoundly and Whose love makes all other loves possible – to let soak in the soul shaping reality of we are in Him – to be awash in gratitude, in thanksgiving which has no words and for which words are many, some spoken.

We need places where not much happens.