every common bush

earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes – the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. elizabeth barrett browning

Hello 35

This morning I walked to the end of our road in my slippers with a mug of hot coffee. The boys are old enough for me to slip out for an “end of the road” walk now. This was my first one and it felt like Life’s birthday present to me. It is a cloudless, all blue sky today. I shouted to our neighbor who was pruning her flowers how beautiful and cottage like her flower gardens are shaping up to be. She shouted back that this was just the look she was going for. I love it when conversations work out like that. I came home and danced in the kitchen while making breakfast smoothies.

While dancing in my kitchen, profound thoughts started flowing and for a moment I could see that reality really is as soft, loving, and safe as I hope it to be. I could see that we really all are ok: me, ben, our kids, our extended family, our friends, our community…the whole world.

While dancing in my kitchen, I also experienced profound gratitude for getting older. My twenties and early thirties were so very painful and I am glad to be shedding the wrinkle free skin of youth for the spotted, cracked skin of wisdom.

While dancing in my kitchen, this is the wisdom I knew in my heart of hearts:

*Love multiplies rather diminishes when it is spent. Unlike money, time, people, and oil that eventually run out, Love expands with use. It is the most renewable resource we have. Not only does Love not diminish like the other things we “use” to refill ourselves, it doesn’t have the nasty side effects of misused drugs, alcohol, sex, power, control, relationship and on and on.  No hangovers with Love. only more Love.

*Love is most transforming in places and people that lack it. I think of the Scripture that says that even pagans love their friends. that is easy. but real love is how we respond to people who hurt us and to situations and systems that are run by ego fueled power and self protection. This is where the absolute power of Love shines like the triumphant light in the darkness. It worked on me!

*God is Love. He really is. His spirit is all around us, filling the cracks and crevices of our home, our atmosphere, even our very bodies. He is in our cells, merging with us in the most microscopic way. He engrains with us so that there is no distinction where He ends and we begin. He really is that close.

*In this God Love, everything is connected. Separation and scarcity are a figment of our scared imaginations. I, whose drug of choice is connection, do not have to “go and get it”, as if I am not part of a great cosmic interwovenness already. This is why I embrace getting older. Every day is closer to true seeing, where my own triggered brain no longer dictates my view of reality. Death is freedom from the prison of our own scared, self preserving perceptions. Yet even still, my mind is seeing more and more what is actually true on this earth right now: “How wide, how long, how high, how deep is the love of Christ”.

How happy this all makes me to be alive. I am filled with joy at the year ahead, whatever it brings. I trust that the great flow of God Love in me, through me, as me (thank you for that imagery Ruth Reamer) will carry me into a wider, longer, higher, deeper experience of this life in God.

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A Parent’s Love

Birthday parties decorated in your favorite color

Cool hands on fevered hot skin

Love notes in lunch boxes

 

Prayers said,

books read,

sleepless nights, rolling in bed,

all with you in mind

 

fights fought

rebellion caught

silence in the face of screaming

no matter how demeaning

they don’t let go

 

Love takes time,

decades even,

to catch up to the human soul

but when it does, life begins again

a second birth, born into a world that,

soft and ordered,

makes a lot of sense.

Small Packages

a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit 

The city is alive

Christmas trees on tops of cars

A mother yells for the child who has roamed too far

Twinkling lights brighten the night

Lovers hold hands in window seats

Their hearts match the horse’s beat

strolling with a family of four

Oval mouths sing deck the halls

overtop the city sounds

In Central Park there is a rare, dark corner

in it sits the stump of an old dead tree

Nobody noticed when it fell

Nobody misses its shade or smell

(If it came back, no-one would tell)

But in this dead, not missed tree

Something is happening, smaller still

A sprig of green, barely seen

Like two cells meeting inside of an unsuspecting mother

New Life

The groaning and moaning and longing of this world

answered in an inaudible sound

It would take silence and a thousand megaphones to hear

The shoot in the dead tree grows

The baby in its mother forms fingers and toes

God is here, and who would think

He would come like this

* a very quick note on where this poem came from. this christmas, we are skipping the tree, the lights, the presents, and the amazing christmas movies in lieu of well…nothing. it was ben’s idea and I wasn’t looking forward to it very much. in all of those wonderful things’ places, the symbolism of this very, very small green leaf and this tiny cellular baby holding the hope of the world, has bloomed in my heart. why did God choose to come so tiny? so quietly. “to shame the wise” perhaps.  anyways, this is me trying to assimilate that imagery and its significance in my head. God is so different from this world. so unexpected and upstream.  I love it.

Children Are Persons

I once thought children like clay

you mold them

shape them

guide them into form…

My fingers ache with trying

You are wild, like wind

You are air and spirit and Life itself

You are a force that won’t be contained by hands

A creation all your own

I am in awe of the strength of your spirit,

getting clearer, more defined everyday

My striving hands become praying hands

and bowing hands

The person in me honors the person in you.

An Autumn Walk With My Boys

kerplunk                               

acorns falling on the forrest floor like blueberries on tin

the trees are deaf people clapping, wind chimes chiming

squirrels claw, scratching bark to ascend

Plop!
an acorn encounters the water below

a perfect circle forms around its’ memory

a bird trills, a dog barks

it is autumn in a forrest that is alive as you and I,

[maybe more]