Grandchildren

Life moves along, 

in a way that we hardly notice.

The baby born one day,

is an adult with their own,

thoughts, challenging your,

certainties about life and love.

Grandchildren, growing into

themselves, a reflection of you,

even though you might not be ready.

Life, that great mystery,

of heartache and love,

of finding ones way in the midst,

of the confusion and pain.

The old man seeks to find,

refuge for those who follow,

knowing that nothing he does,

will ever save them from the reality,

of all that presses upon their lives.

Yet, try we must, to give our best,

to be open to the possibilities,

to be unafraid to venture again,

into that world where all is new,

and we find ourselves unsure,

yet willing to try, to live, to love.

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Some Thoughts

 I’m not one to dive into the world of politics but lately it has been hard not to get sucked into the whirling vortex. It’s not so much the candidates, although a few of them do leave much to be desired, but more of the rhetoric. Some politicians, who were thought to be intelligent and wise, have gone on to social media blasting away using 140 characters. Not one of our post-modern politicians would ever match the debate skills that highlighted the Lincoln-Douglas debates of the mid-1800’s. Then again, we, the people of this country, have such a short attention span. We can’t even sit through a full one minute commercial on television, never mind an hours long debate that is thoughtful and productive. What we see today is a product of our own making, a Barnum and Bailey side show where the loudest and most audacious voices get the most attention.  Unfortunately, it’s too late to turn back the clocks. We cannot return to those bygone days but that does not mean that we have to eat the slop being presented. Way too much of our information is tainted with less than accurate data or taking comments out of context. Even the most trusted of journalists will twist the truth to match their own political agenda. Most of all, we have forgotten that this is a Republic, and being so requires us to be an intelligent and informed electorate, to separate the chaff from the straw. Of course, that’s not easy. It would mean that we would need to engage with the politics in a thoughtful and meaningful way. We would need to hold each politician accountable, for what they say and what they do. 

 However, first and foremost, we need to look deep within ourselves and be accountable as well. As a priest I continue hearing that if schools would only bring back prayer, or if we could once again place the Ten Commandments on the town square, then all would be good again. If only it were that simple. We, as Christians, are called to engage on a deeper level with our neighbors and in our spiritual lives. Too often I hear that people are busy, running around from place to place. Some are so scattered that they forget what day it is as one appointment or event runs into another. Lives resemble a Jackson Pollack painting, all over the place with little or no structure. We are all caught in a web of busyness that we cannot seem to break free from and it is fracturing our lives. Just restoring prayer in school or putting up monuments to the Ten Commandments, is not the answer. Slowing down, shutting off the noise, and taking a moment to just breathe in the Spirit of life, will go a long way to helping us restore some balance. 

 As I approach the one year anniversary of my accident, I have become aware of my own need for sabbath and quiet. In what I do now, in my writing, has become an important part of my life. In these brief missives I try to deepen my own understanding of myself and my relationships. My prose may not be the best, my poetry might need much work, but in what I write I find a certain peace. For me grace has been like the opening of a flower in the early morning. The petals slowly reaching out to embrace the warm sunlight as the new day begins. The intentionality of just being present, of not trying to push the process but instead allowing it to gently feed my soul. I’m not totally divorced from all of the rhetoric, I cannot isolate or even construct any psychological walls, but I can take a moment to inhale God’s breath of life that opens my heart.

Quiet

It is quiet right now as I sit here. 

Rain has been falling and 

there is the occasional rumble of thunder. 

As the rain waters the parched earth, 

in this moment of quiet the Spirit 

quenches my parched soul. 

It is time to slow down, 

to be silent, 

to listen to the beat of my heart, 

the steady rhythm of life. 

Sometimes I feel like water 

rushing over the flooded plain, 

always on the move, 

looking for that path of least resistance 

in doing so failing to see 

the wonder and beauty all around. 

In the colors of spring, 

in the sounds of the birds, 

in the laughter of a child, 

all is wonder and a moment 

to connect to the deeper mysteries. 

As the rain comes down 

two birds gather food for the nest, 

they are neither rushed or disturbed, 

as they quietly go along.

Poetry

Poetry, is the spoken word of God,

the way we humans make sense,

of all that we see in the world.

From the birds in the air, to the flowers,

in full bloom, full of color and fragrance.

Deep within each of us is that poem,

that reaches within the darkness,

and leads us into the light.

The poetry of silence in a noisy world,

poetry of thoughtfulness as we seek,

God’s gracious gift of peace

Blue Egg

On my morning walk heading to preach and 

celebrate Gods graciousness I see a small

blue robins egg lying broken on the hard

pavement. I wonder about the tiny life that

once inhabited that egg, was it now in the

nest, it’s neck stretched out seeking its 

mother’s offerings, growing each day.

Will this tiny creature one day test its wings

take off from the nest to fly up into the sky,

to float on the warm spring breezes, to one 

day itself create its own nest, a haven for other

small blue eggs. I wonder this as I seek haven

for my prayers, that they may grow and one

day take flight, carried on the soft breeze of

the Spirit to grow in the darkened places of

my heart. The hardness of the world can break

the fragile eggs of our hearts desires, for peace,

for love, for gentle touch that warms the soul.

Grace upon grace, Gods gentle touch, softens

the hardness as I take flight on warm spring breezes

A Cock Crowed

The cock crows announces death,

as nails tear through flesh and bone.

Bodies displayed on wooden beams,

in the distance one hangs himself,

while women weep, tears staining the dirt.

The voices once so loud now stand mute,

as dark clouds gather on the horizon,

and the earth trembles from its core.

Dice are cast mocking the dead,

while the fates weave a new tale.

Washed hands now seek peace,

in their slumber the innocent haunt dreams.

It is finished as all go home,

to find love, only to be left cold.

The lightened sky beckons dawn,

the sellers of goods begin the day.

The world seems the same yet,

in the air a sense of something,

not yet understood, in the smell

of myrrh, and the feel of linen.

The cock crows to announce the 

new day, as a stone is rolled away.

Image in the Mirror

 I’ve been working on my second piece of creative nonfiction for my class, this one about my time in Vietnam. If anything this has been an interesting piece to write. I liken it to finding an old, cracked mirror up in a crowded attic stuck way in the corner covered by a dusty old sheet. Pulling off the sheet the dust flies and for a moment you cough or sneeze but then you get to look at the mirror itself. There are some cracks, the image is a bit distorted as the mirror has been warped by seasons of heat and cold but even with these flaws there is a bit of truth in the image you see. Around the mirror is an old wooden frame, it too has seen better days, the wood is cracked, the veneer peeling away and there is no longer any shine in its appearance.  As I take on the challenge of writing about my life, where I have been, what I have seen, it’s like staring into that mirror. The image is slightly distorted, the frame a bit warped and cracked, yet within that image lies the true picture. It takes more than just a little cleaning to get it right, sometimes the mirror needs to be manipulated, turned this way and that to try and clear the image. Like standing in front of a funhouse mirror, as you move your shape is distorted, this way and that, but that shape does not change the essence of who you are.

 Hemingway is quoted as saying, and here I paraphrase, that writing is easy, all you have to do is sit down and bleed, well making sense of the distorted image is much like that. Twisting, turning, grabbing the frame and pulling it one way or another, can be and is a painful process. In all of my pulling and tugging there are moments of clarity, where I see the image in front clearly revealing both its attributes and its flaws. Being able to write these stories takes no small amount of courage. It’s not the kind of courage one takes into battle, for that is directed externally, it is instead a courage to dive deep into the realm of self. It’s that courage that I reach for as I journey along this path that I have chosen. The journey into the deepest part of the self, into the world of Jekyll and Hyde, the good and the evil that is in all of us, if we have the courage to face those images.