I’ve long had trust issues with You
We both know the truth of it
Sometimes I don’t like poetry’s punch
sometimes it reveals my own sordid secrets
my prejudicial biases despite
my walk of shame through trash-filled parking lots
hearing howls from next doors graveyard shifting
willows always weeping
fake flowers decomposing in the worm laden grass
My faith starts the morning
feeling a bit wet and soggy
I keep leaking all over my day
trying to lean into the heart of it all
the end of the innocence was over long ago
still and yet,
Jesus always willingly
lays down on the proffered cross
even as the daily crucifixions continue to be demanded
by mobs and masses
the known and unknown
(I keep desperately wanting, expecting, something different from)
carried out in-spite of the pain inflicted –
possibly because of the pain inflicted –
we are violent people
so ready to kill
to proudly prove our way the only right one
even so, love knows no boundaries
chooses to soften on in
courageously receives the wound
lies there calmly bleeding out
dies over and over
in-order to rise again and again
the face of the lover cannot harden or turn away
always faces forward
sees with second sight what is possible
else all will be lost
soft answers wrung from the broken, bleeding hearted
are the only way through the hate wrung words
of the wounded little birds
defending their own lostness
we can never be whole if we refuse
to lay down and hand the nails to the other
…I know it makes no sense…
…It’s never my first choice…
even with practice it’s brutal
to get on that rugged tree
…Hence the trust issues…
All I somehow know is
it’s my only shot at truly living a life of joy
A life that matters even a little bit
A life that carried the weight of eternity
and so I try every day, all day,
just a smudge,
to doubt myself
and trust the Greater,
the One True Love and Lover
the Maker, Creator and Guardian of my pathway and only hope
of getting what I truly want
which has always been
to truly see and love another
to be fully seen and loved by that other in return
I drink the sweet right out of the day
mile after mile Im astounded
the way I ride right into the blue shadows of mountains
to find them 3 dimensional
I wonder at the way skeleton trees with bushy tops
fill these rock edged mountains
so many trees
this world is so very full of abundance
so much to share
why do we grasp?
why do we hoard?
I notice the way the road is cut through layers of rock
I notice crows the whole way…
even a named exit, I’ve never noticed, before leads me to them…
magic is certainly afoot
it calls my heart, soul, mind
into beauty places
I stop for the scenic view
I drink deep of this honeyed panorama spread before me
The sun sets gracefully
in-spite of my dirty rearview mirror
I gratefully arrive safe home
I wake up with 606 miles to go
I remember to remember
this day is my gift
let me not forget to wonder in the ordinary
to see beyond my own tired eyes
gazing into the language of mountains, valleys, trees and hawks
let me not forget the beauty behind me
this time with friends and family
these celebrations of blessed union
this music, the love of my heart
let me be grateful and lighthearted for the beauty yet to be
this time with children and making new friends
this place to carve into home
the music playing always
ready to walk into the room with me
yes, this is an ordinary day
I will drive so many miles
I will be exhausted and ready to land
well before the end
but, really, this in no ordinary day…
there is no such thing
every day is a wonderland
full to the top with gifts of goodness
let me see each of them
let me scribe them into my soul
let me bow and say thank You
let me share them with another
let me wake tomorrow to find another ordinary,
You must not think that what I have
accomplished through you
could have been accomplished by any other means.
Each of us is to himself
indelible. I had to become that which could not
be, by time, from human memory, erased.
I had to burn my hungry, unappeasable
so inconsolably into you
you would without cease
write to bring me rest.
Bring us rest. Guilt is fecund. I knew
nothing I made
myself had enough steel in it to survive.
I tried: I made beautiful
paintings, beautiful poems. Fluff. Garbage.
The inextricability of love and hate?
If I had merely made you
love me you could not have saved me.
The Ghost by Frank Bidart
Some folks are sure there’s no God there—
the one, of course, who never was.
Abandon proof of what you know to be imaginary.
Instead: Have you ever known love?
Have you ever felt the wash of a stream
flowing through you from the impossible?
Have you felt a surge of self-giving
not of your own making,
toward a neighbor, a lover, a child?
Has water ever flowed unexpectedly?
Have you ever followed a silent Voice,
from a dry rock drunk deeply?
Don’t argue over someone else’s fantasy.
Believe, not in the treasure in someone else’s field
but the gem you stumble on in your own.
What mystery allures, believe in that.
What deep root sustains, believe in that.
What births love in this world, believe in that.
You may doubt you have been provided for—
but are you here? Are you breathing? Are you—
your hands, your thoughts—not a work of wonder?
Ignore the idea that has nothing to do with you.
Turn to the One who draws you into wondering,
who gives you this thirst, who is this asking.
Drink plenty from this deep-welled strangeness.
Throw your life into the fire of love
and whatever catches fire, follow that,
and believe in the fire.
… there isn’t one of us who doesn’t need people who believe that the broken are the most beloved, that the busted are the brave, that the limping can still lead. It’s always the vulnerable heart that breaks broken hearts free. The world has more than enough people who live a masked insecurity.
It needs more who live a brave vulnerability.
We in this vulnerable communion of brokenness and givenness, will simply keep surrendering again to love because God is love and this is all that wins. No matter what the outcome looks like, if your love has poured out, your life will be success-full.
Because in the end: What matters most is not if our love makes other people change, but that in loving, we change. What matters is that in the sacrificing to love someone, we become more like Someone. Regardless of anything or anyone else changing, the success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving.
Am I brave enough . . . to live not afraid of broken things? First steps always seem like not enough, but they are the bravest and they start the journey to where you’re meant to go. It takes great trust to believe in the smallness of beginnings.
So today? Be brave. Your bravery wins a thousand battles you can’t see because your bravery strengthens a thousand others to win their battles too.
⁃ Ann Voskamp
#TheBrokenWay #BeBrave #LetYourselfBeLoved
A few seconds before happiness
tore poems from my heart
it occurs to me
that everything is grace
both sides of the gift are equal
that to fly free and ride the shining sunbeams
means trusting your pilot completely
even in the uneven spaces pushing against us
knowing my pilot opens my soul to sheer beauty
to rivers of adventure cutting through my grids of protection
through my grasping of thin shreds
through unnecessary issues of control
I am suddenly aware
the gates to the kingdom live right here
open when I step forward
in this confident level of knowing
in this bursting moment of joy
in this perfect snowflake of eternal beauty
created just to melt unseen by mortals
forever imprinted into this worlds history
in every which way
because of love
What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more – something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
– C. S. Lewis
the full red moon, more
moves the waters
to and from the shore
perfectly timed waves kissing
sand and toes
like tongues exploring
moving deeper and deeper
building into crescendo
pounding wave after wave
riding us into passionate ecstasy
rhythms naturally moving within
circles swirling higher and higher
until we fly into the rainbow
of pure beauty
as close to God as we can come
on this sphere of terrestrial grace
walking for these moments into sheer timelessness
within the milky way
borning new stars with the heat of our sacred connection
light lighting light
forgetting the questions
we arrive at the truest goal of our living
in the fires of the first universal truth:
we are all one
Meanwhile, back at the resurrection
night has turned to day
here I stand amazed
at my own rebirth
dazed and a bit confused
eyes blinking in the morning sun
attempting to adjust
I am completely changed
from my life to death
back to life experience
more than a bit claustrophobic
due to the burial, no doubt
I am no longer sure
if my bank account is active
or my passport still relevant
how will I go on here in the world now?
what will my friends and family do with this who-is-now me?
they who have done with grief
and moved along with life in-between
I am, for sure, no longer the way I used to be
I have, for sure, experienced things they will never understand
I have flown with angels
and seen what lies beyond the Milky Way
I have, for sure, left my fear behind me in that fresh, unmarked grave
I know, for sure, there will be no turning back,
no compromise of this wild and exquisite thing beating within me
this life of mine is mine
this heartbeats miracle will be never forgotten gift
I can only take this first step
away from this boneyard
named and dated final markers
a place I no longer belong
I can only start close in
in silent revelry walking
along this uncharted path
which will only be revealed by my footsteps
I discard my grave clothes
and turn to see the colors of my new self shining
I take a small shaky step
and find the ground holds my weight
I breathe deep
inhale – exhale
soon I will attempt to speak
with my new voice
there is a song being written
which must be sung
a beauty seeking to burst
which will no longer be denied
a love now known
which will never be unknown
I raise my hands and kiss the sky
I bow my knees and kiss the ground
I rise and begin the journey afresh
through this narrow gate of now
that leads home to LIFE
hen Lazarus heard his name<
e took a sudden breath.<
ith visceral trembling blood resurged.<
ut then, as when awakening some days,
e lay a moment, mired,<
eluctant to rise from the familiar<
waddling of his death<
ising, even more than dying,<
here could be no return:
or if he chose to stand,<
ll he knew would then be lost<
nd still now every morning,<
ach momentary wish for healing<
s a risk, a wakening call<
o change, to choose,<
o leave so much behind,
nd be again made new.
teve Garnaas-HolmesUnfolding Lightwww.unfoldinglight.net
full of grace,
remember to forget that:
surrender struggles to catch it’s breath,
then falls soft
as evening prayers at twilight,
gathering into the corners of our hearts
before falling full onto the center of our living circle, free and happy as Friday night.
next morning’s sun fills us,
each day, each season.
nurture moves with grace, evolving slowly thru
our caring hands,
our grieving hearts,
our shared experience,
our acts of courage,
the healing salt of our tears.
with pieces of our true love,
we fly flags,
of our own making
to heal the worlds –
we allow –
we understand –
we stand and fill our world with the beauty
from lesser gods,
the terror all around.
love is the shield,
love is the answer,
love is the choice,
love is our glory,
sons and daughters
of the King.
in spite of our broken pieces,
our refusal to believe,
even our darkened hearts.
You thought your inhalation
was nothing but air.
Now, through the Master’s grace,
you know that every breath
is an ocean of stars.
You thought that your mind
was an electric ghost
in the neurons of your brain.
Now, through the Master’s grace,
your body floats like a thistle
in the blue sky of awareness.
Your heart overflows the golden
There is no difference at all
between silence and creation
when you drown in the Master’s grace.
Your stillness is seva,
the storm-like power that
sweeps the earth clean.
Even when you sleep
that eye does not close
whose gaze is your Being.
Now dream and sing, dance and cry,
die and be shaped like a tear again
in the womb of a fearless love.
we are here to impact the world
in special ways
each of us play some small part
in the greatest story of all
…and God spoke…
God keeps creating….
we keep creating…
It’s who we are…
our design is to design…
having impact takes destruction
from chaos comes order
beauty in every part of the process
Can you see it?
Can you live there now?
step into the blasted uncomfort-zone?
stay there for as long as it takes for the mud to settle,
for the bones to pop back into place,
with no guarantee of a pleasant outcome…
will you stand up and be counted?
keep stepping into the void
knowing the value of the work
knowing the well-being of the world may well depend on us standing in our own over-sensitive skin
speaking our own shaking words of truth
choosing what we truly want to eat from today’s menu
“The more sincere your questions, the more sincere your answers,” I rattled off on the phone to her after a long, exhausting day book writing. I was sharing where I was in the process, recapping the flow of the map I’m creating, worrying that the first step was too hard, the first invitation too challenging. “You know? Like when we ask the wrong question, a shallow question, a question looking for quick results, we get unfulfilling answers, rushed “realizations” or “solutions” that don’t stick — not for long. I want them to ask deeper questions. The kind that put them into real alchemical processes. The kind that inspire them to live the questions, as Rilke says. And I want to teach them how.” “Rach, don’t worry that they can’t go deep. Just take them there and let them decide. That’s your job. You’re allowed to challenge.” “You’re right. You’re right.” And I told her how I needed this practice for my own damn self right now. Because I’ve been asking the shallow questions, getting shallow answers. Afraid of the intimate truth that real inquiry reveals. Afraid to be that close to the quiet sacred beauty of birth and death, beginnings and ends, miraculous light and miraculous loss. Afraid to see myself soaring like a self-directed sage in a fog of majestic motion. But our fears reveal our truest questions. Can I see the light through the fog here? Can I love the hazy unknown? Can I feel the blessing here? Can I embrace this epic wild?
The more sincere your questions, the more sincere your answers. “What is your truest question?” Isn’t something you can answer with your conscious mind. You must take the time to go out into the world and look with symbolic sight for the oracle nature delivers, the messages you receive when you make yourself a humble receptor, when you let your subconscious wonder. What jumps out at your blood and bones? What do you see that feels like a poem? And how might this oracle reveal a deeper question? Honest questions call in honest transformations. And while it can feel intimidating to be so intimate with the truth, it is this awe inspiring intimacy that you truly long to remember — that feels like healing, even when it’s hard.
The Idea isn’t enough,
You will need Guts.
Guts isn’t enough,
You will need Wisdom .
Wisdom isn’t enough,
You will need Resources.
Resources isn’t enough,
You will need quality People.
People isn’t enough,
You will need Leadership.
Leadership isn’t enough,
You will need Action.
Action isn’t enough.
You will need Direction
Direction isn’t enough,
You will need Grace.
Grace isn’t enough,
You will need an Intent.
Intent isn’t enough,
You will need Humility.
Humility isn’t enough,
You will need to be a Learner.
Learner of all phases can help you,
To Be Human Enough.
Seems Good Enough,
Seems Good Enough.
– Ingredients 🙂
A Crazy, Holy Grace
A CRAZY, HOLY GRACE I have called it. Crazy because whoever could have predicted it? Who can ever foresee the crazy how and when and where of a grace that wells up out of the lostness and pain of the world and of our own inner worlds? And holy because these moments of grace come ultimately from farther away than Oz and deeper down than doom, holy because they heal and hallow. “For all thy blessings, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, we give thee thanks,” runs an old prayer, and it is for the all but unknown ones and the more than half-forgotten ones that we do well to look back over the journeys of our lives because it is their presence that makes the life of each of us a sacred journey. We have a hard time seeing such blessed and blessing moments as the gifts I choose to believe they are and a harder time still reaching out toward the hope of a giving hand, but part of the gift is to be able, at least from time to time, to be assured and convinced without seeing, as Hebrews says, because that is of the very style and substance of faith as well as what drives it always to seek a farther and a deeper seeing still.
There will always be some who say that such faith is only a dream, and God knows there is none who can say it more devastatingly than we sometimes say it to ourselves, but if so, I think of it as like the dream that Caliban dreamed. Faith is like the dream in which the clouds open to show such riches ready to drop upon us that when we wake into the reality of nothing more than common sense, we cry to dream again because the dreaming seems truer than the waking does to the fullness of reality not as we have seen it, to be sure, but as by faith we trust it to be without seeing. Faith is both the dreaming and the crying. Faith is the assurance that the best and holiest dream is true after all. Faith in something—if only in the proposition that life is better than death—is what makes our journeys through time bearable.
⁃ Frederick Buechner Originally published in The Sacred Journey
The little girl quietly walked away
from the real and scary world
through the secret door
where no one could follow her
into the world of make believe
where everyone loved her
and understood everything she needed to say
where the play was all about play
and the laughter was not at her expense
the angels loved her singing
and all the magical fairies were her true friends
For so long I grieved my losses
extreme as they were
right now in this magic moment
I am learning
I have learned
to love the sound
of my footsteps
as I walk away
from those people and things
who do not,
are not meant for me
as hard as that can be
it is all grace upon grace
beauty stacked on beauty
there is more goodness in this world than anything else we will ever find
and so it goes