Monday, July 3, 2017

OH memory


Perhaps it’s the news of late…perhaps it is the proximity of Canada Day to Independence Day…perhaps it is summertime or the fact that I am about to return to the United States for the first time in a while.

Whatever the motivation, the other day I made a list of things I remembered about my years growing up in Ohio before middle school.  I know it is not the whole story; I knew it as a child too.  These are things that stay with me, though.  And I am grateful.


Ohio Childhood

Hay rolls and MailPouch barns;
Balsawood airplanes, bread bag kites.
Kool-Aid ice cubes in old yogurt cups;
Husking corn, shelling beans,
(Don’t touch the peppers);
arrow heads in the fields;
A praying mantis; pill bugs curling;
honeysuckle, fireflies,
black-eyed Susans beneath the kitchen;
the big yellow slide;
Snapdragons talking,
rolling down hills,
climbing into the sanctuary,
the green, cool, sanctuary,
of the buckeye tree
at the top of the gardens;
a length of rope, an old telescope,
and time and imagination;
resting on a boulder
dropped by a glacier
so that I might have
a place to read.



Kimberly M. King, RSCJ



Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Moment recorded in Italics



24th June, 2017


7:25 AM

Among many other things, I am thinking about the other day in the Gardens, with the rain and the evening tones and how exquisite everything looked…the deep greens, the flower colors, the way the rain was shot through with light…Part of what I was aware of was how that whole, right at that moment, was part of my vision of heaven.  As though we’d walked right into it.  Being here, now, in the Market, I realize that the warm rumbly murmur hanging over this space is a part of that vision as well.  And there are so many things that are a part of that sound… the greetings of the “50,000 coyotes can’t be wrong!” purveyor of lamb to the right of the table where I am sitting; the singing of the woman working School House Gluten Free Gourmet on the other side; Conversations between passers-by and the woman by the steps peddling the Street Beat; the quiet between older couples walking by and holding hands.  And then to draw into this all of the textures and singular beauty of plants, vegetables, woven baskets, people…the textures and all of the colors…and the little girl in the long pink batik dress who just skipped by wearing a jacket with a dinosaur tail running from the peak of the hood to past the hem.





Thank you for this. For the nearness, for the light by which I see, for the heart that lets me feel, for such a fullness of grace.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Feast of the Sacred Heart, 2017


"Cosmic Christ" by Annett Hanrahan, RSCJ
Around the world today, wherever RSCJ are, we will renew our vows.  Around the world… in whatever circumstance…be it precarious, flourishing, just coming to be, closing, changing, unsure…we will renew our vows.  Some years, this act might offer hope,.. in other moments, perhaps it inspires the daring needed to set sail or the strength to stay put and move forward from precisely There.  We renew them on this feast of “spacious union,” where what is most completely human meets what is most gloriously divine… The feast of “Everything has a place,” of “Space at the table,” of Welcome.  It is fitting that it is named for the Heart, an image of intimate center, when it feels like so much of what we see is the fruit of external lashing about.  Let us be about soothing those wounds, be about light on new paths, by letting love pour forth from the Heart, through our own wounds and vulnerabilities, and into our broken, wondrous, and sacred world.  


Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In Exchange


The other day, I read an opinion piece in The Chronicle Herald, Halifax’s local paper.  It was at once brash, harsh, and held elements of truth taken to an extreme.  (Click here to read) Elements of truth or at least shards of a mirror.  On that same day between the front section of the local paper and the front section of The Globe and Mail, there were articles about the case against Bill Cosby ending in mistrial; the acquittal of the cop accused of fatally shooting Philando Castile; the fatal shooting by police of Charleena Lyles in Seattle; the death count from the devastating fire in Grenfell Tower in London; the death count from a forest fire in Portugal; a Dal medical student being found guilty of first degree murder for killing a fellow student from whom he was buying drugs to resell and finance his university studies. 

Venezuela has been in the papers; congressional hearings in the US; the shooting of a Republican congressman; a change in the laws about how many days someone can be put into solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons after an indigenous prisoner spent over a 1,000 days there; Vans driving into crowds

And on and on and on.

The issues are huge and the price is dear. In some ways, it seems the world is asking for our humanity in exchange for surviving reality. 

In asking for our humanity, we are invited to become numb.  Sink in to the anesthesia of over saturation, of violence, and ride the highway to/through hell in a handbasket car.

Or in asking for our humanity, the world is crying out for the best we have to offer. To take notice; to act with mercy, compassion, generosity; to bear the mantle of love’s sometimes difficult honor.

Both of these reflect our human nature. Indifference/self-interest/self-preservation and offering the best; welcoming; reaching out; believing in something grander and that something else is possible. The rich man who walked away; the good Samaritan who stopped.  Those calling for the woman to be stoned; The father who welcomed his child home again. 

There are terrible truths in our world.  But I can’t believe that’s the whole of it.  I need to know, to believe, that it isn’t a matter of having the world on one side of the scale and our job is to balance it out on the other side.  It’s about how we are making our way through…

We choose over and again on a very local, intimate, level, how we interact with what is real.  Sometimes, though, that “how” is the question.  How, when things loom so large, do we try to live out of our humanity in a way that helps the world spin a bit more smoothly, with a bit more decency, kindness, and joy?

So I asked people, 295 or so of them, if they’d be willing to compose a statement beginning with “I believe…” that reflected their own attempts at living that way in our world where beautiful and terrible things happen.  What follows is the result.

I believe that love is stronger than hate and love is stronger than death, and that all creation is ultimately held together in its embrace.

I believe that every person has a sacred worth and value.

I believe things can be better.

I believe in the power of love and the power of words and that both make a difference.

I believe Jesus cries with those who suffer and challenges people who are comfortable.

I believe happiness is a choice and love is the answer.

I believe smiling has a positive effect on friends and strangers.

I believe that women supporting other women is the most powerful magic in the world.

I believe that, although words are powerful, sometimes silent presence is our best gift to one another.

I believe that every life is precious—even the people in front of us every day.

I believe kindness is underrated.

I believe each person has a ‘core’ of goodness because we all were born with a good heart.

I believe in a higher power and the goodness of others.

I believe that treating people with consistent kindness is not just pleasant and right, but also logical and useful to everyone in the long run—meaning that it is pleasant, right, and smart.  I also believe that art (understood broadly) is one of the most important things human beings do or have.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

I believe that we should seek the face of the Divine in everyone we encounter…and be that face to them.

I believe in wearing faith like a loose garment.

I believe that I am a work-in-progress and that self-reflection leads to growth.

I believe in kindness.


Thank you to those who responded.  Thank you for those I encounter daily who make these and other similar beliefs manifest.  World reality challenges me to look at my own behavior and my own humanity on scales large and small and make conscious choices about how I am in this world.  It is good that we journey together.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In your Sanctuaries




O God, you are my God, I seek you,
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
(Psalm 63:1-4)


I have laid witness to you, O God, in many sanctuaries these days... 

In the sanctuary of pages... 

Gutenberg's Fingerprint by Merilyn Simonds ... He takes the page from me and holds it flat, at eye level.  Instead of reading the words, I look across the terrain of paper, shaped now into hills and valleys, pools of commas, fjords of t's and f's, rushing rivulets of s's.  'Words make an impression,' he says. (p.12)

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit...To hear is to let the sound wander all the way through the labyrinth of your ear; to listen is to travel the other way to meet it. (p. 193)

My Bookstore, an anthology... There is no community without a common resource. (Dale Bates, an architect in Ketchum, Idaho, speaking about the bookstore, Chapter One.)

In the sanctuary of nature...

You welcome me with open stem and petal and leaf these days.  You say 'there is room for you within me, within the embrace of my branches and the undulation of my wind.' 'Feast!', you invite me.  On color, on texture, on line or arc or overlay, on shadow and hidden wonder... (From my notebook)


In the sanctuary of the kitchen...

Leaping Greenly Soup (an experiment that worked...named for ee cummings' poem)

1 large yellow onion, diced
2 big cloves garlic, diced
a bit of fresh ginger, (diameter of a quarter and two quarters thick), diced
3 good sized zucchini, sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced
3 or 4 baby bok choi, bottoms trimmed off, rough chopped
a fist sized thin skinned potato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
a shake or two or three of garam masala
Chicken or vegetable stock
Olive oil

Olive oil in the soup pot--onion, garlic, ginger, pepper, salt, garam masala into pot to sautée
Zucchini and apple into pot...shoosh around a bit
Bok choi into pot; potatoes into pot
Add stock to cover
Let burble for a half hour
Blend
Adjust to taste















In the sanctuary of the sky...

















In the sanctuary of your quiet company, joy, delight, and love.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stardust and Song


I went to hear the University of King’s College Chapel Choir late this afternoon in the Anglican cathedral down the street and over a half block.  I have been to several of their concerts this season—each one absolutely exquisite. Listening to them sing stirs me…draws me down and sets me loose at the same time… I ache with beauty and longing…

There is a sense for me of being drawn into a breathing, flexing, living shape of praise… a murmuration comprised of sound instead of birds.  There is One Great Sound lifted into the universe…a sound that moves with incredible grace… The precision of it, the way all of the notes are bound into this shape, this sound, because of this precision… fascinated me.  There is cohesion and there is movement because of how the notes fit with one another.

In the midst of this glory, I began to think about the Roman aqueducts of Segovia, Spain… there is nothing holding the stones in place except the precision of how they fit together…because of that exceptional exertion of forces working together in union and harmony, water was carried to citizens from the second half of the 1st century CE on into the 20th.  

This music, this encompassing swell of glory...augh...these notes bending and blending with one another…they too bear something.  They carry forth our desire, our aching, our prayer…so enticing is the tidal draw of their bond, their breathing, I could feel myself opening to allow as much room as possible for the music to pass through me and bear my offerings too.

Someone was giving a presentation at Barat Spirituality Centre this past Saturday and reminded us all of the basic law of physics that says the matter that IS is the matter that always has been.  There is no more of it, there is no less.  It simply takes on different forms.  So these notes, sent forth by humans...humans made of the same stuff as stars...they don't disappear.  They become.  If this One Great Sound is part of what has been, what is, and what will be, beyond the confines of time or space...  then this music that took on the shape of the wind this late afternoon can be felt by my sisters and my brothers who are suffering, who hurt, who are scared, who want to hope yet fear tomorrow.

Saturated with stardust and aching and prayer, may this music now loosed into the universe serve as a balm for the wounds of our world…

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Eggsestential Poetry


A Course in Omelettics



With a sliced chord
of onion, purple and white,
removed in one movement
from an uprooted underground 
well layered minaret;
With translucent pages
knifed cleanly away
from the contoured spine
of red-pepper quires
that meet in bright binding;
With albumen and yoke
binding all to all 
in simple, in graceful,
communion,
I cook; I praise;
I delight in the glory of creating.


Kimberly M. King, RSCJ