Saturday, May 12, 2018

This Common Humanity

This absolutely fills me with joy.  This has me thinking about the Spirit and its different images/manifestations.  It’s like our best, deepest, greatest, inspired  humanity…flowing in harmonic waves and making music.  And it is happening Together.  Not alone…it’s not about my humanity…but Together…and it is a witness to Our Humanity.   

It seems to me that we are organically wired to respond to Bobby McFerrin’s invitation. We are creatures of pattern and rhythm…eyeblink, footfall, heartbeat……and we respond to each other in pattern and rhythm as well…finishing one another’s sentences among friends; the comforting recognition of the footfall of someone we love; breathing in time; reading aloud en masse—who teaches us to do these things?  

When we hear the traditional beginning to a story...whatever that beginning might be…Once upon a time…Había una vez…we ready ourselves to hear something that follows the dramatic curve.  Intro…rising action…climax…resolution.  It’s the pattern we know.  Around the world.

We listen for and follow the inherent rhythms and contours of language;  Everything from limericks and haiku to hip-hop depend on this.  So do leaders of protests, cheerleaders, and advertising departments.

We follow physical patterns and rhythms.  Someone on the street looks up, what do others start to do?  Just the other day, I was talking with someone about soldiers marching in step and how when they cross a bridge, they are to break step lest the power of the waves created by walking in rhythm with each other cause the bridge to collapse. (Engineers claim that modern construction techniques render this unnecessary.)

We are creatures of pattern and rhythm.

When watching this video, I am in awe of how Bobby McFerrin reminds us that we know this about ourselves.  He reminds us that we know this, interprets knowledge into notes, and he says “Enjoy it with me!” Enjoy this common humanity…let it become music.  Let us become music.  Together.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ascension Thursday, 2018

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

It was as a part of a poetry unit that I first read this poem with a classroom of  fifth graders. The memory of our conversation, however, comes back in gratitude and wonder as I read the readings for today’s Feast of the Ascension.  

We’d watched YouTube clips of how network television would close out the day’s broadcasting by showing a jet soaring in the sky while a voice-over read Canadian RAF pilot John Magee’s words. We looked at the verbs, the descriptions, picked favorites…spoke of some of the hundred things we’d done that we had not dreamed of…  The kids LOVED his use of language and the imagery worked equally with boys and girls.

Then, in a moment of educational fervor, I quoted the last two lines and asked a room full of ten/eleven year olds— How many of you have done that?  How many of you have put out your hand and touched the face of God??

The hand of nearly every kid was raised. And we spent the rest of class telling those stories… Many of them were moments of beholding natural beauty, some were feelings of “just-right-ness” like running across the soccer field and royally whacking the ball…

It makes me well-up still, remembering that conversation with them.  I thought…You are ten.  You are eleven… and you walk around with experiences you consider to be “reaching out and touching the face of God.”  You believe not only that it is possible to touch God’s face, but that you have partaken of the possibility.  We are not so removed from that glory…Oh, please remember that you know that. 

I bring their faces to light in my memory again this morning and a multitude of others are in the crowd surrounding them…the faces of so many students I have taught and the faculties of schools where I have been; the regulars on each corner of Spring Garden Road; those people who get “the lonelies”; those in hospital with no one to visit them; shopkeepers; the children who have known only war; the women and men who have had no choice; poets, scientists, dreamers…they are all in my heart. I bring to mind their faces  and want to add… Especially in this world of ours….As Frederick Buechner wrote:  ~Here is the world.  Beautiful and Terrible things will happen.  Do not be afraid.~   Reach out and touch the face of God.

~Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.~

-Ephesians 1:17-23-

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day Revelations

Beloved, see what love has been bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.  Yet, so we are.  … Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like God, for we shall see God face to face.

What we shall be has not yet been revealed…when it is…we shall be like God, for we shall see God face to face… Gory, what an enticing promise… 

I read that this morning while sitting in the embrace of a natural cathedral…the centre, the heart, of the Public Gardens. For the first time this season, the air was buoyed by a kiss of springtime; dormant colors had shaken off their outer layers, determined to begin a strength regimen toward regaining full, wakeful, glory; the textures of all that was alive seemed to be flexing, stretching forth, jockeying for a place in the sun that would ease stiff creases and freshen the dusty gauze.

It is as though the Earth too has Being not yet revealed…and creation is waiting with anticipation to see the splendor, the riotous display, of line, of hue, of beauty, of what it will become.

To think God is like that with us…to think that one day I will know…and meanwhile get to behold a thousand other becomings…

Absolutely incredible. Divinely thrilling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Snapshot in Haiku

Indigo Hour

Indigo hour calls
luminous and liminal;
Day’s end, thoughts lengthen.

(Known too as ‘holy basil’)
tea; my senses sigh.

House-sounds infusing
this contemplative here, now.
Such grace is welcome.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

(Thank you to friend, Lisa T. for the phrase, 'indigo hour.')

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Each Braided Bit a Story


Such roots as I have
are woven into a nest borne with me 
from place to place.

Delicate and fiercely capable, both; 
It can bear the wild whip-crack of rain
until it passes and meanwhile remember 
the cool sun-filled winds that will come
to dry and fresh bless this home
that has grown with me; each braided bit 
having told its story, adding to height or girth
or the number of windows and doors.

Windows and doors:
There are more of those now, affording a freedom 
of movement within and with-out. 

I have learned too
that once set into their jambs,
they can both help keep the rain at bay
while also letting 
the light, the light, the light
And the birdsong of neighbors; and 
the whispers between moon and comet.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Friday, April 13, 2018

Through the Bend

From the notebook...

13 April, 2018
7:15 AM

In the sunroom with hot coffee rightly proportioned and sourdough toast with ricotta and cinnamon—an altogether lovely breakfast.  It is especially cozy to be in this particular room on a morning like today.  It is pouring and it is blowing—though in such a way that the roof fans have not yet started their cranky ‘whupping.’  So for now, it’s the wet-slap staccato pounding on the windows and deck that draws me deeper down, into the corner of the short couch, into a wakefulness grounded in You. Thank you for this.

It is no less a feeling of a fullness of you than last night with the beauty of the light and the cool evening air…and yet, entirely different. Somewhere…or some-when…overnight, we moved through the bend of the Moebius strip.  Outer into inner.  

I love that we do in fact move…that it is at your invitation…and that we do it together.

Walking home through Victoria Park after transcribing this entry

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tis a Gift

Simple joys have always been important to me.  The onset of spring is no exception and today was a blue-skied beginning that worked its magic on my spirit.  

When I dropped someone off at the airport, I could have easily, so easily, kept on driving.  It was a day for a road trip, for adventure, cool sun-filled air, and deep fresh breaths.  
Alas, it was also a day for responsibility, so I returned to my work and took care of what needed doing. 

After a while indoors with emails, phone calls, and planning, it was time to run errands.  I just couldn’t imagine only looking at the day outside…I wanted to be IN IT; so off I went on the mundane errands a day can call for…adventures of a different sort.

And oh, the treasure…

I picked up a copy of a favorite childhood book as a present for a friend and had a lovely ten-minute conversation with the woman at the counter about the value of reading aloud and sharing simple moments in good company.

Upon leaving, I found myself on the sidewalk walking toward a woman I have been running into all over this part of the city in the last number of weeks.  I have no idea what her name is but we both enjoy the random encounters and greet one another with a big smile.  We haven’t ever had a conversation beyond wishing one another a good day and yet the smiles we exchange stay with me.

Coming home through Victoria park, I ran into a woman who comes to our house for Mass on Sundays. She introduced me to a neighbor and I helped them look for her neighbor’s family’s memorial brick in the walkway…and got a story about the neighbor having tamed crows in exchange for my hunting.

Between the park and the house, I was having a text exchange with a new friend and took two phone calls from people who wanted to sign up for a program at the Centre.  A great combination of new life.

Rather than go up the drive and in the back, I walked further on so I could make the turn and go in the front.  Some urge had me tuck inside the fence line to look at the blueberry bushes and while bending over them, looking for signs of new growth, I turned and saw one lone crocus blooming in its blue-purple fullness beneath the rhododendron—a delicate sign of light, promise, and the return of color.

It was a lovely day today.  

Thank you, God, for such simplicity as this.