Sunday, April 14, 2019

Entering into Holy Week

This morning before Mass, I stopped for a moment while walking along College Street, enroute to Victoria Park.  In and among cars, ambulances, and other urban groanings, the distinctly percussive Rubbee-dedubbeedee-dub….rubbee-dedubbeedee-dub.   There was a woodpecker somewhere nearby.  After winter’s dormancy, crocuses are stretching their blooms over by the cemetery and I understood why when I looked up into the softest stretch of sky…a gentle blue with a gauzy shawl of clouds tossed across her shoulders.  Who or what would not want to be a part of that?   Coming home by the near edge of the park, I crossed  in front of the Anglican cathedral just as the choir was leading the congregation in their outdoor Palm Sunday procession…it was an absolute delight, a rising swell of music and worship that touched me deeply to behold.

This was my entry into the week that is ahead… a week lived in the shadow of the Cross and in the certainty of faith in Resurrection.  In some respects, a week not unlike other weeks, as the Cross is always present where True Good abides and the roiling waters of evil, injustice, cynicism, and doom do all that they can to saturate and render useless the wick of hope.  And, faith in the Resurrection gives me freedom to say Yes, each morning, every week.  The liturgies and prayers of this week, though…they tell the Story in an intensified way, calling us together anew, re-membering the table of friends who gather to remind each other what this symbol of suffering has become… a call to Love.  Love, with all of its implications and intricacies.  Love, wholly, completely, without reservation.  Love.  Inclusive, expansive, challenging, costly, and to the end.

A call to love as Jesus loved.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Vision of Heaven; Help with the Dishes

Someone asked me recently about my vision of heaven,,,and then I made soup...

A Vision of Heaven or,  Help with the Dishes

A jukebox stretching
from Handel to hip-hop
in the corner of a kitchen;
A dutch oven, a sharp chef blade;
a cast iron skillet and a heavy bottom
two quart pot with a lid.
Counters for working:
chopping, writing, thinking.
A stool or three and sturdy
mismatched colourful plates.
A kettle on the stove and pleasing
mugs for the prayer that is the first sip
of morning glory and afternoon restoration.
There’s a table with room for friends and
not too big for one; a tapestry woven
of sunlight and birdsong, seasonal blues,
and threads the silver consistency of moon.

Here, love is love is love is love;
Here, peace is abundant and the quiet
is comfortable; here is welcome
and home and our
conversation that takes up
where we left off, conversation
about the ways of things and the wonder;
about mystery and glory and sensuality;
about mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and grace;
about my humanity and your divinity;
Here is about you and me and the world.
Here is where I can let go and listen
to your open, freely offered,
no fixed recipe, except bring what you’ve got,
and who you are and your musings and curiosities,
let me help with the dishes,
Heart of All-in Love.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

National Poetry Month

2 April, 2019

Dear Poet, Writer, Versifier,

It can be slam, or a sonnet, or sometimes a hip-hop finesse, that is a quicksilver key slid into the slot and turned around the axis of a pen, freeing the pins and swinging the hasp so that the voice may breathe the life-verse that moves the universe within each being:  the near ones and far ones, any sort of sized ones, rainbow coloured ones, those low to the ground and nearer to clouds and those needing a stick to steady their groove. Each being.

We are each and we are all, poetry on the move.  We are heartbeat and eye blink, we are finger snap and love.  We are footfall and arm swing, breath and the flow of blood; we are language and life and senses and silly; we are, and yes I am repeating myself, Love. And by that I mean we have joy and sorrow and wound and hope; we have potential and promise and the need for others so write and open the door. So read the work of your neighbours who opened their doors to you.

Who we are, all that we are, shapes the language we use and how we combine it.  What your words become, the possible permutation, is for you to encounter—is an act of elation.

Using the palette within the ink, poet...begin your creation.

The world is waiting, the world is in need; You are a poem...let your art feed.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Simply Springtime

Ahhh spring...fertile time for observers of creation.

Among other dogs I’ve encountered over these last several days of longer walks under skies of broad blue, I have met Lupin, the greyhound, who loved being loved on and leaned right in for as much as she could get.  I also met a dog that absolutely galumphed across a park and away from her owner, looking at me the whole while....and, believe me or not, the dog was smiling.  She threw on the brakes in front of me and the woman following her huffed up behind her.  Does wonders for the self-esteem, I said.  The other human laughed knowingly and caught her breath while Lolly and I became enthusiastically acquainted. She held a dance-party for one; I was able to reach in and offer scratchy-ruffles that delighted and brought her four-paw boogie to a momentary simmer.

Two crows were building a nest together high up in an old tree on a corner near where a friend lives.  Each one was breaking off twigs and winging around to add them to the foundation already in place a bit further up the tree.  Their harmony together and the mutuality of the act both touched me.  Build it strong, I prayed...Keep your family safe...

Doors along the streets were propped open to catch a still-cool breeze as I went walking today.  Doors that included one storefront with a sign advertising its offerings:  Waxing! Piercing! Tattoos and Massage!  I laughed at myself because my first thought was...I'm not sure all of that should happen at the same place. Yet, clearly they have enough business to sustain themselves.

Some of that business, I am sure, comes from the students who are back from break in gaggles, clutches, and droves.  The buzz they bring with them is sometimes part of the background noise that helps me concentrate in the public places where I sometimes choose to write.  Rather than edgeless quiet, it provides a boundary against which I can settle my mind, much like a wing-back chair for the body as opposed to a stool.

The students were not to be found in Victoria park on my way home, however.  What was there instead...

was a wakeful peace that hummed just below the snow-melt soaked earth.  Ahh...Spring.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

World Poetry Day, 2019

World Poetry Day, 2019

A poem is outline and indication,
possibility and shadow;
Companion to the eye, the ear, and soul;
enamoured of 
the comma and ellipsis…because,
within a reflective breath
there is acreage enough
for the loom 
that weaves language
into the whole cloth
upon which this,
the banquet of being laid out,
becomes a universal meal
that sustains us.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sometimes a warning, mostly a grace

I was reading through tweets this morning and stopped for a longer while at the feed of a favourite:  @BrainPicker.  She, Maria Popova, had posted this delight:

I shook my head knowingly.  Indeed, in so many ways, that level of clarity would be helpful—especially to someone who has regularly bumbled her way through social interactions for decades.

This was followed immediately by two companion thoughts—

One.  Life is absolutely not that clear the vast majority of the time.  And by and large, that is a good thing.  It leaves room for art, adaptation, creativity, perspective, difference, growth, learning, dialogue…and a host of other valuable insights/experiences.  Perceived clarity also leaves room for other possibilities—some bring hurt or danger, some illuminate truth:  Signs can be ignored. Signs can be wrong.

Two.  If everything did have a sign, what would the single word clear label be for me?

After a day like I’ve had today, it seems fitting that what comes to me with all implications is simply:


A good reminder…and an exercise in honest self-knowledge.

Human.  Sometimes a warning, mostly a grace.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A flashlight and a wrench: Living a life of Love

Let me begin by asking you to bear with me. This should all eventually connect…
A long while ago I had decided that the students who would receive my fictional millions as scholarships would be those students who sometimes receive instead a sigh and a look to the distance, as if wondering how to characterize them or where to put them, categorically. In my mind, this was going to be dubbed The Good Egg Scholarship.  Not that my decision would not have criteria—it did indeed. She would have a solid B to B+ (US grading system) average; demonstrate academic interest and passionate curiosity, critical and creative thinking; He would hold down a part-time job and have a savings account only he contributed to and be in financial need if college was going to be possible; She would have friends who could spontaneously and voluntarily vouch for her character and a life that included interests beyond the scope of school; He would be able to articulate hopes and achievable dreams for the good he would offer to the universe. 
Alas, the millions have remained illusory and so no GES has ever been awarded.
Last weekend, there was a program at Barat Spirituality Centre during which the speaker said, Perhaps briefly, there might be a flare but really, most of us lead quite ordinary lives.  Not quite so long ago, say one decade instead of three, I’d have felt a bit prickly about that. Living an ordinary life felt like something I was relegated to living. Somewhere within, there remained this secret desire to hold a flare. Even though also within me, there was the pragmatic realist who said—you, Kim, are far more about carrying around, offering, and knowing how to use, a wrench and flashlight should the need arise.
I have thought a lot about that as I engage in conversations about the future, about the mission of the Society, about how we are changing, how we want to organize, etc. There will be those people who will walk by the light of the sparks in this world. Who see the signals raised and go to the source, are right there with them, offering the incredible good of who they are at the service of enormous, pressing need; Those who see further, who are visionaries with a seemingly endless supply of flares. There always are. And thank goodness.
And then, as I said yesterday on a video conference, there are those who wake up and have their tea and oatmeal and think about the next eight hours, maybe the next week or month or occasional year. There are those who are not ignoring the cries of the world but rather addressing the manifestation of those cries as they are made known via those we encounter in the daily whatnot of life that follows putting one’s feet upon the ground in the morning: The cry from others to be seen, to be recognized. The cry to be heard, to be understood. The clamour for hope; the wail for justice; The ache for beauty; the desperation for Love.
What I have seen over time and absolutely need to believe for things to make any real sense at all, is that an ordinary life provides extraordinary opportunity to ease the burden of some of those cries however they are manifest in the people I happen to encounter in a given day. And to do so just by using the metaphorical wrench and flashlight I happen to carry anyway…. No flare needed.
This was all freshly dancing within me as I checked my social media feeds this morning…and noticed this photo from the Mindful Christianity Facebook page, as shared/posted on the provincial vocations page, We Are Sacred Heart:

Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.