Friday, August 10, 2018

Night Music

7:11 PM. In the back of Saint Mary’s 
 cathedral, listening to an organ recital by Robert Summerby-Murray, the president of Saint Mary’s University. GLORY BE, is it H O T in here. The music is spectacular, though. Not quite the cosmos effect of listening to the University of King’s College Chapel choir at All Saints…somehow, there isn’t the same sense of internal space, the room to move among the parts and gaze at the wonders in motion within the beauty being created.  Maybe that is the difference?  This music is beautiful from the outside—like a machine can be beautiful in function and design—e.g, a motorcycle’s aesthetic perfection. Listening to the choir was a chance to be inside something beautifully alive, a system, an “organic” system…a galaxy, or an atom with its protons, neutrons, and electrons in elliptical circulation, giving form and substance to Being.  This music tonight is Energy, pure, raw, bold, and unabashedly itself, even the gentler pieces.

I find it so fascinating that all of these natural images keep coming to me when I bring the two experiences together.  Plants and metals; fiber and stone; atoms and universes, mass and energy… Natural images and contrasts of size… It sounds a bit messy and disparate when I read this, yet it intuitively makes sense to me. Because, though the images seem at extremes from each other, maybe it isn’t about placing them on a line—maybe those images are where the circle comes together and it’s about the diversity of what is held in common: Rhythm, movement, flow, inner/outer of one whole, breath, voice, communication, Life….all present in each, yet such different images are generated.
It all makes me think about the epitaph of Ignatius… Non coerceri maximo, continuo minimo, divinum est:  Not to be confined by the greatest, yet to be contained within the smallest, is divine.

What is at play among the harmonies and contrasts; the lift of a note that hangs at roof peak and the roll of weighty might that pours music into the pews and spreads until it finds its level…. It’s the same thing that sparks between syllables for me and wondrously binds mustard, oil and vinegar in a dressing, and what happens in a meaningful conversation with stranger or friend…  It’s Rhythm, proportion, science, language, math, music…beauty…passion…creativity, interest…generativity…For me, this is the Stuff of God… in so far as God is of Stuff: …essence…element…mystery…wonder…Source, origin.

And the diversity of ways that this is all revealed!  Through chorus, through organ, through tear, through silence, landscape, literature, poetry, relationship to self to other, to Source… The fullness of truth in each of those things does not limit or diminish the fullness in any of the others…

Somehow, believing that makes things all the more incredible, more free, more ‘and with Ah!  Bright Wings.’  (G.M. Hopkins)
  

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A meal made of Enough

When I found your words, I devoured them. Your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart. 
If you come back and I take you back, in my presence you shall stand; If you utter what is precious and not what is worthless, you shall be my mouth.

-Jeremiah 15: 16, 19—from lectionary readings on 01 August, 2018

How do we get from ‘not enough for everyone’ to an abundance beyond our imagining?  What does it mean to go from scarcity and fear to generosity and care?

-A question that arose from the Religious Formation Conference and cited in the 30 July, 2018  posting on the blog All This Life and Heaven Too, a blog written by Silvana Dallanegra, a member of my religious order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart.

I have had a chance to be away these last two weeks.  In that time, I’ve seen people I love and don’t see often enough, I’ve done work, walked long a river, consumed a fair bit of coffee, made customs officials smile with a chance reunion in the Toronto airport, and read some good books. I’ve seen amazing maps hidden in quartzite and granite slabs while helping someone pick a countertop, helped a friend arrange and hang artwork, and seen the documentary about Mr. Rogers. 

But when I read the combination of those two italicized pieces this morning, I thought of something else.  I thought of the opportunities I had to sit with people.  On couches watching movies; on porches, in pajamas, conversing over coffee; at lunch tables in a gymnasium; in cafes and restaurants; over Scrabble and Settlers of Catan.

I thought of the words of deep, wide, love that were shared in different ways…according to relationship, to age, to context.  Words that sounded like laughter until weeping; that sounded like gentle teasing; words that were full of truth and challenge; words that sounded like an ache being shared; words that formed questions to get to know someone better; rhetorical questions posed in safety and meant simply to be heard; queries about whether someone wanted the last slice of pizza or mug of coffee or “Anybody else need a drink while I’m up?” And sometimes, words that were not spoken but equally present…in silence and sometimes given active dimension in deed.

These words, I devoured… Words of care, curiosity, Love, abiding presence, abiding welcome.  Words from people who have been my company and stood strong in the winds of time and circumstance; and words from new kites who invite me to risk, to fly still further.

Words from people in whose presence I wish to stand; in whose company I do stand and I do act. And sometimes that happens to be face to face and I understand all over again the closing line of Les Miserables, the musical:  To love another person is to see the face of God.
So long as I do something meaningful, valuable, precious, with that fullness of understanding…so long as each of us who has the good fortune of knowing something of that swirling company of Love that sings in so many unique lyrics, breezes, swells, and alleys of life does something to see it move on and touch another, then I can’t help but believe that we will bit by bit move from scarcity and fear to generosity and care.

God is infinite and wondrously beyond the scope of my imagining.  And so is the good that Love can do when made manifest in the gloriously wild diversity of humanity.  

To try and stop that would be heart less.  Would be worth less.

We have a banquet of words set before us to devour, to share.  Let the meal and the table we offer be a meal and a table of Love, not a meal and table of conditions and appendices of exceptional cases.  There is enough.  Enough room, enough love, Enough.

For me, I think the real question might be, Do I believe that?  What would happen if I chose to act as though I believed that I was loved beyond measure and reason? If I chose to act as though there was room for another…perspective, thought, way of understanding…need that is greater than my own…And that there was enough.  And that this truth of room, of welcome, of infinite love, was a truth for Us All?

What that is worthless has that as its foundation?  

Let us eat well of love’s rich and varied vocabulary and make of that meal something generative, something beautiful, something as expansive as has yet to be imagined. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Memory Garden

It’s a kohlrabi.  I’ll get to that part in a bit.  

I have been remembering gardens lately.  Gardens of my young childhood, because I don’t remember them appearing after fifth or sixth grade.  Garbanzo beans, green beans, wax beans, shelly beans, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, carrots, butternut squash, cucumbers, sugar pumpkins, big and knobby jack-o-lantern pumpkins…

And always, interesting bugs, the summer-earth smell of green that got stirred up by my legs, the tickle of the leaves, the way you had to be careful squatting down to look at something interesting because the rows in between weren’t that wide and you didn’t want to tip and break delicate stems; the watering bucket, the bushel baskets, the canning jars, the garden hose.

There was the year of my father growing chili peppers to dry and use…and he told me, his ever-curious daughter, chubby handed and about six years old, Do NOT touch the peppers, especially if they are red…even THOUGH they are bright and red.  And he related the story of why…which involved his hands swelling and itching and a trip to the emergency room.  Somehow, the story just wasn’t enough…and yep, I touched the peppers…a little.  And spent the day itching the daylights out of my palms by rubbing them up and down my shorts.  Dad never said a word, though he surely noticed. He didn’t need to.  I’ve never touched one with a bare hand since.

I remember too sitting on card table chairs in the garage with my grandmother.  We each had a brown paper grocery sack of shelly beans and a colander. I have no idea what the beans are actually called.  We only ever called them shelly beans.  And that’s what we’d sit there together and do…pop the pods, beans into the colander, pods back into the sack….until the beans were done. I loved the way the freshly shelled beans looked and felt…so cool, so smooth, so pretty—all salmon colored and flecked with brick red.  

There are single memories too…the sound of the rattle on the top of my other grandmother’s pressure cooker; the year my uncle stuck a cherry firecracker inside one of the ears of corn in the corn row and then lit it to explode while we were walking several stalks behind him; Kool-Aid ice-cubes in repurposed yogurt cups; unexpectedly finding the garter snake underneath the large leaves of a zucchini plant…and shrieking to high holy heaven.

Then there’s kohlrabi. 

We grew kohlrabi too. But they never made it into the house. My father, uncle, grandfather, and brother would pick them, hose them off, and stand bent over in the garden eating them like apples.  

I read about them again recently and enquired at the farmers market here on the harbor-front.  They were in last week and I bought one.

I cut it into little planks and roasted it with a dribble of olive oil and coarse salt.  Delicious.  It stayed crunchy, had a great texture and a clean green taste, and was actually refreshing—not an attribute I normally ascribe to a vegetable.

I thought of Hurley, Jerry, Roy, and my brother while I ate some of the sticks and shared them with the others who were home.  I thought of them, and sparklers, and homemade ice-cream and my mother laying claim to the paddle in the middle, licking it clean while standing in the middle of the yard.  

Good times.  I am glad for those memories.  And I’m glad to know of kohlrabi first hand, 40+ years later.  

I can't but think with a chuckle that they are probably wondering what took me so long.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Constant to a Purpose


From 18 June, 2018

2:20 P.M.

There was one loon out for a low-tide bob in the rain—or so I thought. That one loon was actually waiting for the others to arrive before going on a swim ‘round and having a go at afternoon fishing.  It’s either two males and a female or two adults and a young one—but I think the sizes would indicate that they are all adults—too big for being young.  I love that one of them waited—and that they are now three. A Trinity.

3:30 P.M.

There is one out there again, a sentinel keeping watch over the break in the stone wall.  So peaceful, so constant…constant to a purpose beyond what I see or can understand from my perspective.  

5:50 P.M.

The fog has dissipated and the clouds have thinned to nearly translucent.  there is a kind of white shine upon the water.  As though she’s dressed in evening finery.

I re-read these observations this morning and was taken anew with the image of the loon being constant to a purpose beyond.  It got me thinking about “the vision of faith” I referenced in this post from last week. It got me thinking about trade wars, armed wars, opioid crises, the dehumanizing politics of migration...

One loon,
a sentinel,
keeping watch over the break in the stone wall;
peaceful and constant to a purpose 
beyond the limitation of my vison.
Teach me that same stamina 
for keeping vigil; 
that unwavering watchful faith
that the waters might change,
that the tide will rise;
that evening will come and morning will follow
and your creation will be baptized in light,
and we will be dressed and ready
in the finery of freshness
for what is yet to come.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Feast of Thomas, and those who think differently

Brothers and sisters:  You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets with Jesus himself as capstone.  Through him, the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord.  In him you are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
-Ephesians 2:19-22

The language of faith equips us for the struggle against the objective cynicism of our situation.  It does not merely repeat what was; it does not merely reflect what is; it opens and changes.  We learn to understand our lives as a struggle against the prevailing cynicism. We understand ourselves in unity with Christ as part of the Kingdom-of-God movement for righteousness.  We will be involved in conflicts.  It is no longer enough to be personally decent and inoffensive. It never was enough, incidentally.
-Dorothy Soelle-
Excerpted from the reflection from 03 July, 2018 in Give Us this Day.  
Originally appearing in her book Choosing Life.

I read both of these readings this morning, the morning of one of my favorite feast days—the feast of Saint Thomas the “I think differently.”  I will forever contend that he gets a bad rap when referred to as The Doubter.  In my book, he simply needed the information delivered in a different way.  

I reflected on Thomas, as it is his feast day…And, I also read this in light of a news story I saw on CBC last night.  Toronto has opened the first Hospice for those who are homeless.  The doctor who began it spoke with beautiful heart.  “We may live differently, but we all die the same death.”  He spoke of wanting the Hospice to offer respite, beauty, and a sense of place, of home, so that homeless people might be surrounded with this experience as they die.

They interviewed the first resident, Pandora, 27 years old, as she met with the doctor before moving in. You saw photos of the toll that a life of hard living takes on a person.  You heard a story of choices made, abuse suffered, addictions that overwhelmed, and a final illness that counted her days in wispy breaths.  She moved into the Hospice.  Pandora died two days later, in a place of security, a room, the doctor said, that she claimed as her home.

I knew someone not unlike Pandora.  He too struggled (and mostly lost) 
against prevailing cynicism and needed information delivered in ways that would make sense for him.  Forget common sense or taking it on faith.  Faith required a vision he did not have.  A vision past, a vision beyond, that can imagine that the structure will hold together and have room enough for him.  

The doctor on CBC didn’t use Dorothy Soelle’s ‘language of faith,’ but Jesus did.  And when Jesus did use the language and the actions of faith, of compassion, Thomas received what he needed and joined the household of God.  “My Lord and my God!”

It didn’t surprise me that Pandora died two days after coming to hospice.  She could let go in safety, she could relax in that dwelling place of God’s spirit.  In the language of faith, the cynicism of life on the street gave way to a deeper vision of freedom.
The man that I knew also died two days after being put on hospice-care.  His hard-living was done.  He gained the freedom he spent a long time trying to find while coming at the world more differently than anyone I’ve known.  

May we all receive such people as Jesus did and take the time to learn how to offer our own hands, actions, listening, compassion, so that all might enter in and find shelter against the prevailing cynicism of our time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Just Write the Double Espresso

I have been thinking about this post for days.  When I posted the poem from Martins River, I happened to notice—Oh geez, the next post is #500!  The 500thpost…eleven years after starting this blog.  (And I had been worried about whether or not I had enough to say to sustain it…Ha.)

Part of me thought—Oh, this should be about something big. Something monumental, something befitting the imaginary neon banner that runs across the top and flashes 

***F I V E H U N D R E D***

And then I thought about my loyalty card for a local coffee shop.  When drink number ten rolls around, it’s on the house. They don’t put a limit on the drink—It could be any sized splashed out bit of goodness they offer.  But I never really think about that…heck, half the time I don’t even know what number I’m on.  I order the drink I want (usually a double espresso) and every now and then, I get the good news that it’s free. 

In other words, there is no neon banner flashing….and no fussing with inventing a monumental topic simply because I’ve reached a milestone that does in fact surprise me.  I’m just going to write the double espresso.

I was reading Robert MacFarlane’s The Wild Places this morning and he spoke of balloons on strings describing circles in the air.  I love that use of the word describe.  You give shape to something else…you create parameters for something so that it might be imagined… The balloons were moving in such a way that the shape within the path was a circle.  Balloons also describe a quantity of air.  

For 500 posts, this blog and its whole variety of themes and contents, has helped me describe the wonder and mystery that is God in my life. For eleven years, this blog has helped answer the dream of a kid who used to look hard at things and think it might just be possible to see inside if she could let go enough; a word-loving kid who wanted a way to tell other people about what she noticed or thought about because somehow she knew that every now and then there was something important there…there was a connection to something beyond her that was a source of consolation and wonder and wow.  Decades on, she calls that God.

Thanks to those of you who stop by and read the posts here, who share the posts and comment upon them… Thanks for sitting across from me and sharing in the conversation and the quiet; the curiosity; the poetry, the prose, the photographs.  

Cheers. ‘Tink.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Retreat at Martins River, 2018

Martins River, 2018

Church bells to lean against;
Cape Islanders, sailboats, and dories
in reunion before me.
You, silver-winking in your delight
with the lot of it: with the purple house 
and the teal one next door;
with the boats and their sleep nodding prows; 
with the masts trying to reach you;
with the gulls who play tag with you; 
with the syncopated pealing of carillons;
with the lemon rhubarb scone
that is the taste of every springtime color 
and a sticky hum of summer’s freedom.
I don’t bother with a napkin
even though my fingers
are lightly tacky with delicious.
At best, maybe
that is what awe and wonder are…
Not the experience itself,
but what remains
to allow us to enter into,
to open out onto,
your presence
over and still again.

—Kimberly M. King, RSCJ—

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wingspan

The other day I looked back at a poem I wrote a while ago and re-worked it a bit....

Wingspan
Oh glory what can gather
in the wingspan of my voice…
the bite of a color, 
a wide-sky ache of longing, 
the song inside a stone.
These wings, my voice-
oh the pleasure 
when it flies,
when it smooths and when it
pauses; when it rises;
when it follows a sonnet’s contours,
when it wails and when it laughs;

when it is freed on the power
of a spiritual truth and wakes
the word from the page
and conforms to it, tastes
the story and speaks the feast;
These wings, my voice.
Oh, what I do not yet know, 
what I consider in awe and curiosity,
is how far this voice
can stretch.
I want to use these wings until
at day’s end they are weary
and can go no further.
I want to feel
syllables of life upon my feathers
and be able to describe how they catch, 
how they lift, how they weigh, 
how they waken the fireflies 
when they skim past at dusk-hour.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Evening Light at the Public Gardens, Halifax




Evening Light at the Public Gardens, Halifax

I’d thought I’d had enough for my evening meal; Then this. This spectacle of indigo feasting that leaves me at the table, unable to move away.  This hour in this place is such evidence of God's delight...I'd call it magical, but I know better.  It's so much more than that, so much bigger than that...Augh...it leaves me with a feeling of such grandness and such humbleness... The words feel too heavy, yet at the same time, I longed to try...







Diaphanous radiance of evening glory
that settles the in-between spaces
of dandelion glitter.

Light that skates the sharp ache of edge
where new green meets the unbound blue
in a bold proclamation of 
I AM.
Evening sun that wakes the day 
with a sea of reedy candles,
while waiting for the comets to dance.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trinities

 It is Trinity Sunday today…and it is beautiful here in this part of the Maritimes.  Stunning, really…at least, insofar as I understand that.  It is warm enough to not have a jacket on and cool enough to not get hot when you walk; the sky is nothing but a wide blue invitation; and the textures of nature are busy about shaking free from the last vestiges of dormancy and stretching their freshness toward the brilliant new day.

I knew that I wanted to go over to the Public Gardens this morning.  It is one of my favorite places, rain or shine, truth be told…though it is especially welcoming on days like this.  I wanted to go there to feel both embraced and set free; I wanted to steep in the wakening glory of its beauty; I wanted to be still and to notice, to feel, to sense, the different kinds of trinities that come together there…

Trinities of bird and branch and shadow; texture, hue, and sound; bend, path, and cradle; living and dying and waiting; apartness, a part of, and whole; azalea, tulip, dandelion; resident, tourist, wanderer; peace, letting go, and groundedness...

All of these different combinations, different qualities, aspects, appearances, working together to make a place where people gather, sit, talk, dance, sing, walk, cry, hold hands, hold canes, push chairs, skip, sip coffee, have lunch on a bench, and dribble ice cream down their front without a care in the world.  It is a space that can hold a diversity: of life; of activity; of beauty, emotion, reality.

So too--and much more--the space of faith in which I live and move and have being thanks to the Trinity that will be honored especially at Mass today; the Trinity I mark myself with, bless myself with, daily; The Trinity of mystery, grace, and challenge; The Trinity that beckons, receives, and journeys with; A Trinity of Love, of Love, of Love.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Thrilling Incompleteness of the Journey

I read a reflection by Saint Augustine this morning and he's been on my mind ever since.  While there are a multitude of worthy quotations and many writings about him—to say nothing of his own Confessions…I return time and again to the line I once heard in a class.  It was one of those ringers: a line you hear that doesn’t ever really leave you, a line with the lasting reverb of truth for you and a resonance that stays swirling in your rafters.

Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

A funny representation of this truth is made known when I see the other two books keeping me company as I type here on the fourth floor of the public library:  Pilgrimageby Annie Leibovitz (AL) and A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf (VW). Something I was reading earlier today about the color blue led me to those two books.  In flipping through them, I felt the warm dawn of sense-making. Augustine-Leibovitz-Woolf-King…yes, of course.

There is text to accompany the photos in the AL mid-size coffee table book.  For it, she traveled to the textures of life and place for the likes of Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, Marian Anderson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Graham, and many others and saw this geographic facet of their truth through her lens—literally and figuratively both.  She wanted to be there, to see, examine, sink into…in some ways, remove the barrier.  Totally cool. And, glory, I get it.  To be so close to something that believing we might become a part of it—or perhaps already are—seems not impossible.  The desire to do that… It is an extraordinary intimacy, a longing…a longing to connect with what is most essential or fundamental…A pilgrimage. 

In her diary entry of 30 June, 1927, VW describes her experience of a solar eclipse two days prior:  
we joined them, walking out to what seemed the highest point looking over Richmond.  One light burned down there.  Vales and moors stretched slope after slope, round us.  It was like the Haworth country.  But over Richmond, where the sun was rising, was a soft grey cloud.  We could see by a gold spot where the sun way.  But is was early yet.  We had to wait, stamping to keep warm…There were thin places in the clouds and some complete holes…We saw rays coming through the bottom of the clouds.  Then, for a moment, we saw the sun, sweeping—-it seemed to be sailing at a great pace and clear in a gap; we had our smoked glasses; we saw it crescent, burning red; next moment it had sailed from fast to the cloud again; only the red streamers came from it; then only a golden haze…

 And on it wondrously goes for pages.  The detail, the intimate description in Word.  The desire to put it down in language on a page so that this nearness to something that cosmic could be experienced anew; entered into a-new…

And then there is the conversation I had the other day with someone about “The More” of Saint Ignatius.  To seek it, long for it… Part of the conversation—at least internally—I honestly can’t remember if I spoke this aloud—was me thinking about how that longing for the More has elements of both here and now and there and tomorrow. Sometimes we need to go to find it, sometimes we need to stay and learn to see the fulfillment of our longing exactly where we are.   That there is More, however…no doubt.  That there is within me an insatiable curiosity, wonder, desire, for that bigger image of God…oh my soul, YES.  Do I long for that fullness of knowledge, being, and glory?  More than anything, yes…   
 
In the thrilling incompleteness of the journey, I reach…for others, for lens, for pen, for art, for work, for listening, for learning, for ways of growing in freedom and grace, for sharing, for love…as ways of drawing that much closer…to the Heart of all, to the Centre, to the Essential Inspiration,  the Origin and End, that is You.   Yes, my Heart will be restless and longing…until it rests in you.

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.

Lavender-tulsi
(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

Home

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
inside.
And the birdsong of neighbors; and 
the whispers between moon and comet.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ