Monday, February 19, 2018

Beyond the Immediate

Beyond the Immediate

I took a walk this morning in the holiday-quiet streets.  It was a bright-eyed quiet…crisp and inviting. So I walked…and stopped periodically, rather hoping no one was watching and wondering what I was doing.  I was listening. And looking. And steeping my senses in something detectable though just beyond the immediate. 

I returned home and installed myself in the corner table of the downstairs dining room to do some work while soup did its thing on the stove in the kitchen.  Dividing my attention between the keys in front of me and what was happening in the other room, it occurred to me that much of what happens inside that simple, humble, pot, is also something just beyond the immediate.  It’s chemistry, it’s science, it’s a bit of knowledge, a handful of creative luck; it’s time, hope, patience, and if needed, adaptation. It is layers of flavor, welcome, home, hearth, and nourishment.

There is so much just past the immediate.

And maybe that is where the desert-journey of Lent leads…Maybe that is the draw onward that calls to the students who will be walking out in protest of gun violence...the burning in the hearts of those headed toward Emmaus…That place just beyond the immediate….detectable, desirable, and worth the cost.

The fullness of Mystery, fullness of Love, fullness of grace, justice, welcome…drawing us through an immediate that brings out the absolute fullness of humanity—the potential for devastating hatred and violence as well as the capacity for extraordinary strength, generosity, and tenderness. 

What a gift we have been given to consciously choose to open up our senses, our mind, spirit, being, to something beyond the immediate; to be oriented by a Love known in the here and now and also so much bigger and to let that be what draws us onward, let that be what shapes and informs us--and through us, those around us, on this journey.

Winter Blue Light Lentil Soup 
(Born out of opening drawers and seeing what was there that needed using)

Heat up a good glug of olive oil in a heavy bottom soup pot that has a lid

Sautee the following until the onions are soft and you can smell the spices

1 bok choy, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bag of baby carrots
about a teaspoon of cumin
a shake or two or three of dried chipotle pepper flakes

Add

a mostly drained can of diced tomatoes (the ones with red pepper if you want kick)
A good handful or two of red lentils (I just reached in the bag and grabbed)
Chicken broth to cover everything
Let burble for a half-hour or so.  Blend with an immersion blender. 


Polish up finished soup with a short glug of rice wine vinegar.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Help my Unbelief


I had a conversation last evening with someone about the latest school shooting…I’d had a conversation earlier in the day with someone too.  In both conversations and in a comment I’d made on a friend’s Facebook page, I found myself sighing and thinking “Help, Lord, my unbelief.” My unbelief that things will change…my unbelief that things haven’t changed yet…my unbelief that a nation can sleep when this is happening…my unbelief…that has nothing to do with God and everything to do with human beings, human nature, and the inability to make a decision.

The unbelief—it has its foundations in an all too intimate awareness of the complexity of this issue.  The unbelief has roots in watching laws get rolled back and pockets get lined thanks to the choke-hold power of the gun lobby. It comes because congress seems to think, or perhaps even claim to know, that US citizens would rather give up the safety of their most vulnerable populations than give up the right to legally own, load-up, and wield, weapons of war. The unbelief comes because though there have been an obscene number of opportunities, congress cannot collectively decide that it would be better to try reducing the possibilities of violence though peaceful means rather than have a little extra jingle in their pockets. 

I might have a hard time believing that Congress will actually enact laws to help ease this collective infection, but as a woman of faith, I shall summon up every reserve I have and I will speak out with ink and voice until we make a better decision for the sake of humanity. 

I thought about that again this morning while sitting in one of my favorite thought-spots at the farmers market. 

7:10 AM Hammered dulcimer music floats over the round-edged comfort of early morning conversation between passers-by and vendors selling both winter vegetables and the promise of spring. The coffee is hot and strong, the book newly begun, and the pen has ink. Amen.

And then a little while later:

…It is time to let someone else feel the blessing of February morning-water sun spread across their back.  It’s a beautiful thing, that feeling…not dissimilar to listening to Evensong the other night.  It is a feeling I find myself “yearning-into”—something more than leaning. The tender, permeating, wide-love warmth that makes even the vulnerability of allowing my spirit to stretch and relax in public a blessing.

And then I thought… this feeling, this is my wish for humanity.  Feel the weight of this.  Not the weight of weapons.  Not the weight of no better option.  Not the weight of hate, racism, injustice.  Not the weight of purchased influence.  Let us decide together bear the weight of Love and all that it asks of us.  

Giving in to that takes more courage than anything else I know.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Evensong

14 February, 2018 4:23 PM

Early and alone in the Anglican cathedral, listening to the University of King’s College chapel choir practicing for Ash Wednesday Evensong.  Their sound nearly leaves me aching…with longing…with beauty…

I always seem to think of the solar system when I listen to them…so many pieces moving, each in an orbit and the orbits holding each other in their elliptical dances…aural choreography with cosmic effect.

Those hanging notes…the ones that linger afterward…augh.  They reach my ear... they draw me to themselves in unavoidable absolute captivation…I feel myself lifting with the sound and know the desire to be taken up by the sound…longing, somehow, to go to or give myself over to, the place where the hanging notes rise because that…that, is where the words of poetry have substance and beauty written into their syllables…it is a space within the sweep of the Muse’s diaphanous shawl, within the sigh of the Spirit...

It is a place of alone-together, of intimate concentration, of divine vulnerability…a harmony of waves, notes, giving light to the Word that lies within all that God has brought into being.