Monday, December 26, 2011

The Very Heart

Though I am technically on break, I still wake up at about the same time every morning. Sometimes these days I blissfully chuckle, roll, and burrow deeper into my warm and ever so comforting pile of blankets...and other mornings, as happened today, I rise, pad into the little kitchen area, make a mug of hot welcome, and return to my room to pray, to think, to write, and witness the day's becoming in the company of God.

I wrote a friend this morning ...
I have been awake since 5:15...I've read and prayed with the readings while sitting in the corner of the sofa. I wanted to wake early today a manner of speaking, to present myself before God. A knocking on the celestial door with a desire to be in God's company for the arrival of the sun. How I love this subtle process...each moment growing, changing, being its own work of art.

And oh, it was lovely this morning...blues, rising deep against the bare branches and filling the windows with golden rays that painted the morning on my floor. Spectacular, really. I was so taken with the variety of wonders...the reflections, the contrast of branch to sky, the clarity of the light, the feeling of being in the intimate middle of something so large, so vast...I kept saying quietly, "Thank you, God! Thank you for showing me these parts of yourself, for loving me as you do!"

As I roused myself from prayer I thought "Augh! What might a day hold after a beginning like that?"

After getting ready for whatever adventure I might encounter, I went downtown and tucked into a favorite spot on the third tier of an independent coffeeshop. From that seat, I can see the whole shop, part of the street, and the Missouri river...again, a diverse assortment of revelation.
I then took note of the group on the tier just below me...two women from Spain, a woman from Thailand, two grandparent aged folks from around here, and a baby who was being passed around, loved on, tickled by, and rocked in the arms of, the whole group. I have no idea what the connections were among everyone, but they were certain and strong. The two women were speaking intermittently in Spanish and English, someone else had a translation website up on her cell phone, the husband and wife were expansive in their smiles and gestures, and everyone was making sure that each person was part of the same conversation.

More and more people were coming in to take off the chill so I gathered up and headed out on a quest to find the nearest Trader Joe's. Not only was I successful in locating it, a cruise of the aisles allowed me to hear Russian exchanged between a father and his young daughter who was pushing a child-sized cart and delighting in the reverberating Bump it gave her when she ran into the rubber strip along the bottom of the wall and German and German baby-babble being spoken between mother and son while choosing bananas. I saw brussel sprouts sill on their stalks, fennel bulbs, and knots of ginger...


My heart has been Aching to find here such cultural/linguisitc diversity as all of this! Oh, how it speaks to me of God! God is unceasing in revelation, certainly, but I have missed this tremendously...the sensory awareness and experience of God's diverse beauty, diverse facets, languages used, cultures, ways of being, the laying out in such creative generosity of the Fullness that drawn together is the Whole of Love; that drawn together is the infinitely unique and beautiful Image in which we are all created; the Fullness that drawn together was spoken in Word at the Beginning, and born human and divine in Jesus. This is the Fullness from which we can not be separated, that nothing will overcome, that is Love without measure or limit of any sort...

I have missed this experience of what I knew daily in New York City and other recent lands of my journey...and it has been revealed to me here, now, in this time and place...

As I was this morning, I find myself so aware of being in the intimate middle of something grand and vast...

The very Heart of God.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas, 2011

The sun is setting outside my window; I have one light on in my room; I am warm and sleepy and wrapped in quiet, filling, thanksgiving.

This year has brought with it a whole new understanding of the Incarnation of love...Love that was bold enough to make itself known in the nearness of humanity...Love that continues to reveal itself in our humanity....Love that is not bound to us in a fixed way, but utterly Alive...Alive and overflowing...allowing Love to meet more of itself in others and celebrate that encounter with laughter, friendship, quiet moments,prayer, listening, embracing, a depth of knowing, caring, sharing, Being with one another...rooted in and freed by Love that calls itself forth...

We help each other become more whole by the Love we share! By the ways we discover and make manifest the Aliveness of God!

The warmth that now fills me comes from knowing what that feels like in my soul...and being amazed at the Truth of it.

And that is worth celebrating...over and over again.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2011

of God, Polenta, and the Shopping Mall

Let me first present some of the elements in play... A. My eyes were (and still are) dilated from a trip to the ophthalmologist B. I was traveling on roads I'd never driven to a place I'd never been C. I got bifocals for the first time and was wearing them home...D. While driving in the pouring rain E. By now in the dark.

Home was a most welcome destination.... And for reasons that went beyond personal and public safety.

As I wandered the mall, passing time while my glasses were being made, I found myself thinking about polenta. Yes. Call it grits, call it cornmeal mush, call it polenta. This is what occupied my mind while watching frantic last minute shoppers with bags hanging off each arm; watching red faced babies bellow for their dinners to mothers on cell phones; watching teens cruising one another while wearing elf hats, Santa hats, and Goth-meets-Emo silver studded clodhoppers; all to the tune of tinned music and the scent of cigarette tinged, perfume schpritzed air.

Me? I was with a pot of polenta. I was imagining the process I will follow tomorrow night when making it for the first time. A slow and steady stream...whisking all the while...marvelling at the creamy science of deliciousness. I was mentally dicing mushrooms and tossing them in with the garlic and onion and hint of olive oil for a quick swish around before adding the zucchini, the yellow squash, and the tomatoes....

I half chuckled to myself when I realized what I was the middle of the Too Much-ness of retail swarming, I was cooking a meal. Why? I thought about this while watching a group of children play hop-scotch on computer projected Christmas ornaments, bouncing around on the floor.

There is something essential to me about cooking. Yes, cooking leads to eating leads to living...but more than that, there is something that I find holy, something of God, in the process. There is mystery, creativity, sensuality, ritual, and there are culinary sacramentals... There is formula and there is freedom, there is community and common-good. There is interiority and there is sharing. It is about bringing things together in harmony and creating texture and flavor that pleases, nourishes, and piques curiosity. Cooking can be an act of welcome, an act of well-making, a coming home.

Home. Yes, overwhelmed in my senses by the neon exterior nature of shopping malls, I was yearning for home! That is to say, yearning for God to be what fills me...and being grateful, so grateful, for the spaces and times where I learn the marvel of what that means and what that calls forth over and over again....whether with my students, with friends or in community, in silent morning prayer, with pen and notebook, or a pot and polenta...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent IV, 2011

Advent IV, 2011
I am waiting,
but cannot wait…

because the need is great
upon the Earth

to proclaim in our living
the bold hope of birth.

c. MperiodPress

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent III, 2011

Advent III, 2011

In this rising time

of the not yet-nearly,

let me love without reserve until splendid

with diaphanous freedom

and tasting the cinnamon

zing of hope.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent II, 2011

Advent II, 2011

I wish to steep in the slowing,

sense by sense…

be converted to awe

by a fullness of silence…

until I crackle radiant

with orchestral brightness.

c. Mperiod Press

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Love in a time of Advent

Yesterday, I went to lunch with someone who asked me, essentially-not exactly, what it is that keeps the world so open for me. What keeps things from closing in?

This followed a conversation on Facebook in the morning with one of my rscj sisters (who blogs at Allthislifeandheaventoo) in which I was speaking of the challenge of moving to “a radically different part of the country after being somewhere that drew out so much of me, that asked me to give, to discover, to share on a whole variety of levels in a whole variety of ways. And, which in turn, fed me as well...” How that will happen here, in this place, is something I do not yet fully see.

I added, “but, all of that aside, I know that I am walking, arms open wide, with God into the unknown of ahead...and that is a grand and wondrous thing. Wouldn't want it to be easy, actually...because I don't think love is necessarily easy...but it is true, wholemaking, and faithful...”

Both of these conversations followed a dinner conversation with a friend the night before that ended on the topic of freedom, deep joy, and strength of knowing oneself to be loved and of loving in return.

The convergence of that and the Facebook chat added a deeper smile to my deceivingly simple answer to the lunch question—What is it that keeps the world so open for me? What keeps things from closing in? Love. Love and the faithful journey into greater truth, being yet more whole, more honest, open, free…

There have been times in my life when I might have believed that, but not known it “center-down”. Anything I know of it now, I know from the journey itself--the journey and the people who make and have made God known to me through their extraordinary love for me, each one uniquely, preciously, incredibly. I am not in the same geographic setting as those who go deepest, but our roots and lives are woven together by a God who dances among her people, who rides the wind, and wades in the stars, and who comforts, struggles alongside, welcomes, accepts, profoundly touches and blesses. Our lives are braided with the strength and freedom of God, who gave the world Jesus, the very Word of love, a word never lost or overcome by anything, ever.

By this love, my own heart is more able to love, my spirit more able to fly, my feet more lightly but solidly rooted…and the fruit of this is what I can offer to those around me, regardless of where that is. But it IS and I AM because of Love.

Thank you, God.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent I, 2011

Advent I, 2011

The full silence of waiting

is not without voice…

the groan of a wick

learning to burn

into the clamorous glory

of light.