Category Archives: Meditations

The Treasure of Lent

The word ‘treasure’ has been showing up in my morning readings; from different places, in different context. It finally catches me, slows me down enough to notice and ask:

What treasure does God have for me, long for me to accept?
What treasure lies in Lent for me this year?
What treasure lies in me?

And I wonder, what if I create a Treasure Box for Lent?  With paints and glued-on plastic hearts and maybe some buttons, and fabrics and ric-rac trim.  And maybe secret away little notes on scrappy pieces of paper in the box as Lent reveals her treasures.

“Is that okay?” I ask myself.  “To walk into this time before Easter with more a notion of creating something fun than sacrifice?

Yes.

Then, as eagerly as I ran to find the cigar box that I have had stashed away in my art supplies, ‘the achiever’ showed up all worried, just like when I am choosing the next blank-paged journal, that it might not be the right box? Asking performance questions about if I should or could finish it by a made-up deadline of Ash Wednesday?

“What is wrong with me,” I think. “Have I so quickly fallen into the trap of accomplishment without even the slightest glance and allowance for the process? Don’t you remember that God is more in the process business than outcome?”

“Go easy,” I hear. “It is the creating and discovery with God in the unknown that reveals the treasure.”

And so, I begin.  And invite you too, to listen for what might guide you from the grip of thinking (too much). What art, song, dance, sport might loosen sometimes-strident, merit-based ideas of faith and move us towards the gentler wonder and mystery of the unknowing, the un-thought? The yet-to-be-created, the undiscovered?  To listen for and explore how you might be called to discover your treasure of Lent.

“I am the Treasure, and the Glory of My Presence glistens and shimmers along the way.” – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

“Lead us to the heart of life’s treasure that we may be bearers of the gift.” – Sounds of the Eternal, A Celtic Psalter by John Philip Newell

* Just a little note of support: It is never too late to begin a practice of prayer and play; to not put too hard of a deadline on yourself to start, do, finish, accomplish. Each day is a new beginning, and each response of the heart is a sacred journey.

More Art than Reason

I’m beginning to believe it is going to be art, not reason, that will save us. And by us I mean all of us.

Not a side, or tribe, or politic or country. But saved from the collective fear that has stolen our ideals of freedom, justice, equality, and most of all humans caring for one another.

If we were to accept that we have but one face, as children of God, then fear fades…like when you meet your first person of different color or religion or sexual preference and discover your coworker, fellow student, or friend-of-a-friend, retreatant or person sitting at the other end of your pew isn’t so bad, or different, after all.

One face that we all recognize as our own, and hopefully with the compassion and compass of more art than reason.

Roque Dalton’s “Like You”
A poem and a poet from El Salvador,
and shared by Hannah Atkins

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-
blue landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.
I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
love,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Wash me over with Love

Where dust and grime has collected under years of neglect,
not noticed
Wash me over with Love

Where too parched a land has cracked, deep crevices exposing
deeper pain
Wash me over with Love

Where withered limb bends low close to breaking, nearly touching
the shadow of itself
in separation
Wash me over with Love

Where imagination has all but dried up after too many disappointments in itself
and its reflection
Wash me over with Love

Where histories harden hearts thirsty for recognition
and re-writes
Wash me over with Love

Where storybook pages turn yellow and crackling brittle from
not being turned and read
Wash me over with Love

Where clay river bottoms draw dry, no longer with purpose
of transport or host to fishes
Wash me over with Love

Water always runs to its lowest level;
naturally seeking and serving
the driest and thirstiest of me.
It is the last place of puddle that is filled first
when it rains again.
Wash me over with Love

Thin Light of the Season

This entry was originally posted near the third anniversary (now sixth) of my sister’s leaving. I offer it here as a meditation on what grief might look like for some in this season of preparing.

Thin Light of the Season by Theresa Wyatt Prebilsky

This is what I know (for now) about grief:

Grief is not proprietary.
Grief can not be compared.
All grief needs notice and attention and care.
And, grief never ends – we only stop crying out loud.

Yesterday, I cried out loud. I cried alone. I cried out to others. I marched out my mindful prayers, but my heart felt too broken to heal.

That’s how faith looks sometimes.

But this morning, even though sadness lingers like weakness after a fever has broken, self-pity has eased.  My spirit leads me to my Bible and invites me to enter the familiar reminders of God’s presence and love; my heart is softened.  I welcome the mystical way of God’s Word finding me by spirit, and how automatically this well worn book falls open to heavily bookmarked and underlined pages.

“The Lord is with you.”

My heart begins to open wide, then wider, and my eyes land on what feels suited for the pain in my heart and this hope in my God. Yet, as right as they seem, I crouch with whispered apologies to invisible critics who might condemn me for claiming Mary’s words as my own solace. I cower but push on and repeat and embrace them in this season of preparing.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

I hear them, and I repeat them. I know that yesterday I could not have walked into their spirit, but today they bring my heart into gratitude, focus, clarity, and the simplicity of purposeful relationship with God.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

In these, there is no room for wallow or wonder about what has gone, is no more, or what might yet leave. They elicit no invitation to define, declare or deliver a set of petitions or defects to the Lord. They ask me to reply in the fullness of being one of God’s, loved by God, remembered by God, accompanied by God. Abandonment is banished, or at least tempered by, “The Lord is with you.”

What glorious compassion and companioning love comes in the echo of Mary’s words, coming in the morning after merciful sleep has loosened some of the worst of the strangleholds of dogged grief. I am grateful for the healing time that has been purchased by another night and day, and find that a surprisingly authentic response of “I love you” comes like breathing out after in, dawn after dark and life after leaving.

I rejoin Nature’s rhythm and way with fullness of heart, and pray again, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

Yes, sadness lingers, but I can see again the thin light of the season. It draws me again to grounded gratitude and service.

15 Minutes Of Love

I have been invited to practice 15 minutes of Love a day, now and until Christmas. The only requirement is to pause, step into stillness, and focus on Love for a short time away from the flurry and distraction of a busy season. And my busy mind.

During this time, I am choosing a very simple practice called Centering Prayer – focusing on the word love as it reflects for me the essence of what I belief God to be; then, gently re-centering a hundred-thousand times if necessary back to the word. My intention is to simply call on and breath in love for the sake and goodness of Love, without expectation of what I might gain or accomplish in my practice or attitude.

… just sit with Love for 15 minutes a day.

There are many different and colorful routes to prayer and meditation. I invite you this season to follow a practice that makes sense to you, and leads you into Love. And in this, I believe we get to experience being One beyond our practice, and ourselves.

May love meet you in your moments, now and always.

Somehow

It was the hobo story.

Reaching deep into my own grandmother’s history of being a safe place for hobos that traveled by their house.  Cold water slapping me awake to how far we have come from being open to strangers and sharing our food. Ice cubes is more like it…

Then tears. They sneak back up now as I read Wells and feel seen by her. By you. Tenderness somehow all about me. And not.

Somehow this counts for something; for the people we tell to keep on moving. I’m not sure how but it does. I have to believe that it does somehow or we all are lost.

And we are not.

The point is simply this: how tender can we bear to be? What good manners can we show as we welcome ourselves and others into our hearts?-Rebecca Wells