“prayer out of wordless sighs”

one morning i was having a tough time getting my peace, finding that prayerful window of stillness–that feeling of oneness with God that stills and lightens and illumines every thought for the day. i was in a swamp of nowhere thoughts, so threw out a line for anchor, opened the Bible at random, prepared to seek til found, and read some verses i hadn’t read before, even though i knew i had, they go like this:

“The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8: 26-28 from The Message by Eugene Peterson

this passage just took my breath away.

to think…

we are prayer
being prayed
right out of wordless sighs
wordless cries
we are some song in singing
being sung
supernal offering
Spirit etched
Soul fired
perpetual
eternal
steady
some
presence ever
of heaven
o who
would have thought
every detail of our lives
being worked into something good

and then as if out of nowhere, this hymn began to run through my thoughts. it’s not one i know that well, and crept up on me in a quiet kind of a way:

“Sometimes a light surprises

The Christian while he sings;

It is the Lord who rises

With healing in his wings.

When comfort seems declining,

There comes to us again

A season of clear shining,

To cheer us after rain.” (William Cowper adapted)

and so today, every day, i am endeavoring to live more gently. to feel the pulse pulsing me, prayer praying me, light surprising..life ever lightening…heaven springing everywhere out of earth. and in the words of a gospel hymn by Ken Whitely: “let my life be prayer.”

“To preserve a long course of years still and uniform, amid the uniform darkness of storm and cloud and tempest, requires strength from above, — deep draughts from the fount of divine Love. Truly may it be said: There is an old age of the heart, and a youth that never grows old; a Love that is a boy, and a Psyche who is ever a girl. The fleeting freshness of youth, however, is not the evergreen of Soul; the coloring glory of perpetual bloom; the spiritual glow and grandeur of a consecrated life wherein dwelleth peace, sacred and sincere in trial or in triumph.” Mary Baker Eddy Miscellaneous Writings

bathed in sweetness, bathed in love

i love the images and cards from pondering pool by Susan Mrosek. this one speaks to me today.

there is a rich autumn breeze blowing, the husky air of summer ushering in September. the air is kind, cool and warm. a washing, baptizing. moments calmed, cleaned, slipping easily into old worn out shoes, everything sitting, fitting well.  gratitude hovers like sunlight.

there is a need to bathed in kindness. there is a need to bathe ourselves in kindness.

there is a need to remember, know, be clear about who we are. to not let the world impose its thoughts upon us.

JB Philips in his translation of Romans 12:2 says this: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its own mold.”

between all the storms internal and external, market fluctuations, personal upheavals and struggles, i’ve been noticing a lot of shell-shocked looks lately…friends, neighbors not sure what has hit them…how thought gets mired in, paralyzed in patterns of uncertainty and fear. Ryan Bingham’s song seems more than fitting:

“This ain’t no place for the weary kind
This ain’t no place to lose your mind
This ain’t no place to fall behind
Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try”

Pick up your crazy heart…pick up your sweet heart…be bathed in sweetness…be bathed in love.

all the storms in the world cannot take from you one ounce of who you are…they cannot break you, make you, define you.

they can, if you let them, prompt something deeper in you to waken…waken…take possession of that core order, sweetness, certainty, rocklike light within. you are not made to grovel, weep, or to be broken.

waken

waken

break this

half-dazed

slumber

of intractable despair

shake loose

the shackles

slide ever so guilelessly

from this shell

emerge

emerge

into the light

so right

yes

you do stand sturdy

on your own sure feet

everything about you

unable to hold back

surety of footing

impulse to sing

air rippling

lightness of laughter

you

bathed

soaked

immersed

showered

evidencing

Love’s light

Psalm XXIII

[DIVINE LOVE] is my shepherd; I shall not want.

[LOVE] maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

[LOVE] leadeth me beside the still waters.

[LOVE] restoreth my soul [spiritual sense]:
[LOVE] leadeth me in the paths of  righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for [LOVE] is with me; [LOVE’S]rod and [LOVE’S] staff they comfort me.
[LOVE] prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
[LOVE] anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever.
(interpretation of the 23rd Psalm in Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy)

“unforced rhythms of grace”

it’s been a summer of “unwinding one’s snarls”*…letting the blue sky shine…learning about “unforced rhythms of grace.”

Eugene Peterson puts it this way in his translation of Matthew 11:28-30: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

nothing heavy, nothing ill-fitting…how often do we find reasons for laboring under a sense of heaviness, insist on forcing ourselves into roles, relationships, work, dynamics that don’t really fit…stampede right past the stirring whispers of our hearts to lighten, lift, let go, emerge, rise higher…usually in the name of a voice that’s saddled in fear, accusation and distrust.

the stirrings keep stirring though, liberating, leavening, knocking at the door of our innermost thoughts, unlocking the shackles of impossibilities, urging us on, beckoning us to live with confident  joy, stripped free of pretension, drenched in the humility of unselfconscious grace.

child of light

wriggle out

shuck off

shed the tears

the ties

shake the dust

spill the beans

feet tripping

running

dancing

with the speed

of light

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” King James version: Matthew 11: 29, 30

“Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops the world.” Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy

*”In trying to undo the errors of sense one must pay fully and fairly the utmost farthing, until all error is finally brought into subjection to Truth. The divine method of paying sin’s wages involves unwinding one’s snarls, and learning from experience how to divide between sense and Soul.” Science and Health by MB Eddy

you belong

i was sitting in church the other night

it was time for silent prayer

and then time to pray the Lord’s prayer

i found myself listening the prayer

feeling the prayer

instead of speaking the prayer so quietly out loud

Our Father…

our

Father

everyone’s Father

all of us here

which art in heaven

we are in heaven

hallowed be Thy name

hallowed by Thy name

cherished, hallowed, holy, adored

suddenly

a phrase began to insert itself

“you belong”

it was quiet but insistent

“you belong”

“you all belong”

“you belong”

and i was whisked back to dinner

when my dear dear friend

said to me

“sometimes i don’t know where i belong

where do i belong?”

and the prayer just kept going

as if it was a prayer for her

“you belong

you belong

in heaven

but not out there

in heaven

held here

this kingdom come

Thy kingdom come

your kingdom come

within

without

placed

held

with your own

so goodness you

ours

belonging

reverenced

cherished

adored

amen

amen

amen

amen”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee,
Heir of the ages and child of the day.
Cared for, watched over, beloved and protected,
Walk thou with courage each step of the way. (Christian Science Hymnal P.M.)

Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God. Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“eternity is not later, or in any unfindable place”

the other day i got news that a friend’s daughter had passed on. so i sent a note, and this was part of the letter that came in return:

“The ospreys are crying plaintively. They seem to understand.”

everything in me had to rise up to hold back the sea of sorrow. then i came across this poem by Mary Oliver:

Count the Roses

Count the roses, red and fluttering.
Count the roses, wrinkled and salt.
Each with its yellow lint at the center.
Each with its honey pooled and ready.
Do you have a question that can’t be answered?
Do the stars frighten you by their heaviness
and their endless number?
Does it bother you, that mercy is so difficult to
understand?
For some souls it’s easy; they lie down on the sand
and are soon asleep.
For others, the mind shivers in its glacial palace,
and won’t come.
Yes, the mind takes a long time, is otherwise occupied
than by happiness, and deep breathing.
Now, in the distance, some bird is singing.
And now I have gathered six or seven deep red,
half-opened cups of petals between my hands,
and now I have put my face against them
and now I am moving my face back and forth, slowly,
against them.
The body is not much more than two feet and a tongue.
Come to me, says the blue sky, and say the word.
And finally even the mind comes running, like a wild thing,
and lies down in the sand.
Eternity is not later, or in any unfindable place.
Roses, roses, roses, roses.

there is nothing like poetry 

just nothing like it

when it comes to carving out the spaces of our hearts

to find a place to breathe

to hear

to know past knowing

to grasp the things

so far beyond

our grasp

and then there they are

hovering ever so softly

in the midst

opening inner eyes

to glean

to glimpse

life

timeless

never not present

none of us

missing

diminished

cut short

but shining out

in sharp relief

our reference

our Source

compelling

life

on eternity’s

terms

“not later

or in any unfindable place”

but dawning up

from the very midst

breaking through the winters

of grief

to see our lives

whole

and holy

in ever tender

illuming

glances

ushering

ushering

ushering

each other on

the air

resonating

its all presence

all accounted for

all conscious

of being

forever

loved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24

“O come and find, the Spirit saith,
The Truth that maketh all men free.
The world is sad with dreams of death.
Lo, I am Life, come unto Me.” Elizabeth Adams

“May the great Shepherd that “tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,”
and binds up the wounds of bleeding hearts, just comfort,
encourage, and bless all who mourn.” Mary Baker Eddy

no more second guessing

The clear bead at the center
changes everything.
There are no edges
to my loving now

Rumi

clear bead, clear breeze, clear center, clear heart, clear mind, clear thought, clear day!

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

who needs a crystal ball

for in this crystal moment

there is enough of heaven

to be here

don’t rush ahead

don’t look to the left

don’t look to the right

sit here

clean

unspoiled

undivided

undistracted

by the haze

and maze

and static

of noise and voices

(“i don’t care what the whisperer’s say

cuz they whisper too loud for me…”)*

stay here

poised in the eye

of what looks like a storm

in this resonating hush

you know your heart

you know your path

there is a clear line

of order

grace

logic

unfoldment

it may not be the pace

you had hoped for

it may not be what others have thought

you should have done

but in this space

you feel the trust

of God’s hand guiding

gentle presence

bottomless knowing

and here

you are reminded

for the millionth time

“[you are] my beloved…

in whom I [will always] be pleased.”**

no edges and yet no mergers

no takeovers

no overlaps

infinite loving

always makes room

for all

*Eliza Doolittle “Pack up your troubles

**Mark 1:11

“O glorious hope! there remaineth a rest for the righteous,
a rest in Christ, a peace in Love. The thought of it stills
complaint; the heaving surf of life’s troubled sea foams
itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calm.” Mary Baker Eddy Message for 1902

“In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
Where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path in life is free;
My Father has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.” Anna Waring

“she found her voice”


 This image is from Pondering Pool, a collection written, illustrated, and designed by Susan Mrosek

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

standing on tiptoe

perched

on the edge

to catch a whisp

a whisper

a hint

an inkling

of the song

within her.

she knew that voice.

no need for explanation

apologies

uncertainties

just one clear

line of truth

singing out

melodies

symphonies

blessings

showers of

unsuppressible

joy

“The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and
strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops
the world. Meekness heightens immortal attributes
only by removing the dust that dims them. Goodness
reveals another scene and another self seemingly rolled
up in shades, but brought to light by the evolutions of
advancing thought…” Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

“i want a double portion…”

for all the broken years

raw air searing the surface

your shining face coming up for air

all i can remember is

your joy

raging raucous jubilence

indomitable, relentless spirit

bounding out of bed

before dawn

to charge the day

a virtual resonance

singing LIVE LIVE LIVE

precious friend

all those broken years

have given way

seamless life

unfrayed

untorn

resilient

radiance

of untarnished life

all that you have raged for

emerges like a fresh faced child

leaving in your wake

a beautifully etched path

not crumbs

indelible highway

leading out of dark

you with your offering

running to forgive

convinced ever of goodness

calling out

just like Elisha*

refusing to be left alone

without a blessing

calling out

with your

unquenchable voice

“i want a double portion of goodness.

i know there must be some goodness.

give me a double portion of this goodness.”

dear friend

years give way

your face shines

resplendent fiery spirit

light spilling everywhere

singing

i see

i see

o dear sweet, sweet loving Father, Mother God

i see!

* II Kings 2

~~~~~

“What if the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor again sink the world into the deep waters of chaos and old night. In this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood.” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“A great sanity, a mighty something buried in the depths of the unseen, has wrought a resurrection among you, and has leaped into living love. What is this something, this phoenix fire, this pillar by day, kindling, guiding, and guarding your way? It is unity, the bond of perfectness, the thousandfold expansion that will engirdle the world, — unity, which unfolds the thought most within us into the greater and better, the sum of all reality and good.” Mary Baker Eddy

“the name of the place is Love”

the light is so bright…so bright…i can’t contain it…

blinding, searing, this great light…

light so bright…blinding light…

light, light, light of the world

fierce, threatening, illumining light

tell me, tell me what to do with this light

light that insists…spills through cracks

pursues you.

light.

will not be denied

cannot be fled from

light that names you

claims you

holds you

will not relent.

surrender my dear

surrender…

light is here…

has named you

framed you

and sends you forth as some

great, gentle, fierce

offering.

jacob wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:24…)

would not let it go

till it blessed him.

just to be sure

he asked its name…

nameless hand of heaven

smiles upon us

urging urging urging

claiming us

for its own.

some grace tracing

the edges of our lives

singing forth the sound

of some sacred song.

sing darling sing

the air is singing around you

arms, light, very breath

pulsing with the praise, peace, promise

this now

run, run, run

to it

run, run, run

for it

your life is shameless

fetterless

exclamation

blessed

said

known

adored

approved

waited on

sheltered in haven

heaven hands holding

waving applauding

o silent chorus

of song

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

i love this poem by lucille clifton, it captures the sentiment:

flowers

here we are

running with the weeds

colors exaggerated

pistils wild

embarrassing the calm family flower        oh

here we are

flourishing for the field

and the name of the place

is Love

~~~~~~~~~~~

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day..” I Thessalonians 5:5

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“…love, unselfed, knocks more loudly than
ever before at the heart of humanity and…finds
admittance; that revelation, spiritual voice and vision,
are less subordinate to material sight and sound and more
apparent to reason; that evil flourishes less, invests less
in trusts, loses capital, and is bought at par value; that
the Christ-spirit will cleanse the earth of human gore;
that civilization, peace between nations, and the brother‐
hood of man should be established, and justice plead not
vainly in behalf of the sacred rights of individuals, peoples,
and nations.” Mary Baker Eddy

give yourself to love…

A friend sent me this beautiful letter recently:

“I was swimming this afternoon—weeping and swimming, which is something I haven’t done for a while, and trying to get myself together.  I was struggling with my fears and my anger and my profound sadness, and then I started to focus just on the swimming.  The slow, steady passage through the water–as if I was shedding an outer skin as I dove down into the water with each new breath.  And then I had this feeling: “this is unconditional love” and I felt a completely impersonal calm.  I had a similar feeling last night as if the pain was slipping further away and an impersonal calm held me in the balance.”

I’ve been thinking so much about friends, family—people all over the world experiencing profound change, sometimes severe challenges, and hard won renewal that comes with seeking and yielding to deeper answers.

today i came across this passage from Psalms…it’s one i’ve read too many times to count. but today it spoke differently to me.

why art thou cast down o my soul?

and why art thou disquieted within me?

hope thou in God for i shall yet praise Him

who is the health of my countenance and my God.

too often i’ve gotten caught on the “cast down” and “disquieted” parts…as in yeah…so cast down…feeling so disquieted…ok…now hope in God…and the journey to do so can feel like a slow slippery slope out of the swamp and up a muddy bank.

but today i read it so differently. the words nearly jumped off the page at me. “WHY are you cast down? WHY disquieted? almost as if to say, how you can be? you know where your hope lies! you shall, will, cannot be deprived of praising the infinite goodness of God, the source and presence of all life and peace and health and joy right here.”

it made me think of Kate Wolf’s song “you must give yourself to love…”

and made me ask…what am I giving my thoughts, my moments to?

for me disquiet is really about mental neutrality–an absence of real thinking, conscious clarity, a lulling, a passive acceptance of whatever thought comes my way…a state of mind that invites disturbance, darkness, confusion. it marks a need for awakening, regrouping, as if to say, “okay so where am i at? and what’s really true here? am i just going along with the flow of whatever junk comes my way?”

this morning i opened the Bible to Ezekiel 13:22: “with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…”

lies…that would blind us to the good at hand…get us to turn on ourselves…doubt the convictions we hold in our hearts…distrust the power, presence and impulse to act on what we know is true.

the next time you’re tempted to feel sad…or even if you feel like you’re already drowning in a sea of sadness…

take a look at where your thought, heart, soul is anchored…is it awash at sea? gather it…gather yourself…gather your goodness…your pure heart…your love for all that is right…rally there…bit by bit you’ll find your footing…bedrock in the midst of stormy seas…you’ll find yourself rising…walking over the waves of doubt and darkness, gathering strength as you go.

give yourself to love…

come on…

give yourself…

to love…

it will not render you vulnerable

it will steady your heart

strengthen your knees

help you remember your wings

and how they know how

to read the wind

and with the Psalmist from long ago

begin to feel that song of

exalting praise…

the light that faces down the dark

singing:

i do hope

in God

the health

of my countenance

is here.

“To-day [may your] soul only sing and soar. [May] an [ever] increasing sense of God’s love, omnipresence, and omnipotence enfold [you.]” Mary Baker Eddy