say not

say not i am a child*
perched on precipice
raw, bare, unfinished
caught between wondering
spotted open mouthed
clinging to the air

say rather

i am a child
child of wonder
child of light
no unfinished urgency
no reckoning to reclaim

just
magnitude
of heaven’s hands
etched, sung
in specific song

joni overton-jung

*Jeremiah 1

“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

flying into morning light…

it isn’t Saturday yet, but i couldn’t resist posting this poem now. it’s by Fonda Bell Miller published in The Christian Science Monitor

To Do List for Saturday

Do laundry
Vacuum the house
Go for a walk
Find a dragon’s tooth
Use it to write in river sand
Slay the demons of dailiness
Climb a magnolia tree
Wait for the stars to appear
Wash in moonlight
Choose a perfect blossom
Curl up in it and sleep
Wake with wings unfolding
Join a flock of passing birds
Fly into morning light

to “slay the demons of dailiness.” how fantastic is that? makes me think of a favorite quote by M.B. Eddy: “Today my soul can only sing and soar.” today, saturday, every day.

lifting life…

this poem by e.e. cummings came tucked in an email from my mom this morning:

may i be gay

like every lark

who lifts his life

from all the dark

who wings his why

beyond because

and sings an if

of day to yes

the perfect poem for a perfect morning…the air clear and cool, the sky a drunken blue.

ahh…indeed,

to lift our lives from the dark…

to wing our whys…

beyond because…

to sing, to sing,

yes,

to sing,

right past the ifs,

to yes.

yes,

yes, yes, and

o yes.

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Psalms 24

“Starting from a higher standpoint, one rises spontaneously, even as light emits light without effort; for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“God has not given us vast learning to solve all the problems, or unfailing wisdom to direct all the wanderings of our brothers’ lives; but He has given to every one of us the power to be spiritual, and by our spirituality to lift and enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch.” Phillips Brooks

every valley…

i happened upon Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of the word “valley” this morning. couched in between the words depression and darkness lies the word meekness. i hadn’t noticed that before. it was one of those “oh”…moments.

valleys…pits…holes too big to climb out of, moments fraught with darkness, drunk with depression, and yet there in the midst is meekness, a silent ember, homing signal, a window, doorway, a waymark heading: “enter here, transport home.”

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Isaiah

there’s a wonderful version of Handel’s Messiah called A Soulful Celebration. their version of the song “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” always delights me. (you can hear at least a part of it through this highlighted link.) it speaks to the imminent promise, the immediacy…how quickly things can turn from darkness to light, vantage points change, an emergence of knowing takes hold, dawn arrives.

here’s the rest of Eddy’s definition:

“‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’ (Psalm xxiii. 4.)

Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life
and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought,
the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Chris‐
tian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud
and blossom as the rose.”

right where darkness, doubt, depression, despondency loom largest–inviting surrender, entanglement, fixation; right there meekness beckons: here slither unseen through the morass; here walk weightless through the mire; here find the valley mountainlike, the whole world flooded with light.

“something changed…”

“let there be light

and there was light”

light light light

everywhere light

spilling

shining

breaking open the most

secret places

singing:

“flourish!

flourish!

all of you

flourish!”

sometimes light comes in inklings, barely graspable glimmers, crumbs of insights leading us, leading us on and out, journeys Spiritward. sometimes it comes in sweeping waves, moments so clear our lives change in a moment. i love the passage from Isaiah that says, “precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” the littles, even the littles…cherish the littles…build, grow, move, embrace, stretch, yearn, reach, soar.

Mary Baker Eddy puts it beautifully in this way: “When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. Oh, may you feel this touch, — it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this: it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!”

one of my most cherished moments of light happened the summer after high school. this poem was written a few years ago for my friend Sally:

we are at the dead end

in a station wagon

looking out the window for a sunset,

the lake pushing up against the sky.

i am railing once again against my life;

injustices of disappointments

having decided

how things ought to be and aren’t.

you are a fine-tuned ear

drinking in the words

but not sinking in my sorrow

your gaze takes me

out beyond the sky and lake

and road of gravel

you are leading me on a journey of air

out beyond this yearning

out beyond the throws of despair

out we go

catapulted by the splitting of sky before us

the sky

the sky is breaking open

and in between the light and water and air

there is a hovering i have hoped for

but have not seen

this is heaven.

the shattering of doubt

the consummation of hope

you and me

sitting in a station wagon

at the end of one long dirt road

in a sea of infinity

**********************************

Sara Grove’s song “Something Changed” says it so well:

“Something changed inside me broke wide open all spilled out
Till I had no doubt that something changed

Never would have believed it till I felt it in my own heart
In the deepest part the healing came

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can’t afford it
But it’s mine

Something so amazing in a heart so dark and dim
When a wall falls down and the light comes in

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can’t afford it
But it’s mine”

with open face…

with open face

open face

open

open

heart

face

hand

wide open

“Here, O my Lord, I’d see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand th’ eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.” Horatius Bonar

“We all with open face…beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18

uncluttered, unfettered, unshuttered

offering of light

no hidden darkness

or shame

no enclave of regret

just light

unabashed innocence

unsurprised delight

“this is grace…an invitation to be beautiful”

i had some wonderful road time yesterday…highway, skyway time of thoughts glancing, glimpsing, glimmering, gleaning, singing, soaring. listened to some of Sara Groves‘ music…hence the title above…such a beautiful definition of grace..the gift ever given, beckoning  forth the beauty.. awakening it within us,  blooming, blossoming, blessing, embracing, showering, sheltering.

In her book Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy writes that “Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light.”

Here’s more of Sara Groves’ song mentioned above:

“We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside”

beauty…

piercing the darkness with radiance

lit from inside

illumed by Love

alight in Love

loved

written

sung

known

adored

we

Love’s

light

“praise song for walking forward…”

there are no ways to count

footprints left in light

no true way to measure

seismic shift of thought

to hold

infinity of love

to contain

a single voice

to replicate shine

that never outshines

leaving traces of praise

in every wake.

each, all, breathtakingly, unsurpassably

themselves.

the gauge infinity

not others

not self.

Nineteenth century writer Phillips Brooks wrote: “God has not given us vast learning to solve all the problems, or unfailing wisdom to direct all the wanderings of our brothers’ lives; but He has given to every one of us the power to be spiritual, and by our spirituality, to lift and enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch.”

Here’s to unsung moments filled with song…lives etched with meaning, the world a chorus of voices finding their light.This excerpt is from Elizabeth Alexander’s poem for President Obama’s inauguration.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

the world’s not falling apart…

there are songs that speak

songs that sing the day

songs that  say the word

words that make you see…

Dar Williams has a song that says “the world is not falling apart because of me.” the first time I heard it was on a long drive, a work trip. thoughts of the world were weighing heavy on me. her lyrics pierced right through to meet my need. singing at the top of my lungs right along with her, everything lightened.

the idea that i was responsible for fixing anything, anyone, anywhere…the corresponding worry that i was not up to the task…suddenly seemed absurd. it was like i was being lifted to a different vantage point, from which i could see and feel a divine order, grace, government, love for the entire universe.

it was a sweeping assurance, confirmation that:  “the government is upon His shoulders…” and that “my yoke is easy and my burden light…” (from the books of Isaiah and Matthew)

There’s an interesting dichotomy between being responsible, giving your whole heart, being truly true to yourself and God, living with complete fidelity; and the weighty, burdensome feeling of being responsible for, being party to, and therefore needing to fix a broken world.

easing up on all of it…

casting burdens on the Lord (as the old hymn by Philip Doddridge urges us to do,)

is like gazing through a window that you didn’t know was there–

to discern that things may not be so broken after all,

our gaze, when fixed on that deep and divine Principle Love catapults us to a perspective of piercing clarity, resonant oneness, holy, unfettered being.

responsibility then is not weighty, but the tender impulse to respond to Love’s government of all being.

Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way, “Starting from a higher standpoint, one rises spontaneously, even as light emits light without effort; for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

to “look up”

as Christ Jesus told us

especially when it seems like things are falling apart

is to begin to glimpse, to discover, to realize,

the kingdom of God ever within us,

the presence of heaven at hand:

it is to breathe the air of innocence,

to find ourselves washed new,

the whole sweet world held in Love’s fresh light.