“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

“so live…”

how do we give our thanks

for all that is unspeakable

given without strings

or measure

Love that can’t be clocked

or logged

or counted

or contained

but flows

on

around

through

to.

exhaustless

unrelenting

offerings of grace

nudging tenderness

hovering

glancing

showering

blessing

asking nothing

grateful in its giving

paeans of praise

singing:

you are

you are

you are

so worthy.

worthy

of this grace

Love’s loving All

here sated

here secure

here able

loved

Love’s constant offering.

~~~~~~~

“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

“It has long been a question of earnest import, How shall mankind worship the most adorable, but most unadored, — and where shall begin that praise that shall never end? Beneath, above, beyond, methinks I hear the soft, sweet sigh of angels answering, “So live, that your lives attest your sincerity and resound His praise.” Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

“And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”  John 11

songs of stillness

carving out this moment

to the core of a hush

an anchored pause

a landed rest

even where worlds rush, converge

a breath

a light

a peace

opens

where

we are

already

a harvest

dawns

hearts, fields resounding

songs of stillness

~~~~~~

Still, still with Thee when purple morning breaketh,

When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee,
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

Alone with Thee, amid the changing shadows,
Solemn the hush of nature, newly born;
Alone with Thee, in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

So shall it ever be in the bright morning,
When hearts awaking see the shadows flee,
O, in that hour, and fairer than the dawning,
Rises the glorious thought, I am with Thee.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Be still and know that I am God” …and… “when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalms 46 and 139

“The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action.” Mary Baker Eddy

“on wings of faith…”

the other day a friend said to me, “it’s like there’s someone new here. i don’t know her very well.”

i asked, “is it like being made new, washed clean?”

“no,” she said, “more like she’s untainted, untouched and not willing to take the garbage any more. it’s me.”

it made me think about images we carry around about ourselves, sometimes the things we try to hide, hidden corners of supposed shamefulness, losses or absences that we assume are ours.

the thought of a bird came to mind: a broken wing, cradled to its side, careful, a bird, longing for altitude of air, the need to stretch, be carried, to beat its wings against the singing wind.

and i began to think of this bird as faith…faith that singes the air with its yearning, a certainty of deeper seeing; birdlike, ever driving for higher altitudes, clamoring to fly, pressing onward, demanding flight.

we are not broken birds, broken hearts or lives, our faith, knowing, certainty hobbled by doubts, improbabilities, fears. these are decoys that try to sideline, ground us, make us believe that our wings don’t work, that there’s no where or reason to fly, no Spirit to prompt or catch us, no updrafts of air and light for wings to dance upon.

what are the things that stall our moments, that try to shroud and crowd and darken out all light, that whisper lies? how often have we heeded them, given up, right on the cusp of certain dawning?

it will not do.

flight is imminent.

the pristine fire of your life is standing witness.

it calls:

live!

live!

live your life;

you are not broken or wasted or left behind.

you, marvel of Spirit’s mastery,

timeless,

on wings of searing Love and Life.

sometimes the rising, the standing, the awakening can be like the whole world coming apart; but really it is an unwrapping, a revealing of here, here, here you are…as you have been so all along…all darkness and clutter burned away, singing: here, here…such a relief to just be here.

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

“Faith is higher and more spiritual than belief. It is a chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the ever-present, is becoming understood.” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13

“And as on wings of faith we soar and worship,

Held by God’s love above the shadows dim

Hushed in the grandeur of a heart’s awakening,

Unfolds a joy unknown till found in Him.”  Susan F. Campbell Christian Science Hymnal