If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Journal entry: Monday, March 17, 1997

(God) awakens me morning by morning---Isaiah 50:1

Each day I wake without the alarm going off. It's usually around the same time. My first thoughts ave been of thanks to God for giving me another day of life. My day ends with the same thought. God awakens my ear to hear the pulse of life---a gift that is precious, not to be taken for granted.

this day comes wrapped in a bow and with dangling tag
with open palms I receive it
as it gently falls

minutes pass
the sun runs her course
in the vast blue sky
and I peel back
the paper
pull open the lid
and pull out
this day
as the sun rests
on the horizon
I look up
to the studded sky
and say
thank you

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another journal entry: Thursday, September 11, 1997

This stale morning I sit
in my office reading poetry
words strung together like pearls
shimmering against brown skin

The words have strings that draw me
beyond the walls of my still office
past the asphalt veins of the city
through the fields of Amish corn
to unseen worlds of the heart

Words have wings
and today I read poetry
because I need to fly away

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wildness in the divine mystery: a page from one of my journals

This is an entry from one the many journals I have kept over the past 25 years. It is a spiritual discipline I no longer practice. But, at moments the practice provided me with a creative outlet for expressing some of my many life and faith struggles. Often it was one way of clinging to an absent God, holding on to faith with the tips of my fingernails during moments when life seemed chaotic and random.

I pulled this entry because it was from a moment in my life journey when I was going through a major life transition, which is what I am going through right now. I had just moved to another end of the country, which I will soon be doing. The opportunities for me in this new place looked very slim, as my upcoming move appears to me. I was frustrated with being unemployed (for 8 months)without ministry in the church, which will be my state at the end of next month. In my entry I refer to an experience of being 3 years unable to find a place in ministry (after I spent 5 years in preparation in Bible college and seminary and two rocky years working in the church).

The journal entry leaped out and spoke to me as I thumbed through it while packing up my office. Maybe it will to you. Maybe not. WARNING: If the reader is sensitive about honest complaint or accusing God, which is found in the Psalms, read no further.

Tuesday, January 21, 1997

There is a wildness in your divine mystery, my God, a seeming randomness in the beauty of this world...We would harmonize with your own freedom and randomness, trusting our future to your perfect care. You are our God.---William Cleary, Prayers to She who is

Last night I went to bed angry with God. I had hit the peak of my tolerance for this unbearable heaviness of being, of not being in ministry, jobless, hopeless. Inside my head I opened up my anger against God as I lay in bed ready to go to sleep, or so I thought. I wanted to shout out my complaints to the heavens, "I can't take this any longer, God! You are doing nothing! You have abandoned me! There is no sense or meaning to this crap! Why must I put up with this! I already put up with 3 damn years of this shit before! Why more of the same! I'm sick of it! You're responsible! How cruel of you to do this to me!"

I awoke at 4 am with this phrase on the tip of my mind: taking a chance on the metaphysics of luck. Such an odd thought and with many possible meanings. Sometimes I feel like that is what my faith is all about. Reality is just a swirl of randomness into which I am throwing my dice hoping that what comes out will be right in "the grand scheme of things," if there is such a thing.

Then I read the prayer above as I begin my morning devotion and see the words "mystery," "randomness," "trusting in the future," and am struck by how these words connect with the phrase that emerged from the invisible depths of my psyche.

Is faith taking a chance on the metaphysics of luck? Or is it tossing ourselves into the seeming randomness of reality trusting our future to the Mystery? Whatever it is, it often feels to me like a toss of the dice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A reflection on Rumi by Leo Hartshorn

Be patient.
Respond to every call that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful and sad,
that degrade you back toward disease and death.
-----Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi

When life has squeezed from you joy and wistfulness
When putting your nose to the grindstone brings in the money
but not freedom and dancing of the heart
Listen to that still, small voice that calls in the wind
It causes you to spread your wings and fly out over the fields of joy
The voice resonates with your true inner self
It brings wholeness and peace

Ignore the calls that make you drink the dregs of depression
Forget the fears that paralyze and keep you looking down in the dirt
when there is so much blue sky overhead
Avoid like the plague the disease of duty and the straightjacket of conformity
Soar on the wings of chance and ride in the current of risk
Climb to the peaks of promise and hope. Be light like the clouds
Follow those paths that excite you, stir your passions, and makes you dream
Consider each new day a sacred adventure ready to burst forth with new life

An Iriquois Prayer for those who have lost their way