A Path & A Small Light …

First find a path, and a little light to see by.
— Anne Lamott from Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

This is the trick to staying well, isn’t it: to feel the sun even in the dark. To not lose the truth of things when they go out of view. To grow just the same. To know there is still water, even when we are thirsty. To know there is still love, even when we are lonely. To know there is still peace, even when we are suffering. None of this invalidates your pain, but only strengthens our way back into the light. Continue reading “A Path & A Small Light …”

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Blessed Are You Who Bear the Light …

My earliest memories of creation are primarily of light. They come to me in a kaleidoscope of recollection, of light reflecting off the waters of northern Canadian lakes where I spent time as a boy or of the clarity of the night skies above those same waters. I often would sit mesmerized by the sun’s setting colours or by the immediacy of starlight in the dark. I do not believe that I am unusual in this, nor do I think that the wilderness of the context was necessary to the depth of the impression, for I also remember light in the city, glistening off the metallic chrome of cars or dappling through the white curtains of my nursery window. In fact it is important that these memories are not unique, for the experience of the light that is in creation is a universal gift. Continue reading “Blessed Are You Who Bear the Light …”

Hope: Better Days Ahead …

All night my heart makes its way however it can over the rough ground of uncertainties, but only until night meets and then is overwhelmed by morning, the light deepening, the wind easing and just waiting, as I too wait (and when have I ever been disappointed?) for redbird to sing.
— Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings

We Look With Uncertainty

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love. Continue reading “Hope: Better Days Ahead …”

Desert Day 34: Holy Absence …

But there is this too. Respite. Rest. Letting the desert be the desert, without feeling compelled to bulldoze our way through it.

I think of a long stretch when I found myself in a soul struggle that had caught me entirely by surprise. Consumed by the wrestling and working and searching, I felt exhausted. After a time, my spiritual director, Maru, gave me this phrase: holy absence.

There are times, she said, sometimes seasons, for removing ourselves from the struggle. Time for sabbath. Time for rest. Continue reading “Desert Day 34: Holy Absence …”

Desert Day 20: When The Well Runs Dry …

Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life.
— John 4: 13-14

And the well runs dry. It’s one of the most common experiences in the spiritual life. A practice that we have cherished, a habit that has deepened us and drawn us closer to God, a discipline that we perhaps have engaged in for years no longer seems to work. Gradually over time or overnight with no warning, its familiar contours turn foreign, dull, perhaps even painful.

These times call us to some of our deepest discernment. They dare us to ask, Am I being called to go deeper in this practice, to persist, to keep digging toward the wellspring that surely must be here somewhere? Am I being invited to wait and to listen? Or is God leading me toward a different practice than the one I have known? Continue reading “Desert Day 20: When The Well Runs Dry …”

Desert Day 12: Where The Breath Begins …

The Spirit of God breathes everywhere within you, just as in the beginning, filling light place and dark…green earth and dry…. God’s love grows, fullness upon fullness, where you crumble enough to give what is most dear. Your earth.
— Joan Sauro from Whole Earth Meditation

The Landscape

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.
—Matthew 4.1

The season of Lent calls us into a landscape. Though the imagery of wilderness is dominant in Lent, this is not the primary terrain that this season invites us to enter. Continue reading “Desert Day 12: Where The Breath Begins …”

Desert Day 10: Desert Listening …

Their words and names echo through the centuries and fall on our ears with the haunting, foreign ring of oriental temple bells: Abba Anthony, Amma Syncletica, Abba Marcarius, Abba Poemen. Yet these fathers and mothers of the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria are our own Christian spiritual forebears. Continue reading “Desert Day 10: Desert Listening …”

Desert Day 09: A Way In The Wilderness …

In the early centuries of the church, as Christianity continued to find its form, women and men who sought to follow Christ began to move into the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Leaving behind the familiar landscapes they had known, they went into the wilderness to divest themselves of all that separated them from God. Continue reading “Desert Day 09: A Way In The Wilderness …”

Desert Day 02: Blessing The Desert . ..

Hope begins in the dark: the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work. You don’t give up.
— Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird

Blessing the Desert

Ask me what
this blessing sounds like
and I will tell you
about the wind
that hollows everything
it finds. Continue reading “Desert Day 02: Blessing The Desert . ..”