It was a curious thing. Robert had filled the bathtub and put the fish in the tub, so he could clean their tank. After he’d scrubbed the film from the small walls of their make believe deep, he went to retrieve them.
He was astonished to find that, though they had the entire tub to swim in, they were huddled in a small area the size of their tank. There was nothing containing them, nothing holding them back. Why wouldn’t they dart about freely? What had life in the tank done to their natural ability to swim?
This quiet yet stark moment stayed with us both for a long time. We couldn’t help but see those little fish going nowhere but into themselves. We now had a life-in-the-tank lens on the world and wondered daily, In what ways are we like them? In what ways do we go nowhere but into ourselves? In what ways do we shrink our world so as not to feel the press of our own self-imposed captivity? Continue reading “In Wisdom’s Path …”
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
— James 5:7-8
We live in a certain tension. Where do we see it? What parts of ourselves do we wish weren’t there? In what failures, weaknesses, or wrongdoing do we feel cursed? These are the places where new insights can break through. We come to see that our vulnerability is a gift, or that a weakness can be a strength. We come to know that the only love that is meaningful is the love that sees us as we are and loves us as we are. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Love That Sees Us …”
He told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over,
so that nothing may be lost.”
It is part of the miracle: how Jesus, with such intention, cares for the fragments following the feast. He sees the abundance that persists, the feast that remains within the fragments. We might think the marvel of the story is that there is enough for everyone. And yet for Jesus, enough does not seem to be enough. There is more: a meal that depends on paying attention to what has been left behind, on turning toward what has been tossed aside.
Call it the persistence of wonder, or the stubbornness of the miraculous: how Christ casts his circle around the fragments, will not loose his hold on what is broken and in pieces. How he gathers them up: a sign of the wholeness he can see; a foretaste of the banquet to come.
Blessing the Fragments
Cup your hands together,
and you will see the shape
this blessing wants to take.
Basket, bowl, vessel:
it cannot help but
hold itself open
what comes. Continue reading “Blessing the Fragments …”
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 …”
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 …”
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
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 …”
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 …”