The Laziness of Despair. The Nerve!

What? It takes much effort to despair. There is the resistance of asking the questions to break despair’s vice grip on this hand-cuffed free agent. To disengage in the tension of all there is to be tense about… that takes work. It takes energy to avoid the linear or circular arguments as to why things are the way they are. Lazy Mr. Merton?

That is like what my friend told me about loneliness. “Loneliness is ultimately selfish.” My first thought was don’t take my loneliness away from me. Ha. How selfish that sounds. Oh, the arrogance of island living. “No man is an island.” That was the parting phrase after that same friend dropped everything and listened to me gripe and grumble over unresolved tensions which clamored for my attention.

My wife, the one closest to me, labels it stubbornness. Despair has whittled me down to a stub on the inside. Oh, woe is me. I am victim, hear me whimper.

I suppose loneliness and despair are kissing cousins. A pair indeed. An undynamic duo nurturing any passive soul willing to engage in their auspices.

We are not lazy, my wife and me. Even now I am thinking about what I can physically accomplish this day. But personally I can clean the outside of the cup, spit shine it, straighten things up, but on the inside is a dank, musty ole grave. Stubborn. Selfish. Set in stone. My heart can continue to acquiesce to the lonely lazy despair or…

Look to a good God, who is Love, and operates in justice, mercy, and grace. Who holds my tension if I set it in His open palm… you know, the one with the hole in it.

Sound too simplistic? Well, just remember every island is surrounded by water, and if we walk long enough we will touch the edge of the water’s great expanses and be refreshed.

Prayer: Oh God, thank you that I am not too much for You. Thank you that my tension can be placed in your palm. Thank You that I am never alone, and hope is just a prayer away. Help those who find themselves in similar states of mind and give them grace to turn to You. Amen.

Head In The Clouds

Sure, I can look for hand holds in the clouds

and make my way up the cold front crags.

No safety ropes, no titanium pegs.

Bare hands and lofty dreams

I make my ascent.

Half way up

I am stilted

by shadows coursing

the meadow I used to lie in,

hands behind my head

eyes grazing on the

cumulus mountains

on which I now cling.

 

What Inspires You? Who Inspires You?

I knew what I missed yesterday morning. At the last minute I walked out into the amphitheater to catch the noise of nature before leaving for work. Last night I looked to see the forecast for this morning. Sixties and clear.

I forced myself up and slid onto the deck.

Six fifteen and the chatter of integrated birds made my heart grin. A light breeze queued up the sound of waves in the upper shelves of the row of poplars at the back of the field.

I brought a short stack of books but left it lie for a while. I caught my breath like an inhaled prayer and gave my thoughts to a quiet God.

Then a still small voice.

“You caught it. Your breath. I inspire you. There is nothing that I have not given you. Even the nothing before anything was…yes, all original. Even the spaces between the nothings, the darkness, and when it is so quiet the ringing in your ears rises to the surface, I Am.”

Thank You.

 

Thoughts While Waiting in the Checkout Line. A Poem.

I examine the ages,

the by-lines

on their faces

of stories held

in the creases.

Gravity spread

wrinkles of time,

of carved, etched tales.

They wait, hands

folded on their lapses.

 

Sandy the horse

is gone for repair.

Let the children

come to the

benches still there,

where wrinkles

could ride

the expressions

of stories released

for a penny.

 

 

On Writing. A Haiku.

words swatted like flies

or netted like butterflies

both necessary

Fly and butterfly

God, Human People, and the Paralysis of Blame.

I keep telling Barbara to focus on one thing at a time while maintaining the big picture in the peripheral. I found it nearly impossible to do either separately or melded together like peanut butter and jelly. There are many many things on which to focus in this village we call home.

We attended church and I wouldn’t engage. God has been a thorn. Sorry God, I know it isn’t your fault. If it was your fault, you wouldn’t be a very desirable God now would you? What isn’t? What is the ‘it’ of ‘it’ all?

“Life is difficult,” as M. Scott Peck said. Agreed.

Some would pinpoint their fingers at the free will, free fallin’ humans who choose and choose and choose. I choose. You choose. They choose. All the bad choices in the world, of the world, and by the world. The free falling humans aren’t the first choice of blame though. The fingers point up to the Invisible God first it seems.

God. You have been lost. Not because you have run away to hide (Which is the reason that floats in the back of my mind), but because I have lost sight of you. Eye have. Even as you prove yourself over and over to me, the miracles you place in my way every day, I see, hear, smell, taste, and touch with little more than a glance into the invisible faith in and of You.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

I had a dream the other night that I was standing at an Alter. I looked up to a person holding out one hand. “Would you like to come and surrender to God?”

“Yes! Yes!” I knelt and wept uncontrollably, as I have done before without thinking of the circled pattern of my spiritual state over the years. Trust poured over me, in me, through me. “Whom have I in heaven but Thee?” I didn’t feel the need to push my fingers in His hands or thrust my hand into His side. My doubting Thomas lay sleeping within the dream. I told the dream to Barbara on the way to church. She asked me how I felt about it and I said it was just a dream. Then church. Then stubbornness. Then distrust.

God really isn’t to blame. Neither are the human people within any given church (which is another reason I have shut down in stubborn pouting). In the end, blame isn’t the ultimate cauterization of rips and tears in the soul. Blame only keeps the wounds open, even the self- inflicted kind, of which there are many.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus

Forgive. Forgiveness. Forgiven. Thank God!

Do you ever get stubborn? Do you ever lack faith and forgiveness? How have you found your way out?

Prayer Thoughts After the Philomena Movie Credits

It’s strange how a movie can lift you away from your current reality only to plop you down more solidly in your current reality. The movie wasn’t about any circumstance our family is experiencing, although I think a movie could be made about our reality, its current weight as well as its past. The movie gave me hope to live in the here and now with more authenticity and strength.

Religious experience sometimes has the same effect. I distrust my own faith; a distrust that has grown from lack of proximity and communication. I take heart in the fact that I am off my antidepressant and not depressed. But a flat-line emotional state is not the opposite of depression. It is a respite from a switchback path up a mountain. This is the level ground in which my heart rate can be stabilized before more ascension. A good life is always an upward climb. An authentic life is an immersed heart under pressure of a new altitude.

My wife feels every little stone along the path, and lets me know. I trudge along quietly like some sort of monk that has misplaced his prayer rope, the one with the knots in it. There was a man in the movie grumbling along, dissing God, and pointed out every injustice as if God was the sole owner of each. The lady he helped had a steadfast faith in her Catholic roots with a sensibility about life that flowed naturally from her heart out beyond her lips. In the end, forgiveness kept her moving up the mountain.

Forgiveness. That passive aggressive antidote for bitterness and victimhood. Passive, because it is a release of personal revenge and retribution. Aggressive, because it is the stay against the calcification of our own hearts.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus

In our current reality sometimes they do know what they do. More acutely, we do know what we do. Forgiveness often is the most stretched when it is our own selves we need to forgive. In either case, whether it is us or them who we need to forgive, forgiveness must remain a viable option in order to continue our ascent to finish well this mountain climb called life.

God, help us to forgive even as you have forgiven, amen.