Stasis

A chanting mourning dove

drives the knees.

A prayer of no words.

Groans prostrate like

shadows at sunrise.

The stasis of loss.

Invitation. Please Come In.

Come again, another year,

unfold your days

and leave a crease in each one.

 

Come again, another love,

lift your eyes

and cut tenderly our space.

 

Come again, Good God,

comb mercy through

our tangled ways.

 

Come again, breath stroke,

breathe in grace,

and exhale compassion.

 

Come again wholeness,

and bend low

in the present tense.

 

Come again Jesus,

even so come.

 

 

Down To Earth

I’ve been looking for a local prayer,

one you would find on the bench

outside of a barber shop in the fifties.

 

I used to pray these long liturgical

sermons which started in Kalamazoo

and ended in Timbuktu.

 

Does God need a preaching to?

Is the back pew large enough for

Him to lay down and nap?

 

I need a down to earth prayer.

I know God came down here before.

How about a single syllable summons.

 

“Help.”

First Light Prayer

It’s okay if no words can sand off
the sharp stillness of this sunrise.
Sit, close lipped, face on your hands,
those callused tools of industry.

Let the birds slit the morning air
while you receive much.
Before the giving flexes you,
say a prayer that works.

It’s okay if no words can sand it.

The Gift of Restlessness

It isn’t fully received,
a rose bent over at its neck.
Thorns spaced so holding the stem
is an intentional act but not a grasping,
clenching affair.
Thumb and fingertips
lightly turn the bud bowed
in the prayer of sacrifice, red petal
winged tears glide and rest in our steps,
and we go on another walk.

No Poem. No Memior. Just Pasted Thoughts Of Large Adoptive Family Shtuff.

When life gets more real and raw, sometimes the answer suspends in mid air just out of reach. In my head I gather facts and history. The moment to speak is now and all that comes out is stuttering and behind the eyes a fear of no answer, grasping at air.

The raccoon is dead and we drive past without blinking. I often tell whoever is with me, “That’s a weird place to take a nap.” Or about the car in the median after a blizzard, “That’s a funny place to park.” There is a context in which each scene lies and I neither take the time or energy to investigate. Animal control comes to scoop up a carcass. The State Police slows traffic as the tow truck pulls the vehicle out.

But the scenes in a family, of which I am part, come with the context included. Each scene touches another like the beginning of rain on a glassy pond, the expanding circles from each impact cross over one another. It’s my choice to absorb the context of the situation.

I am often oblivious to the context of little (or BIG) extended plays of power and their struggles. What is a pulling on a toy between two children in my view is exactly what it is: Power struggle. I don’t see or choose to invest the time for the context of each child’s history in this family of adoption. My worn-thin wife, who chooses to embrace the context and operate out of it, is emotionally stretched thinner. I often find her parked in the median. It’s my choice to investigate the contextual framework for the big picture. She saw me drive on by too many times.

So history repeats and the expectation for help, or at least her hope for validation is weak. I don’t blame her. It’s a set up and I set it up for her. I understand men and women are wired differently. Men lean toward boxed and compartmentalized containment, while women integrate and thread all the aspects of life more naturally. There are advantages to both paradigms at times. They can also appear as dead animals on the edge of the road when placed side by side.

Honestly, I know people who live holistically, who have seemingly seamless transitions from one facet of life to another. Barbara, my wife, is one of them. When I consider the two paradigms as mentioned, I would rather move closer to my wife’s “whole pie” perspective than her sidle up to my “one piece at a time” mentality.

I suppose all marriages feel this anomaly tug on each end of a frayed rope, at least any marriage of consequence and extended history. Then enter children and the differences increase in volume as parenting seeks solidarity. Then enter adoption…

To be continued…

In the mean time, Anne Lamott handed me a compressed effective prayer…Help!

Any adoptive or blended families out there…here’s a shout out to you!

Do You Meditate? Not Medicate. Meditate.

Thinking on my feet is not one of my strengths. I think better on my arse. Usually my right elbow rests on the arm of the chair. The right thumb under my chin braces my think tank. The right finger extends over the cheekbone pointing to the brain. The pointer doesn’t tap like Pooh Bear, it just rests there in hopes of pointing something out.

I think deeply about deep stuff, like when will be the last time I tie my shoes. Some people refer to intentional thinking moments as meditation. But meditation isn’t exactly what occurs when my brain cells decide to socialize and go synapsing through the ‘hood under my hood. Meditation, I’ve heard, is mulling over one idea or concept, not thought-hopping like when I press the search knob on the car radio over and over.

The Psalmists in the Old Testament of the Bible refer to the act of meditation. The first Psalm and Psalm 119 talk about meditating on the law of God. Sounds a bit boring on the surface, but the term law doesn’t mean just the Ten Commandments, although those are good references to put one’s mind to meditate. The law spans all of scripture. David had some spare time to mull over the narrative of God’s creation and written communiqué.

I see things and think about them. All day long I drive around taking in creation, including humans, and wonder and wonder. I don’t look at things, I look through them. Not every second of every moment of every day, just when I am attentive. When considering meditating on the laws of God I try to see beyond the laws to the law giver. Law giver doesn’t sound much more appealing, to me anyway. The world hears the words Law and God and sprint in the other direction. Even some people of faith hear those words and shrug their shoulders. I do sometimes.

But think of the Law Giver as a person. God is the Person of persons whose image we persons bear. To look at the law is one thing; to look through law is personal. Before any law was written in cement a Person existed to exact the law.

Meditation on the law can be a personal experience if we have eyes to see. I don’t want to simply obey the law, but to experience a person behind it. I mean, if God is good (I don’t want to engage with a god who isn’t. Who would?) behind the laws is a pure motivation for my well being. Not a constriction per se, but a freedom to know a Good God through a transcendent view.

Try this:
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 Carry this around in your brain today. Two words. Simple. Pray it. Say it. Think it. Ponder it. Marinade it in meditation.

Umbilical

The talking’s good from the belly.
Distended words, tight,
pushed up like a burp.

The singing’s good from the diaphragm.
Birthed below the heart,
skipping beats.

The prayer’s good from the center.
Released midriff, exposed
from under our coverings.

Poplars. A Poem.

The poplars lost their voice.
Leaves like vocal chords fell silent.

Still, wind pipes through canopies
and raspy utterances remind of the coming

silence on its way.
words rustle on the field of grass.

White noise of laryngitis
will acquiesce to the evergreen’s

whispered prayer for renewal.
Snow will come and settle us.

Each winter gust vibrates
rebirth through the needles.

The poplars will find their voice again
and I will listen, I will listen.

Buford. Quiet Time. Prayers.

The spirit lays
next to the cat scratched couch.
80 pounds tipped on his side,
legs extended, paw pads pudgy.

He will shed more evidence
into the worn traffic lane
of carpet fibers.
I pray as I step over Dog.

Blood hounding me,
I wish the spirit of canine
would come and lick
my dry cracked skin.

I wouldn’t pull away
this time, but scratch
beneath his collar line.
Eyes beneath droopy lids,

contact mine to validate
we are both dog tired.
I thank God for Dog,
and we both sniff the air.