Monthly Archives: January 2011

tonight: peace

be still, little one
and know that peace,
if imperfectly sought,
subtly comes.

oh grace, this truth
lighting path home.

tonight: this morning, still

i’m still tuned to an instrument of greater and unknown design
Still, Great Lake Swimmers (Buy this album. You’re welcome.)

day breaks and color pops that grand canvas sky
the trickle-down effect of rising sun: squinty eyes
still,
still.
only just awake to the chill of winter beckoning color to bare face
the upside affect of windy air: fast feet
running,
still
the recognition bright and crisp as day, new:
be,
still.

today: this, a confession

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.”
-Lemony Snicket (and it’s good to know which time you are in…)

I am learning a new thing (I mean, hopefully I am always learning new things). This new thing, though has been challenging and has a lot of moving parts. In the learning process, I am seeing this not-so-pretty side that probably needs to be stripped away: I have tremendously high expectations of myself. Learning makes me giddy with anticipation, but when things take time? Holy cow, am I impatient. That impatience? Exhausting.

Grace, which often comes easily for others, seems out of reach when I need to extend it to myself. Somehow I suspect I am not alone in this, so I’m throwing it out here as a confession of sorts. Sometimes owning a fault disarms it.

Not the most profound of posts, but I needed to get this out.

today: vision.

“I feel very lucky to get to have part of my day leading a visual life…”
Scott Schumann

The above photograph, New Orleans over New Year’s, where a new city held my attention as if God tucked his hand under my chin and beckoned me, “look.” I drink in cities with eagerness, finding some sense of knowing myself as I take in sights, sounds, food and people. I need places, I think. They remind me that the world is bigger than me. I am intrigued by culture and the way it shapes people and their stories. I want to understand. Where things are beautiful, I want to celebrate. Where they are broken, I want to help.

The above photograph, a moment. That moment, a summary. That summary, a beautiful reminder.

A New Year. Two-thirds of January passed without a lot of words written. The assortment of thoughts formed and stories lived claimed full attention, and when a detail needed be remembered, the shutter snapped. I created a photograph. This, a change, but temporary, I think. Words and images work well in tandem.

The old year, a bit like the one before, left me with questions and a depleted rest tank in need of a refill. The old year, unlike the one before, left me hopeful and hungry. In some ways I feel like I am relearning how to look and see, particularly in the directions God points me. It’s His kindness that turns me, sure as gravity and tangible as the ground that force ever pulls us towards. Oh hello, 2011, I’m most excited to see you. Yes.

More to come. Perhaps less cryptically.

tonight: see.

you cannot extract life from truth
or love from life
shadowed spirals downturn, perhaps
temporary reality
release of all grasped
opens to receive better life
quiet is a soul set free

focus not on focus
instead, learn how to see
counter-intuitive? perhaps
the way often sight follows belief

today: short. sweet. true.

“Mystery is not the absence of meaning but the presence of more meaning than we can understand.”
-Dennis Covington

Deep breaths in a yoga class and then peace and for the first time in weeks and weeks, earnest prayer (It’s not that I haven’t prayed. It’s just that I haven’t prayed.) I commit to full stops more frequently, even if that means adding yoga classes to an already oft over-stuffed mix. The pause produces a quiet thought: I need wonder. A world saturated with things to do! and see! and that you have to be! and want! distracts, perhaps. I need wonder, not for wonder’s sake, but because when peeled back and exposed, I utterly long for life in a world spoken “good.”

The juxtaposition of a soul in but not of. Hopefully.

today: I’d maybe pocket Thomas Merton (oh the wisdom) if I could

New Orleans for New Year’s, and we ducked into a bookstore towards the end of the day on the eve of the eve, tired from the sights and heavy from the food and worn from the streets. Our steps, though, remained light, the reality of time off and away separating exhaustion from the readiness to bid the day farewell. I pulled books from shelves, perusing without committing, the way one does when no purchase need be made. The books, used, felt worn but wanted, the texture and scent of age ripened and enriched the words. A volume of Merton found my hands and my eyes guzzled the content, thirsty for the wisdom. I read this paragraph, then we read together. My soul felt stirred with the wealth Merton shared. I passed the book so I could copy it in my journal, worthy of later revisiting:

“…Our Christian journey is in fact a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own identity of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. It is, therefore, a very great thing to be little, which is to say: to be ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are…”
-p121-122, No Man Is An Island, Thomas Merton

Oh the freedom of that paradox.