The rain moved away yesterday morning, leaving cool clear
air and a fiery sunset shining through the trees, back lighting the mountain in
the west. And this morning dawned brilliantly clear. Light began filling the
sky by 6:00 AM, which seemed much earlier than I remember. Mystery fills the
The clear light and cloak of spring changing to summer does
not change the daily grind of work that is increasingly filled with bad economic news.
What seemed just a few months earlier as an endless flow of work and money has
now turned to a level four type drought. The river is going dry. So, we begin
to sink new wells, trying not to scrape the bottom of the barrel.
My day started before dawn with choices of how to begin the
day. Should I go for a run in the park with Roscoe? Should I go the gym? Should I go for a swim? Should I do Yoga? Should I read Merton’s
Friday dawn meditation? Should I stay in bed? Choices begin
before I put my feet on the floor. Every morning I pray for serenity, that I
“live this day in a simple, sincere way, repelling every thought of anxiety
discontent, and self-seeking, cultivating cheerfulness and magnanimity”
(Forward Day by Day, Morning Resolve). And every morning moves to day and choices
and demands multiply along with my anxiety, discontent, and self-seeking. I cannot even finish this brief written
thought without the phone ringing and urgent tasks walking my office.
Paul says that we are to “pray without ceasing” (Thessalonians
5:17) and Merton suggests, “We should do less,” so contrary to the smiling hum
of business that surrounds me. Regardless of dawn resolve, the light of day blinds
me as the race begins. Come the end of the day I will drag home
angry, tired and bitter, again.
Create space in my heart
And in my bones.
Move me outside
Give me eyes to see
Life constantly moving
And ears to hear Whispers.
Give me time.
Late April evening sky now warms to insects and a solitary
tree frog croaking to greet the gathering darkness, his noisy solo overture
will join a choir as nights continue to warm. A bat darts against the pale sky—creatures
resurrected from winter’s cold. The dog cannot stay in the house, he is called
outdoors, as I am too. The old cat also is drawn from her chair to prowl the
Planets and stars begin their journey across the night sky. The
full moon will soon rise casting the sun’s reflection on night ground.
Warmth that daylight brought fades to cool night air sending a shiver through
my heart, eyes straining to see.
Creativity is the inspiration of God’s Spirit in us,
directing productive use of our energy. The new light of morning illuminates
possibilities, a path through the blinding light of day where “nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain” (Psalm 2). Morning sounds do not conspire:
ecstatic birds amazed that the sun has once again chased away dreadful
darkness, soft morning breeze shaking trees, and breathe of the revived Spirit
rising and falling. Yesterday’s missteps and detours have no meaning and cannot
be retraced. Failed plans slip through fingers. Forward movement is the only choice.
A soft breeze flows through the window of my mind and soul.
A gentle rain falls on the spring ground and the birds are singing in praise of
the coming day. Saturday, a welcome reprise from the grind of the work week. A
day to find what was lost Php Aide in the rushed and breathless week, a day to live free
in the soft warm air of spring.
God grant me to live this day in a simple and sincere way, repelling
promptly every thought of discontent, restlessness, and self-seeking;
cultivating cheerfulness and kindness. Grant that my actions be careful and
deliberate and that my time be productive in Your sight and not compared to
actions of our capitalist society.
The morning began by moving in a new direction. Reading Merton: “Thank God for the hill, the
sky, the morning sun, the manna on the ground which every morning renews our
lives.” Waking from sleep and feeling renewed. However, my renewal never lasts
The perils of morning e-mail are often enough to drag my
spirit down the drain. I have thin skin when my errors are brought to my
attention. In the uneasy light of truth, I somehow try to atone for missteps.
No one likes to be wrong and, God knows, we are far from perfect. I take my
imperfections way too serious and find it hard to step back and see them as
insignificant in God’s eye and that my consternation is vanity and foolishness.
I am only called to do is my best and when I, in my human nature, make mistakes, simply and humbly do what is in my
power to correct the problem and move on with God’s grace. However, I am not
graceful. My only prayer is to seek morning renewal and grace to for continued
moment toward Spirit.
The direction of nothingness with the peace and
understanding of God is so contrary to capitalistic culture and to how I have
live my life to now. To turn loose of competition and the pursuit of money and
power leaves me empty. I am lost in things. I have strayed so far from the
Spirit, that I have no idea how to quiet the outside noise that has invaded my
inside, my soul. Quiet the tapes playing in my head that keep me restless, that
drive my actions. Merton says, “Do not let me trust what I can grasp with my
fingers. Death will loosen my grip and my vain hold will be gone.”
Oh how I grasp when I inevitably begin to lose hold. I grasp
all the tighter to nothing. So much wasted effort trying to hold what cannot be
held. I am so used to pushing for my selfish interests, not sitting idle. Take
my energy in new directions.
I live on the edge of knowing anything of myself and knowing
how to listen to the Mystery all around. Thomas Merton suggests that we slow down
and do less—something I am not inclined to do. I gravitate toward moving as
fast as I can from one task to the next, not fully finishing the one at hand
before thinking about the next. Pride in a job well done has long ago vanished.
Attention deficit is a common affliction for those of us
living in the secular world, constantly bombarded by advertisement,
temptations, and noise. How can I be quite in the midst of all this noise? How
can I focus on God in my daily life when my conversation has no mention of God?
All I see and hear seems to be anti-God.
Contemplation only comes when I am awakened by reading, a
pleasure that does not come naturally. I am too wrapped in daily tasks to find
the time. And when I take the time, I feel like I am looking in and that I am
not immersed in the immense Mystery that I surrounding me.
Breathe and listen.
Struggling against emotions I am all too familiar with,
greed, lust, self-seeking, and an indigent sense of righteousness and
entitlement, block me from the joy and peace the God has available. Feasting on
the bread of anxiety upsets my stomach and blinds my eyes. Breathing in short
frantic gasps deprive my heart and brain of the breath of the Day. Moving in a
constant hurried blur does not allow the joy of seeing the Mystery clothed in
nature and gentle people, made in His image, that are there.
There too are those who, like me, wrapped in fear,
separated, are alone in the crowd. What
a lonely place: pushed, shoved, and
utterly alone fighting against love and joy there for the taking.
The mid-day sun shines on everything and everyone leaving no
place to hide human blemishes. It is too much to see the city washed in
brilliance. Ugliness cannot hide from sight all manmade assaults there to
behold. Driving on ribbons of pavement, cut and filled through hill and
bottomland, nature pushed aside, traffic preventing the wound from ever healing.
No wonder when driver’s dress in automotive apparel,
overwhelming restlessness, irritability, and discontentment ride in the
passenger and back seats. We ride alone in sport utility vehicles capable of
carrying four or five others and a ton of cargo all rushing to similar
destinations. We only wish we could rush because the ribbons of pavement are
over capacity—we hardly move. And a helpless sense of lack of control grips
hearts of Viagra popping, balding men that rage helplessly. As he sits fuming
staring at the bumper in front of him, he misses the flowers growing in a
roadside ditch—God keeping watch.
There are those places, however, where the city blends with
nature. Hidden places where man’s structures walk in step with trees. These places
must be secret because they are desirable and, therefore, attract the multitude
seeking respite from merciless pavement.