Conversations With God Part One. Hurt.

I am calling you back amidst the pluralism and disparity of your mind. There is truth and you must turn to seek it again. Don’t Pontius Pilate Me. Don’t ask the question and walk away before getting a response. I am Truth.

But there is so much to trail off into. So many ways to justify everyone’s point of view.

You don’t have to be in charge of justification. Doesn’t the word sound like it belongs to Me anyway. Your intellectual energies are draining you into a ubiquitous ocean. I know the beginning from the end. I know how far the east is from the west. Sure, humans are like little gods in My image. Each one bears My imprint and My love reaches to each heart. But the turning of hearts to Truth is a mystery. I set every human free, freedom they sometimes use to blind themselves from hurt, fear, and beauty.

Hurt, fear, and beauty? What?

Yes. Odd threesome I know. The hurt comes early in being a human. Usually it starts with some little oversight of a parent that awakens the longing.

Longing?

Yes, the longing for more, for better, for possibly another world. Remember what you said you wanted on your tombstone? ”This Isn’t All There Is.”

Yes.

You know how you check the Obituaries every day and joke with your children that you are still alive? I hear you in the silence—in the middle of night when you realize if you make it to seventy that it’s only 16 years away. I hear you. Your life has meaning and purpose, but it’s not where you think. It’s not what you think.

Well then, what is it pray tell? Where is the meaning and purpose to fill this vacuous heart?

I Am.

Sigh. I know. I’ve seen the spectrum. From spiritualizing culturally contorted Christians to vague spiritualists. The ones who sidle up to You but don’t name You. I don’t know where I fall in the lineup. I keep losing my place.

Stop looking at them. The disciples kept wanting to know who would be the closest to me when the Kingdom came. They even bickered about John, the one I love so. Martha simmered the lentils for me all the while wishing Mary would get a clue and get up and get busy. The other brother that stayed home, faithful to the prodigal’s father, ended up disgruntled. He lost the heart of the relationship. I won’t even go into the Religious leaders and their runaway lips.

But I…

Wait. Wait on Me. Hold on. There’s more. It is a conundrum I’ve allowed. The hurt usually comes from the very people you hope to connect with. It’s a given. Know that you also will hurt others. I know you don’t wake up each morning thinking about how and who you are going to disappoint and hurt. Your heart is fallow at times and My wisdom sideswipes your consciousness as you move and breath and have your being. The truth of who you are comes out when trouble arrives like the sparks that rise from a fire.

Oh, the adversity element. The “life is difficult” as M. Scott Peck would say.

Difficult yes, but spread the definition out a little. Let’s say mysterious. In the mystery of humanness, in its base elements, there rests a tension.

“Rests a tension.” Rest and tension aren’t hand and glove terms. Paradoxical, juxta positional, maybe even oppositional, but their relationship is not on a first name basis.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in the rest and tension, one for each nostril, and out through the mouth comes mystery. I can transform what happens under the sun. It is in your heart where I do my best work. I can help you find the rest in the tension of living an imperfect world. Whether you are the recipient of hurt or the dispenser of it there is hope. Do you believe there is hope?

I must or I wouldn’t be talking with You.

The hope lies in forgiveness. To forgive others and forgive yourself is important. To ask for forgiveness and extend grace and mercy to those who ask for it (Even those who don’t) creates space for the mystery. When mystery is allowed to fill the lacerations of hurt, rest and tension aren’t so far apart. You are still “under the sun” as Solomon emphasized in My Book of Ecclesiastes. There will always be tension in the world, and when you accept it, then My rest is a possibility.

Lord, help me lie down in forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

Come. Take a load off.

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Seeds in the cracks
and the finches make a point, their point
is to poke and pick with sudden thrusts.

The sun leapt over the eastern rim
and the chatter of birds is abbreviating
like the shadows along the row of blue spruce.

Light lifts its head and warms the dew.
Diamonds on the grass cut into me
and melt between my toes.

Like a bird, I bend close and hop
on the morning sea of green
and pick at the cracks.

I pray for seeds
and then for wings.

Beauty Just Is, It Doesn’t Ask

Or does it?

“I don’t have the strength to engage beauty.”

He said it with resignation. I have been sitting with his statement for a while now. Does it really take energy to interact with beauty? For me, at least the past decade or so, my receptors have been maturing in all things aesthetic. Whether it be nature or music or woven words or visual art I sense a wooing, like someone saying “pssst, over here, look!” Receiving comes fairly easy, yet I think my friend is right. It is not effortless. Beauty doesn’t come barging in without knocking. We have to be open.

Then I asked myself how a person can get to a point where beauty becomes a beast. Before awakened by a poem over a decade ago, why was I walking by roses with my nose in the air? Why was the thought of engaging a rose a thorn in my flesh?

I asked my friend why he didn’t have the strength.

“There is too much crap in my life. It has drained me. I don’t have an ounce left to see how you see right now.”
I know his life and he is absolutely right. There is a lot of crap. It takes energy to ‘deal’ with crap too. Then I wondered if I am living in a state of denial because there is crap in my life too. I began asking myself if I was delusional. Am I not ‘dealing’ with it? I’ll ask my wife. She will know.

In the mean time I ache. The ache is for my friend and others who don’t have an ounce to spare. They stop to smell the roses and all they feel is the prick of a thorn.

I asked another friend for thoughts on this topic and the response added new light.

“Hurt and pain creates walls.
Anger creates a thick buffer to beauty,
stiff arming, and squeezing eyes shut.
The truth of it, though,
is that once you open to beauty
it feeds…it does not drain/pull/deplete.”

Openness to beauty is a perspective. It is an attitude. It is almost an altitude. A rising above, suspending, transcending the crap of this life in which we live. There is hurt and pain in this life. Anyone saying it doesn’t exist is delusional. But in and through the sharp points grows life up to the buds, petals, color, and grace of beauty.

Give us eyes to see.

It takes faith, trust, and hope to allow ourselves to receive beauty, because at any moment the uglies of existence can block our view.

“Beauty for ashes” is my prayer, and the grace to receive the beauty.

“Give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them ‘Oaks of Righteousness’ planted by God to display his glory.” Isaiah 61:3 The Message

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This discussion could go on for quite a while. Do you have any thoughts on this? Care to join in?

Field Notes

In the field

among varied grasses

she waltzed with her palms

brushing the buds bowed in prayer.

 

The late summer wild flowers

dipped in heated color.

Indian paint brushes

dabbed the sky

on the edges

of towering cumulus.

 

She lay

down

in embroidery.

They neither toiled

nor spun

around the edges

of her skin.

 

Sleep planted innocence

once again

and dreams fell on her

like a steady rain.

Beauty forgave

and golden hair

brushed by the breezes

painted the bottomless sky.

Open

It choked me.

 

My mother told me close my mouth.

Dennis’ father used to sit in the corner,

legs crossed, reading the Gazette

with his lower lip dangling and pudgy.

Old people gape at nothing.

Maybe nothing is gape worthy

when white flurries crown them.

 

The snowflake melted down into me.

 

Postcard: Dated: Present

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was no seal to be slit open.

My attention flipped over.

The scenes held in my hand.

The evening light crowned trees like a stamp.

Someone paid postage with beauty.

 

On one side color rose with the setting sun

and an angled glow skipped over

the folds in the fields.

Darkness tucked in for the night

under peaks of deeper greens and golds.

 

On the other side sparse words,

tight, lean, black ink spread apart

on white unlined space.

I am Love.

Thinking of you.

Soul Tunes; The Music Of Fall Approaches

autumn woods

There begins a song.

Low and unnoticed.

The percussion of leaves

and nuts ironed underfoot.

 

The troubadours of autumn

overhead and overheard.

They tune up as

their formation points south.

 

Cooler breezes play off

the trees falling fingers.

Like air through a harmonica

notes stagger in stereo.

 

This time is for slowing down

as nature strolls and stares.

It blushes while

it prepares to undress.

 

Autumns fashions clothe my soul.

I too, blush as summer wanes.

All the heated growth laid bare

and tones slip to a minor key.

 

Here begins a soul song,

one of color and exposure,

of laying down my coverings

before You.