Lifted

The clouds aren’t usually this quiet.

They’re trying to sneak by unnoticed.

No definition. Looking a little pale,

they scrape the tree-line like a hangover.

The cool night chained them to the low places

and now they slip away into the light of day.

With their dissipation I am thinned,

the heaviness of dark lifted,

shadows spilling as a remembrance.

Forgiveness as the dew,

mercy as the burning thereof,

and grace its antecedent.

Rain Mates

Let’s just skip the stones

and get dirty.

Mud pies in the face.

Bear disgrace.

Fall into place.

Wallow and weep

into each other’s eyes.

The river’s a half-peck

away from your cheek.

We’re weak,

let’s cinder sneak.

We know who we are

from where we were,

and now is now.

The Oh, Honestly

parts of us wait

in the rain,

the ripples

kissing each other

with grace.

Zip-tied or slipped tide. (Sorry, I didn’t know what to title this one.)

My eyes welled up yesterday. I felt hijacked by a compassion stored in the fruit cellar of my heart. A nice surprise.

Over the last few years of my life I’ve been doing some soul shifting. That’s right, soul shifting, not soul surfing, or even soul shaping. Shift happens. Well…not so fast.

I didn’t slouch on the sofa waiting for life to slap me across the face. I did, however, put my will down, and backed away slowly. What seemed like striving to free myself from zip-tied hands was really fear manipulation. Every time I attempted to wrangle out of the cuffs, my wrists bore witness of the struggle. Funny, the more this happened, the more it appeared as if I brandished a razor blade on them.

Is true freedom a suicide pact of sorts? May I be bold enough to say I was afraid to live and scared to death? How dramatic!

Anyone who knows me, knows my life is full of life, yet for years (Decades? Even before my thirty something years of mid-life crisis? Since my mother’s water broke?) I settled into a fallback position of sorts. My therapist described it like sitting a hundred yards from the house in the tall grass observing my family’s goings on. It’s what I knew. It’s what I was shown, father effect you might say. Father affect more like it. My Dad had the affect too, at least that was my experience of him. I miss him and wish we could talk about the similar wounds we carry. Our heart rates seemed flatter, not flattering.

Now, my thumper is fluttering on occasion. I feel, and in the feeling comes water tension on my eyes–A vision-smearing lubrication reminding me I still have a heart, and not to be afraid of it breaking, even breaking into joy. In our family there are plenty of opportunities for both kinds of breaking. Who am I kidding? I’m fairly sure every family fractures their hearts in wringing life out in close proximity.

“Oh the humanity!”

I think that might sum up this little stream of sub consciousness micro tome.

I’m feeling more human…more humane, and by the grace of God my heart will break open more frequently. The zip ties are loosening and I’m not as afraid.

Peace and prayers peeps.

Pop Quiz

Let’s flip our pencils

and pray for erasure

of our projections

and scribbled premonitions.

 

Let’s put our pencils down

and face to face each other.

Let our ears understand twice.

Let our mouths grace once over.

 

Let’s stop passing notes

folded like footballs.

Let’s hand in hand be

vulnerable respectfully.

 

Let’s close our test booklets

and study each other.

Let’s not worry about grades,

but graces to pass before passing.

You Are

I say my prayers fast

before my mind

pulls apart these folded hands.

God, You are.

 

I lift my arms

as a child reaching.

an alchemy of receiving and giving.

Father, You are.

 

I run into the world

with a tension, attention

to the beauty and brokenness.

Jesus, You are.

 

I breathe without thought

exchanging bad air for good,

grace folding me.

Spirit, You are.

Conversations With God Part Two. Fear.

How are you feeling today?

What do my feelings have to do with anything? I thought truth was the ultimate.

I care about your feelings, and I Am the Truth.

Another tension I suppose.

Your suppositions precede you. I am pleased you have taken time to rest and think of Me. I think of you too.

More often than not I don’t feel the connection. It’s easier for me to think about You than engage with You. In the past it was easier for me to talk about You too. Now I don’t feel like talking about You to others so much. Deep down it feels like talking heads. I judge and project my experience on others. Little conversations rattle in my thoughts like…”If they only knew how disconnected I feel toward God they would walk away.”

Projections will get you nowhere. But authenticity will. I heard you tell a few people you were struggling when they asked how you were doing. I can communicate to you through others you know.

You seem to miscommunicate through others as well. I have slowly pulled away from possibilities of the influence of others, both positive and negative. There seems to be a parallel between that pulling away and the retreat from trust in You. I see the deception of becoming an island where I think my books and poetry protect me. You are the Rock and I am the island. Does Rock smash island or does island wrap Rock?

What do you think? Does playing paper, scissors, rock (or Rock, island, relationship as it were) bring a sense of comfort or purpose or hope? Don’t be afraid.

Afraid? Afraid of what?

Fear not, see the forest for the trees. Resist the temptation to follow one snowflake during a blizzard. Embrace the mystery of who I Am.

Are you saying I am a spiritual deconstructionist? Have I dissected you like a frog in a slowly warming Petri dish until You came to a boil? Have I killed you?

Fear not the dark night of the soul. I am not scared of the dark and I will come to you in it.

I don’t get it. How the hell did I get here? How did perfect fear cast out love? How do I turn the Titanic around? Help.

It’s time to let go of the rail. Time to jump ship. Why do you want to turn a sinking ship around? Remember the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, but certainty. Do I really expect those who follow me to be doubtless about who I Am?

I am afraid of You.

Oh, Jerry, you are so close. Fear and fear. One word that can be bent in two directions. Fight or flight. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.

That has not been my experience.

Think. Remember. Fear has diffused you from entering the pain again. There were times when you let go and allowed your heart to break open to Me. Granted, those times are fewer and farther between. When your mother came to be with me was the last great outlet. Even when you betrayed another your heart didn’t throb under my willing hand of mercy. You brushed off your knees to go it alone.

I’m tired of going it alone. I see those closest to me slipping on their autonomy from You to make sense of this world. Many are scampering to find a coherent whole. Is there such a possibility?

I Am.

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.

Breathtaking

Just above the tree line

wind scrapes and sifts.

I pray for its falling

through to the forest floor

where air crawls low

like a dog’s nose

picking up the scents

of loam.

 

Those pains we shed

which enrich the soil,

and peat our soul.

Thank you for the

ground our feet of clay

impress, that level

Grace we tread

with each breath.

Gratitude and Grace and Truth

In the end I will hand my last breath over to God.

I will assume all previous breaths were my own.

I will claim all beats of heart were an act of my will.

When my toes touched the floor each morning

I take for granted that God let me live another day.

 

In this parenthesis of time, this apparent thesis,

God coaches, God reminds me to take deeper breaths.

God meets me at the edge of my bed and gifts

me with five senses to inhabit his world.

I am gently reminded of the grace I live in.

 

“All is grace,” said Manning.

“Find the grace to lay truth bare,” said Cockburn.

Don’t ask the question and walk away

like Pilate, stay and wait for possibility.

Grace and truth walked among us then.

Please walk with me Jesus and increase my heart rate.

 

John 1:17 (KJV)

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 (KJV)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.