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.

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.

Yard Lines or Riding the Pine

What if each day was a first down

and each conversation a well executed play?

What if forgiveness was called up

like a third string quarterback

and offences were pigskins

with strings attached?

What if what we said

we didn’t mean it,

and if we said we didn’t mean it

everything would be as it was

in the beginning.

No flags thrown.

There would be no riding the pine,

sitting like a judge on the bench.

There would be plays

and grass would be uprooted

and sweat would mix with the dirt.

Spittle would be placed over the speck

in our eyes and we would no longer walk the plank.

What if we were on the same team again

and offense wouldn’t be against each other

and our only defense would be ours, together?

The plays called again from the sideline

and we huddle-up, arms over shoulders.

We are in the back yard lines

set on scrimmage like boys with grass stains

and SpaghettiOs and hot dogs would

sit warm in our super bowls.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” The Message

 

 

Mercy Morning; Fresh Light

Caps of cumulus grab the first light

and float like golden vanilla scoops.

Blue grey fitted sheets crawl

beneath the infusion of pastels.

The sun brush strokes a new day.

 

When I close my eyes the leaves,

combed with cooler breezes,

mimic waves from Lake Michigan.

The blue noise settles my soul

and I receive this gift of Another.

 

*

 

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,

‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

Lamentations 3:22-24 The New King James Bible