Archive for March, 2009

AWE – plus 33 – Tuesday

Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

My brother (one year younger than I) had surgery yesterday, and I haven’t heard from him or his wife, so this phrase stops me for a moment.

Beyond that, I don’t really have much to say.  But that often means I may be stuck in literalism, I may be taking things too literally, thinking too literally.  That’s a constant danger for me, in our culture.

We are all living under a death sentence, so “my brother” will die at some point, as will I.  And I suppose the only real miracle that I believe in is the miracle of this moment — my being alive (and at least semi-conscious) in this moment, and then this one too, pondering the immense mystery that is our lives in this universe.  Each moment is a gift beyond measure, beyond explanation, beyond every thought we can ever muster, isn’t it?


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AWE – plus 32 – Monday

It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is useless.

Well, on a day when my brother is having surgery on the west coast and I just had a minuscule bump taken off my lip on the east coast, this downgrading of the world of the flesh probably finds a more welcome reception than it might on another day!  My spirit (and thankfully my flesh) are still alive and kicking, even as the local anesthetic wears off!

I’m not sure I understand much about the spirit and the flesh.  I suppose I tend to think of them really as interconnected, at least initially, in that they start together, and each in some way embodies (and gives life to) the other.  What happens later, when the flesh withers?  I haven’t the foggiest notion, although I like to think that I carry (and now embody and express) a bit of the spirit of the folks whom I have known and loved, but who have died (e.g., my father, my mother-in-law, various friends).

And I suppose I want to tip my hat to the miracle and gift of good health, since many in this world don’t have this, to acknowledge that I couldn’t even wonder or worry or write about the spirit unless I had the phenomonal gift of a reasonably healthy body.  So, here’s to our hearts and hands and feet!

May they carry and express the best of those “holy spirits” whom we have known, and who are wafting in our midst.

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AWE – plus 31 – Sunday

Today’s reading speaks of how readily we may undertake the more difficult tasks, yet how frequently we balk or flounder at the simpler tasks.

This prompts me to think of how often we/I make things more complicated than they are, or than they need to be.  With all of our high-minded post graduate degrees, with all our rationalistic analytical cerebrating, we can fly to the moon, but seem to have trouble loving our neighbors.

I don’t mean to disparage or undervalue our moon shot — in fact I think it’s absolutely fantastic, the culmination of centuries of human curiousity, wonder, learning and team work.  And a somewhat unexpected by product (from the Apollo pictures of the earth) was a quantum change in the way we looked at and thought about our life on this good earth.  No small task, indeed.

And, at the same time, here we are, still mystified and challenged by our human propensity to MISS (Make It Super Sophisticated) rather than to KISS (Keep It Simple Saviors — see prior blog entry).

Even with all our convoluted cerebral contortions, may we take one small — no, make that GIANT — one giant leap for humankind?  And

Let love be our guide.  Let love be in us.  Let love be us.  Let love be.

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AWE – plus 30! – Saturday

“Listen and . . . .”

Listen and . . . well, listen, and, then, listen some more, and, yup, I would do well to keep on LISTENING.

The next word in the reading is “understand” (i.e., “listen and understand”), but I can’t begin to understand much of anything without first spending a lot more time on the “listening” part.  And probably it’s better if I just stay there, listening, pondering, wondering, asking questions, and generally being perplexed.

As someone said, “Sell cleverness.  Buy bewilderment.”  I like that.

And yes, as the rest of the reading notes, isn’t it what comes out of us that runs the risk of defiling others, not what comes into us?

Isn’t it those categorical statements, those generalizations, those snap judgments, or even those “well reasoned and considered judgments” that can defile us?  Who am I to judge another (at least in any moral sense)?  Who am I to understand another?  It’s the “answers,” not the questions, that kill us, that start wars, that fuel discontent, that trash our hearts and souls.

I’ll try to stay with listening, . . . and pondering,  . . . and wondering.

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AWE – plus 29 – Friday

What we may have here is an important moment of self-discovery . . . .

With the reading, and even more with the amplifying commentary, we are invited to enter (and to enter-tain) that sense of “I am human,” and that sense of daily down-to-earthness, which infuses all of our (human) beings and all of our (earthly) actions, including the reported being and action of our friend Jesus.

As much as our Western, rationalistic, analytical, we-can-do-anything, soaring, aspirational, fly-to-the-moon mindset would like to place us in the “spiritual heavens,” too often (in fact probably most of the time) it leaves us feeling ungrounded and with our head in the clouds.  We forget that we are “of and from the earth.”  We forget that we are imperfect, that we are “works in progress.”  We forget that evolution is okay, and not only okay, but it is happening and it is the only way, each day, as we explore and extend our consciousness and our hearts, first downward and inward — then that takes us upward and outward, from a secure connection with the God of heaven and earth, of inside and outside.

Hey, if slow food is okay, why not slow learning?!

As the German poet Rilke said, “Resolve always to be a beginner.”

Heavenly, and divine.

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The reading today is about a man who is deaf and does not speak (mute), and who, by Jesus’ caring interaction, is opened to a life beyond this condition.

I get a daily email from gratefulness.org that has a “Word for the Day”, which is a quote from someone, and the theme is always related to gratefulness.  The quote I received today is from Helen Keller, a woman who was born as a deaf mute, and who was also blind.  Similarly, she, with the help of a more recent “miracle worker,” learned first to recognize and speak the name of water (“wawa”).  She went on to live an amazingly gifted and productive life.  Her quoted words are:

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.

Helen Keller

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Awe – plus 27 – Wednesday

Wow, can you believe it’s been 4 weeks since Ash Wednesday?

Forgive.  Forgivable.  Forgiving.  Forgiven.

That seems to be the stuff of today’s reading.  And isn’t “forgiving ourselves” probably the heart of it in some way, if those two words have any meaning?

As the saying goes, “Happiness is an inside job.”  And don’t we always see the world through our very own brand of non-removable rose (or smoky) colored glasses?

If we feel “off the path” (and that is the root meaning of “sin”), it’s usually because we feel “off the path,” and we think other people think or see us as being “off the path.”  We don’t really know what they think or see, but the reality (of what we think they think or see) is the reality in which we live.

There is that little (or big) nagging voice or ache inside our heads and hearts (e.g., I am not good enough; I could have done it better; I should have done it better; why can’t I help myself?; I keep screwing it up, often the same way each time; oh, these obnoxious recurring patterns; and now, eee-gads, it’s pretty much public knowledge — I can’t believe it!, etc.).

Enter:  God (or whatever you choose to call that which is known by many names but which is beyond our knowing and our naming), who, like our friendly 800 pound gorilla, has infinitely broad shoulders and an infinitely welcoming and comforting lap.

Did I say “Enter”?  Ooops, no “entry” was needed, since the shoulders and the lap are with us (in us, around us) all the time.  (Emmanuel = god with us.)  Sometimes I just forget or seem not to notice, but voilà, I turn around, I turn it over (my nagging voice), placing it on God’s shoulders, and I fall into that deep embracing lap.  The ultimate, comfortable place to be.

And then, maybe there is a lot of “joy in heaven,” right here in this heaven on earth.

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