The Time-in-Between

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‘Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.’
(C.S. Lewis)

On this early morning of Holy Thursday, I consider the disciples scattered in shock and fear. That group of followers – friends – who hung in the balance. What they had believed in and hoped for was shattered as their great teacher and Lord lay dead in a tomb. What they would come to believe and give their own lives for had not yet been revealed.
Hanging in the balance, these ordinary people were preparing for extraordinary destinies.

my prayer for today…

In these hours of piercing silence, may we remember people who have no voice, no peace, no safe place to make their home.
In this time of vigil, may we offer prayer and compassion for people who always live in time-in-between, never knowing what the next day will bring.
My prayers are offered for all saddened by loss and fearful of the unknown.
It is difficult to spend these hushed hours with little light and no song of joy, may my heart be filled with awe for people who live this way, always.
In this time of waiting, I pray for a sunrise bright with light and hope for all who live in darkness.

To follow and lead…

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It is the early morning of Palm Sunday. Believing in the God of creation, we come to this day knowing how Jesus’ time on earth brought hope and promise to the depressed, the sick and outcast. Through his life and actions we learn that God’s kingdom is among us. Heavens doors are open wide awaiting a time future. Yet that kingdom is also here, in this place and moment.
This day begins a week filled with mystery. Sometimes we enter Holy Week with clear focus on the direction we are to take and other times we move one foot in front of the other with little sense of where we are to go next. Yet forward we go, the path only known through our relationship with an ever creating God.
God incarnate came among us. Our call to follow is filled with inspiration and instinct. From this Sunday onward we learn not only about the cost of following but also the call to lead.
The dance to follow and lead is found throughout nature. God’s creation is filled with movement and relationship. May we be inspired to move through this week renewed with the steps of a follower and given the insight of a leader.
May we trust the Spirit to move us swiftly and with confidence. May we take our inspiration from nature which knows how to lead and follow with grace and purpose.

Murmuration- a flock of starlings – On Being

The Presence of Love

20140404-092552.jpg When we persevere with the help of a gentle discipline, we slowly come to hear the still, small voice and to feel the delicate breeze, and so to come to know the presence of Love.

Henri Nouwen

these 40 days of Lent are often saturated with the sounds of discipline. I listen to the spiritual practices being exercised by friends and mentors with some intimidation.

Beginning with all good intentions it does not take long before my daily routine is scrambled and I begin to feel frustrations rise. if this spiritual practice is not exercised as it was designed is it cancelled? do I discard my whole plan because I missed a couple of days? I hear wise voices offer support and encouragement, reminding me that part of the practice is the journey. each one of these 40 days presents opportunities to learn and grow. if the unique routine of the holy season becomes the driving force then what might I be missing along the way?

good question! the path taken these 40 days is not smooth nor straight. that is the way to Jerusalem. deep in our faith story we know the road, itself, brings enlightenment and challenges.

instead of believing that without the perfect practice the journey is cancelled, I listen to Henri Nouwen’s reflection with gratitude. to persevere with the help of a gentle discipline the presence of love can be known. his words are welcome. there is no promise of an easier journey within Nouwen’s reflection but the thoughts of failing my Lenten practice begin to disappear.

these are 40 long days. may we all be encouraged and stay alert to welcome the presence of love. >

Again, Hope

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Never lose hope, my heart, miracles well in the invisible.
Rumi

 

i offer these words to everyone touched by the tragedy at Fort Hood. we are all touched – exhausted, troubled, and confused.

reaching out, our fingers stretched from the farthest point of our arms, we grasp for hope. no answer for ‘why’, what can we do? together, we can find ways to comfort the grieved and we can search the invisible for the smallest seeds of hope.

Dreams

IMG_0890Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go.
Louise Driscoll

 

Awake at 4:30am, I wonder what has stirred me?

These past weeks I trained several new caregivers. Many hours have been spent sharing personal details and staying very alert to our every move. This type of training is much like dancing – together we learn the steps and build the trust needed to lead and follow.

Then there is the introduction to my life. Where is my family? Why did I move to Asheville? Do I like to shop, read books, watch tv… Questions begin to slow when I explain my vocation — an Episcopal priest, where I have lived — from the East Coast to the West Coast, my  schedule — time for quiet, prayer, writing projects, workshops and meeting friends for food and fun. Most caregivers are not accustomed to working with folks like me, active people who live with a disability. It takes a while to get oriented. My job– to be patient. Be patient and remember to protect the space for my dreams.

I have a dear friend who once asked how I managed to have any privacy and time for myself. She watched my life as it always seemed filled with people. People, who by necessity, must be in my rooms and touch many of my belongings. She could not imagine how I might find a way to have private time and space. “No one caregiver knows everything about me.”, I replied. “Somehow I am able to create a space that allows for privacy and solitude.”

This is not to say that finding private time is easy. And so I return to my opening question:

Awake at 4:30, I wonder what has stirred me? It is my alarm for peaceful time alone. When most of the world still sleeps, I awaken ready to revisit my dreams. My eyes open to discover a moment when images and ideas can rise to the surface and find expression.

This time is never taken for granted.  It has to be honored. All of the people who assist me with the details of my daily life rely on my ability to find these moments. It is time to remember my dreams and find ways to bring them to life.

I welcome this opportunity and give thanks for a new day.