A prayer for wholeness

God of wholeness,
Father, Son, Spirit,
never lacking or incomplete,
eternally perfect in oneness,
you promised that in the Son,
all things shall be reconciled.

Remind me of my union with you,
always aware of your holy presence
in and around me.
You, O LORD, are never absent,
but I confess that my senses are dulled
by 10,000 distractions.
I want to love you
as you have loved me,
fully and completely and unreservedly.
Let your lovingkindness toward me
ignite my love.

You, O LORD, have filled this world
with those who bear your image
yet each person is uniquely beautiful.
Remove the scales from my eyes
so that I may see with compassion.
Help me to remember that listening is loving
and curiosity is a sacred gift.
To love another is to get dirt on my hands,
just as you did when you formed people
from the dust of the ground.
Whether in agreement or conflict,
let love define me.

As I look inward,
let me see myself as you see me,
not as damaged goods, nor irredeemable,
but as your beloved child
who is infinitely valuable in your eyes.
Let the knowledge of my belovedness
cast aside every doubt I have
about how you see me,
knowing that you cherish me
just as I am right now.

Help me to remember
that when you formed the heavens and the earth,
you called your creation good.
It was full of beauty
and teeming with life,
yet like your people,
your good creation has suffered
the ravages of disintegration.
You have invited me to be a steward of the earth;
let me take up that call with hope and endurance,
remembering that you are reconciling all things.
Grant me the skill
to make good and beautiful things,
remembering that goodness and beauty
are reflections of you.

Where there is hatred, restore compassion
where darkness, light
where confusion, clarity
where where fragmentation, integration
where agitation, peace
where pride, humility
where brokenness, wholeness
and where self-centeredness, love.

A Prescription for Wholeness

Spread kindness like wildfire. Ask questions. Cross bridges. Pick up a piece of trash. Say hello. Say thank you, to God and others. Go for a walk. Make eye contact. Consider the lilies. Mend fences. Plant wildflowers. Sit in the grass and watch a bumblebee—it will teach you there is no need to rush. Pay for someone’s coffee. Bake two loaves of bread. Give one away. Pray for those who belittle you. Be kind to yourself. Shed tears when you are sad. Sing show tunes, preferably with someone else. Draw a tree; even a stick tree will do. Savor an orange. When you are angry, breathe deeply and exhale mercy. Listen to “the gift of a thistle” by James Horner. Visit somewhere new. Light a candle; in fact, light three, or a hundred. Play with a toddler. Drink a cup of tea. Read a poem by Mary Oliver, or perhaps Rumi. Write a letter to someone, with real paper and ink. Send it through the mail. Look for goodness. Celebrate beauty—it is everywhere. Listen with curiosity. Sing loudly in your car. Hold someone’s hand. Pet a dog. Bike to work. Buy original art, anyone local will do. Always stop at a lemonade stand and always overpay. Breathe. Do it again. Do you realize what a miracle it is that you are alive?

Unencumbered

you began your life
unencumbered
breaking into the world
naked and needy
fully dependent

as you grew
you developed a curious mix
of freedom and dependence
you welcomed
creativity and exploration
emotions too
young children express
feelings unmasked

eventually
someone gave you a suitcase
you radiated excitement
because you felt
grown up

they told you
there was plenty of space
to put your anger
your shame
your curiosity
your creativity
so you began packing

as you grew
you kept your case with you
filling it with
dashed hopes
and relational wounds

year by year
your suitcase grew so heavy
that a child could no more move it
than she could lift a boulder
but over time you adapted
because that is what grown ups do

perhaps you will be one of the lucky few
who finally recognizes
that your suitcase
was not an invitation
to greater freedom
but a millstone
shackling you

toss it into the ocean
and step once again
into yourself

Birdsong

I leave my window open
just a crack
just enough to hear
the birds singing in the day.

Their chorus begins in the dark.
Like me,
the sun loves their song
and rises to listen.

Too soon, their melodies
will be silenced
by discordant tones
as the rest of the world gets up
beginning not in song,
but getting their daily briefing
on what to be mad about
who to fear and
who’s to blame.

The birds’ midday silence
makes me sad.
It seems they know my sadness;
they feel it too.

At dusk, as another day closes
the gay melodies
that woke the sun
are quiet.
I hear only
a lone dove mourning
yet another day
when fear and hate prevailed.

Tomorrow
Tomorrow we will do it again,
for we choose not to live
as those who have no hope.

Awakening to Wholeness

I put this together for the #SpinePoemChallenge.

The heart aroused
grace awakening
here and now
catching fire
becoming flame.

Now what?
Be still, my soul.

Finding quiet, aware…
silence
…silence and beauty
the sacrament of the present moment.

Contented soul
everything belongs
becoming human…whole.

All shall be well.

Still our hearts, Lord

God of hope,
our world seems hopeless.
An unseen enemy assaults us,
emptying our streets,
yet filling us with anxiety.

We have no mooring, no anchor.
We ride white-capped waves
in small vessels
that were never meant
to weather these storms.

Our stockpiles dwindle,
but we cannot see the shore.
We lash ourselves to the mast
and pray we do not capsize.

Our prayers are groans
and tears
and tumbling thoughts.

Many of us hope for the light to break through,
but all we see is darkness.
We don’t even know where to look.
Our darting eyes betray our anxious hearts.

Still our hearts, O Lord,
Still our hearts.

At First Light

A reflection on Psalm 65 from my book Soil of the Divine.

Birds at first light

tune their voices

offering melodious praise,

not one holding back.

They loudly welcome the dawn,

in awe of God‘s handiwork.

“‘Tis just instinct,”

you say,

“pre-programmed

animal behavior.

Nothing more.”

But perhaps

they do not suppress

their instinct to worship

in the same way

that so many people do.

The meadows clothed themselves with flocks, the valleys decked themselves with grain, they shout and saying together for joy. Psalm 65:13

Paper Love

Love sounds good
on paper
but paper love
is too easily
crumpled, torn, and burned.

True love
comes from
a more primitive place
not bright white smoothness
eight point five by eleven,
but from an ancient seed
blown to the ground
and buried in death
that transforms into
something greater
Always reaching for the light,
though daily assailed
by gales
or scorching sun
Perhaps not comforting,
but necessary.