Limit

         Jacob was left alone;
         and a man wrestled with him
                  until daybreak.

                                    —Genesis 32.24

You and your angel
are perfectly matched,
         neither winning nor losing.

It doesn’t matter
with what or whom you wrestle;
         you have to wrestle.

You have to be brought
to the limit of your power
         to know, beyond it, God’s.

You and God cheek to cheek,
that’s when the blessing comes,
         the letting go, and you limp free.

You still have to face your troubles,
but the hard part is over.
         You’re already blessed.

                           —August 4, 2017
 

Angel wrestling


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         Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak…
         Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’
         But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ 

                  —Genesis 32.24, 26

The angels you’ll have to wrestle with most often
are no strangers:
they’re your anger, fear, control, defensiveness,
your despair, blame, insecurity, avoidance.
You won’t get away without a fight.

They may also be God’s forgiveness,
the Beloved’s absolute acceptance,
God’s serenity in the face of your betrayal,
God’s accompaniment in your troubles.
You won’t accept them without a fight.

You’re not wrestling with what’s happening;
you’re wrestling with your feelings about it:
not the problem but its difficulty,
not the suffering but how you take it personally.
The angels are not your world, but your self.

So wrestle. Grab them firmly.
Feel their breath on your neck,
their body against yours,
the weight of their intent.
Let your sweat mingle.

Learn their moves.
They’re your sparring partner,
not out to destroy you
but to shove you into the face of God.

Who knew divine intimacy
could be so hard?
 

                                ―August 3, 2017

Feed them

         The disciples came to him and said,
         “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late;
         send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages
         and buy food for themselves.”
         Jesus said to them, “They need not go away;
         you give them something to eat.”

                  —Matthew 14.15-16

You want to send them away,
the moment’s multitudes,
demands that throng,
the insurmountable.
You do—don’t you sometimes?—
want to send them away.

You want to send away the crowds, the others
whom you can—can’t you?—ignore.
But you are to feed them.
You are here for their sake.

Where does that voice come from
that says, “Hopeless,”
that says, “The vault of God is empty?”
It is not from the Beloved.

The universe branches out in you.
Unseen as the salt of the ocean, the heat of the day,
the power of God looms inside the air before you,
abides in your seemingly empty hands.
Open them.
You can channel the abundance of God.

You are a door.
You can trust, though you can hardly imagine,
what lies behind you.

___________________
Weather Report

Profusion,
as your own narrows
give way to the broad sky of grace.

                                     ―August 2, 2017

Don’t let go- yet

          Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
          When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob,
          he struck him on the hip socket;
          and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
          Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.”
           Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

                  —Genesis 32.24-26

The pain, the problem, the struggle,
the wound, the weakness, the “disability”—
don’t let it go until you have found the blessing.

The thing you hate:
your hate is a way of hanging on—
because it still has something for you,
a new birth it is trying to give you.

The angel is usually not out there,
but within.
(Remember you’re not wrestling with tragedy,
you’re wrestling with God.
Though every loss is a lesson,
God does not assign pedagogical tragedy.)
The awful event, the terrible loss,
the insult or injustice you’ve suffered,
is not likely a blessing,
but there is one there.
Watch how you resist it,
and learn instead.
Don’t seek the fight; seek the blessing.
You can’t forget, move on, grow up,
you can’t get wise
until you have sought and gotten the blessing.

In that moment your suffering will re-name you
and walk away.

Let the crowd’s hunger be an opening for grace
and the loaves and fish will multiply.

Don’t let go
till you get the blessing.

                                                ―August 1, 2017