Clouds, wispy, whimsical,
say “Take yourself lightly.”
This is not a sign.
Cumulus cauliflowers burgeon,
gaudy proscenium for the sun’s high drama,
but don’t call them beautiful. Just watch.
Now a heavy layer the color of the underside
of everything paves your sky. Don’t judge.
Ah, clouds teach like nothing else
to renounce and enjoy,
to be present and let go,
to let it be, to let it be.
as snow flies, storms pass,
clouds lift, winds move on,
and still there is weather,
continuing until late evening,
when there is weather.
August 31, 2021
“Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
From the slime that’s been slung,
through the epithet thicket,
through the tangle of shouldn’t
and couldn’t and can’t,
with love and guts and feist
she rises up, not with a desperate plea
but simply knowing more, for the moment,
than Jesus does of what is possible,
and what is right.
She names the slight, slingshots the slur,
paints the gallows, exposes the lie—
and claims her human place.
And Jesus learns a thing or two,
about her, about those pagans,
about himself. About grace.
It’s not Jesus who does the miracle. She does.
The power is in her faith in herself, and her daughter,
and their place in the house of grace.
The healing is in her her rising up.
And you, sister: what have you been called?
What table have you been shoved under?
What crumbs are yours, that will multiply
like loaves and fishes?
August 30, 2021
I’m having a great time here. I know how bad it is when you feel I’m far away, especially when times are rough. l see the headlines from where you are: wars, fires, disease, hatred, all that—and sometimes you yourself are in a hard place. But listen. I’m not “away.” I’m there. Are you breathing? Is there light? Is there gravity? That’s me. Is there even a little bit of love? That’s me. I’m with you. I’m there for you. Always. Unseen, but never letting go, right here. Keep the faith.
August 27, 2021
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift,
is from above, coming down from the Womb of lights.
God, help me remember today
that I am holy;
that you have chosen me as a vessel for your grace.
Let me spend my time and energy
as a holy person would,
whether in great deeds or humble drudgery.
Let every act be sacred,
every moment be a flowing of your good gifts.
May your light be born in me.
August 26, 2021
Night comes, hooded, to claim us.
The tide of darkness rises,
gathers us into her skirts,
folds everything into her arms,
the houses, the sleepers in the houses,
the flowers all turned black.
The thickness of the dark
is the thickness of forgetting, of dying.
The light that shines in the darkness, it too is dark,
and perfectly still.
But then night forgets its secrecy,
darkness slips back into itself.
Light wakens slowly in the next room.
Houses come back to us like shadows of shadows,
then smudges, then dark clouds,
then islands rising from the sea, then houses.
The gardens reconstitute themselves,
the flowers each where they were,
the trees in their places.
One by one we rise from the grave of sleep,
wake into our lives again,
and here we are—amazing!—
everything restored again,
the same as it was,
but for some unknowable effect
of having passed through those regions,
of having been brought out.
August 25, 2021
of all the things
you were supposed to have loved,
everyone you should have cherished,
even in clamped and fractured times
someone who believed in you,
the little thing one might have been grateful for,
everything you missed…
It’s a long parade.
It ends the moment you enter it.
the air heavy with possibility
under a cumulus of blessings.
At lower levels obscuring fog will persist;
at higher levels wonder will give way to gratitude,
the winds of fortune loaded
with more grace than you can absorb,
though the wise will try.
August 24, 2021
Whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile.
It is what comes out of a person that defiles
—Mark 7.18, 20
Ignore the things that befall you,
what people do to you—
these are nothing.
The Beloved really doesn’t believe
what they say about you.
Attend to what comes out of you:
is it love and honor
or something else,
self-regard or self-loathing,
loveliness or ugliness?
The Beloved has planted a beautiful rose in you,
and expects it to come up and blossom
even through the manure.
August 23, 2021
Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Holy One.
A cloud filled the house of the Holy One,
so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud;
for the glory of the Holy One filled the house of God.
Then Solomon said, “God, you have said you would dwell in thick darkness.”
—from 1 Kings 8.6-12
It is not all brightness and light.
The cloud of God is dark, and we cannot see.
God is all love and mostly mystery,
without clarity, without certainty.
We live with that.
The darkness, children, is blessed.
In that unknowing, in that unsayable truth,
burns the heart of What Is.
We gaze into the dark glory,
not to wish it bright,
but to learn to trust the dark.
August 20, 2021
Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers of this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil.
When you fight the devil with the devil’s weapons
you have joined his side.
Our struggle is not against violent people
but against violence.
Our struggle is not against people at all,
even the most evil ones,
but against the evil itself, that old ruler,
which clenches our hearts as well as theirs.
Our struggle is against systems and structures,
the powers that dehumanize people and diminish life,
the spiritual forces we’ve ingested,
the authorities we’ve knelt to.
We are rebelling against our own masters.
To vanquish the conquerors
we must vanquish our desire to conquer.
Before we are victorious we must become free.
August 19, 2021
How lovely is your dwelling place, O God!
Even the sparrow finds a home at your altars.
—Psalm 84.1, 3
You, small and ordinary,
have a place.
fragile and minor, belong.
You, sparrow on the sidewalk,
chipping at the smallest seeds,
the color of waste, the color of forgetfulness,
skitting under the bush
to avoid being stepped on,
you, bird on the wing, nestless—
you, my little refugee,
you, precious, are welcomed
here in the Holy of Holies,
in the heaven of my heart.
Come, Beloved; nestle.
August 18, 2021