Or, the dis-hinged, dis-connected parts… start to be seen.
A great stone into a lake. The lake splashes… exposing all of the deep connections… and, then the water slops back… once seen, it cannot be unseen. However, it can be forgotten. Obscured by the fog of warring words… Obscured by the splash of a great stone hurled… Obscured by the smoke from all of the fires burning…
People with People…
So, when people are serving and interacting with people… there is a mediation of this stressing. When people, with people see the links exposed and are able to remember…
Remembering to breathe.
Remembering to smile.
Remembering to laugh at the foibles of our shared people-ness.
Remembering to practice pace, form, and care…
People with People.
And, in that moment, people with people… helping people… helping self, soul, system and outcome.
It ain’t much… and it is what I’ve got.
People, laughing… and in the caring laugher, the caring care… the connecting… the rigid hierarchy can flex… with the many links and connections that are people with people.
The mitigation of rigid is flex… and the flexing is the connections of many voices… in song.
“Waking to a sudden realization. Too many front doors. The regulatory layers… each screaming in importance. The ardent voice of each layer… me first, me first… And indeed. For each layer, created to keep something from every happening again. Protecting against death, the potential of death, or the fear of not getting paid. Ardent in protection. Ardent in the authority to serve and protect.
Each layer… a certain capacity. A certain range. A loud voice. A big stick to enforce. Each with a single front door. Created in the clarity of moment… and put in the house of many rooms. For, each layer may be included in a separate wing… and, have its very own front door. Here on the sixth floor… a front door to the greater world… and the stick of enforcement… able to move up and down … even to the ground floor. Where each and every passer by… is enforced… for not seeing the sixth floor front door…
Searching valiantly for a rationalized front door… and, in this moment of morning… understanding the solving is backward. For, the solving creates another ardent layer… A macro vision to a micro community. The micro… so many front doors… behind the macro of door makers, room makers, ardent leadership… keeping safe… this large solving in a sea of micro … and micro in macro… the clarity of … and now the build in a different way. To see the friction between the micro and macro… the opportunity in both and… a gift of a foggy morning.” – Bill Bartels –
Will we suddenly find, that a facility … once created for a critical frame … is now mostly an unused hulk?
Will we, now with a very different set of resources, find that much of what was held as critical is actually … a renewable resource?
Perhaps it is the wrong question. In this midst of so many questions that have put the emphasis on the wrong syllable… (if you say that while doing it… it is much more fun that reading it silently.)
Just as when we lead with the question How and follow with Who, What, Where and When… Leading the other way around … well it creates elements of engagement and enrollment… not just the straw build of How…
Just as when I use scope, scale and context in a bowl called capacity… the framing makes the answers either limited or… complete disconnection from a project.
The whole of the frame… Who, What, Where, When, and How? Scope, Scale, Context and Capacity. Alignment with foundational values and principles… Alignment in …
When a context changes, a capacity changes, a scale changes… a scope changes… is the change engaged and enrolled … or is the old framing defended … made more rigid? Is the system flexible or… made more rigid? Until that rigid frame… can no longer hold… and the whole thing collapses… Then… what button can be pushed?
The heroic journey. Being the hero. As Hero. As Guide.
When the guide comes to the fore, the hero fades. The work of the hero is to be … the hero. The work of the guide is, to engage the journey as well as be in relationship.
Living in a small town. A generous house that allows … music, engagement, a sunny spot to be at the altar in the world.
When we, as an agency, begin to align with hero… we become that which we despise.
When I, in agency, begin to align with hero… I become that which I despise.
When shadow drives my behavior. Suddenly ‘winning’ becomes the goal. The wonder of winning… what is that? That place of being the ‘winner’ in this crazy trek.
I hear the speculative nature of living… It echos in my own and of all of the lives that are now in play. The teams that play at speculation are actually based upon being the house. So, when the house owns the line, the house wins. We are working with and … sometimes being… a huge group of folks who have bought into the game of ‘winning’ the big pot. Believing, in the wonder, that we, all of us, own that pot. Now the pot is turned to what is has been for a long time. A grand speculator scheme… a grand Ponzi. And, the iceberg that is the whole of creation… is slowly turning turtle. An acceleration of the swiftly tilting…
And, we, the investors in that grand scheme… we are in a funny place. The last time we rode this pony, it caused us to re-evaluate. And, since then, there has been something holding the moment. For, that re-evaluation, is now the continuing of … holding place on the turtle turning ice…
I woke … the clarity of mixing up the hero and heroic, the hero leader and guide… One leads a parade. One coaches up and over… This is not a parade of leading. It is a journey of comrades. When the comrades are calling for a hero or … seeking that hero who has show the universal feet of clay… there is the moment. My own clay feet, they are still wet from the morning meditation. Created in the past days… swiftly encasing feet, and even whole leg.
When I am vector, just as each of us is vector… Then there is something even more … Something even more. I don’t get to be both inside and outside. We are all amid. And, when the cacophony of amid, together becomes so loud… then the desire to be outside, away, different, … with and alone… in quietude and safety… and able to dance in the glorious…
To try to be both a fighter jet and a freighter at the same time. To deploy as “both/and” … is to risk something of tearing apart at the seams. The Hero/Guide is neither Hero nor Guide. The Guide is one who practices presence; the guiding in the guiding. A hero is one who stands arrayed in power and light… keeping all around safe. There is the hubris of the moment.
Seeing all of us… all vectors… all transmitters… all receptors… each in-fected; each and all. In this humbling moment. To understand that something even more is come. In that owning the all, comes the wonder of the journey. The trek. Such is the moment. Great and gracious in care. Great and gracious in care.
Funny too, to come slowly awake and be met with the reading of Easter 19. Acts 8:26-40. Funny to have risen this morning in the understanding of mis-step and mis-stake, only to be guided by a reading that created a grand joke… a humor. A wonderful tension that is both/and; just as this being human is both… and…
The wonder of the joke… both… and. Suddenly this day seems … ‘something about this day…’ A gift. In gratitude, a gift.
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
The air smells like the Russian River in summer. The compressed heat, cool for the moment, ready to turn on the after-burners… in a while. In a while. In the yard, the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow blooms in profusion. The Jays play and cavort. Their tilt head look of … “… and what do we have here?” As they dance along my walking route.
The ancient bones of the house gift the upstairs bathroom with the smells of long ago, my youth, as a child visiting the grandparents. Bones that in human years are ancient, in house years are ‘pretty old’, in relationship to all time… a blip… perhaps a half a blip… for the moment, ancient feels a comfort.
Faces and voices zoom down the hall. The office is full of project. The slow recycle of paper, ancient in relation to projects. Twenty five drafts of one chapter of a paper that was written, now four or five years ago… dusted in the filing cabinet. The final paper, part of a public document, a policy document so… it will live in the minutes of a meeting in front of some body… as long as that body is a functioning library of its work… how funny to have stuffed the drafts in a file and … kept, because, well you never know. The knowing that went into the paper has moved far down the river. And, as I was reading the framing from that then, I was and am struck by how far my thinking has come since that day.
Foundations crumble. Those ancient stalwarts who, with voices of thunder, call out importance. Foundations crumble. In the crumbling, so many opportunities to build anew. In the cacophony of the crashing… a path revealed…
Reading again, an old favorite author. A little story of plague. The moments… recognition, standard engagement, a breach of the standard, a collapse of the rigor, sudden emergence of possible path, complete fatigue, demoralization, overt anger and demands for the crumpled frame to provide as advertised…, the ironic turn of phrase that castigates ‘other’, frustrated words of human frailty, demand for help, wailing for help, voices of ‘help thy self’, many voices speaking, many voices shouting, in many corners, graceful care, one, two, three… in overwhelming corners, graceful care… And then, a sunrise where, all is changed and in the sun breaking through the passing storm, those voices, still in great Greek Choir raised… now is the new day. In that new day, a cycle of integration, yet again. This, the great run on… it is not a closure, it is an integration.
When a great strife has painted the whole of the earth… then there, in the cracks, the new integration comes again, and again, and again. The moments… and again.
In the thinking chair, in the black and white… knowing the colors and seeing the great relief in the black and white… now the integration. Changed yet still many voices… Experts humbled, workers raised up, information aplenty… and now, as a symphony… from cacophony, the score invites a conversation. In that conversation, each day, a new integration. Enough. And enough…
Shift happens in a moment. That would be the first moment. Shift happens in many moments; starting with the first moment. If it is a shift that is anticipated… then there are all of the anticipatory moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, even centuries of anticipation. The angst of anticipation.; the binding angst. Then… the pivot, the shift, the moment. All that energy suddenly unbound. The unbinding can be so violent that it also unbinds my own connection to the moment. Blasting across the all of creation. At other moments, the unbinding is as a release of … allowing the prisoner to go free. The opening of the cell door… The new journey actually begun.
Time and passing time happens. The rolling of generation into generation. Moment into moment. Moment into minute, into hour, into year and on and on. That wonder of cycle. Sun rising, sun setting… the seasons: of living, of the year, of the earth, of a star, of all of creation. Leaning into cycle. Leaning into the wonder of a rising sun … the setting sun. The tradition of watching the sunset. The pause… just before the sun eases beyond the horizon… the ‘going, going… gone’. The breath of pause, the prayer and holding up. The thanksgiving for the gift of days. The thanksgiving for …
In each beginning there is an ending. In the anticipation of both beginning and ending, there are moments of wishing to go back. To hold that warm and perfect place of memory that was a… let us do that again moment. The deep desire to hold that moment in all time. Into this wish, this desire, this deep wanting… the grand hook of zero sum comes. The straw hook, reaching into heart and soul to offer the return to Eden. We are far, far east of Eden. The simplicity of options of yes and no are long past. Yet, the offer of return is the siren song of desire, of wanting and of heaven. The thought makes me smile. The movie line… “Is this heaven? No it’s Kansas” (Field of Dreams)
And so… The moment, minute, hour and on; call to my heart this morning. The understanding of call to communion. Communion in the altar in the world. The call to sharing around the well of living water. That water, consecrated in heart, soul and spirit. That water, in sacred cup, passed among all of creation. The deep roots, sharing in woven communion. As a tapestry, woven wisdom.
In the passing of a moment. The passing of a life. The passing of an era. The passing of a someplace. The passing of icon… the phrase, “We will never forget,” is raised up. Yet, in the sands of time, many grains have passed from memory. So, to honor those sands, the foundation stone the builders rejected… now becomes, from the gift of earth, of creation, the new foundation. To welcome new foundation is to make the whole of creation ready to weave anew. This weaving anew happens with each sunrise. So too, with each sunset.
The Dove… a bird signifying peace, rising up, the harmony of… Yet, sold in a space or from a place… the taint of the space or place… does it taint the dove and the dove’s symbol? Does the taint of one set of belief or rule taint every aspect of the rest?
Or, as with all living, is there context?
Is the blanket taint the point?
In this story. The rule of Some rears its shadow large. Just as the care of a one is something that is … beyond.
It is a simple straw argument to say … all. It is so much more nuanced to engage the variation of some of this and some of that… that I could be a bit of this and that… you could be a bit of this and that… and that when it is this… there are some frames … when it is that… there might be different frames.
The rule of Some goes the other way too… application of absolute by some may mean that there is a moment of standing up and saying… not so much.
In this dance, the sun rose this morning. In this dance a few breathed their last. In this dance, the dogs got up, barked, boofed, and took their breakfast. In this dance a song ear worm began its daily work. In this dance lovers cuddled. In this dance couples shared a smile of intimate care. In this dance, cats came for a morning pat, a meal and a purr… In this dance, a day began. War was waged. Environmental damage was wrought. The ice caps melted a bit. Winds of change blew in every place and space… In this dance, creation wove in warp and weft. The tapestry of all creation … on this Sunday of palms… that tapestry of all creation… in the rule of Some… A star is emerging. A star is collapsing… And a rose is blooming … the first of the season. In some places … and in some other places. That taint of … speaks to each in that place of some.
The blessing of sunrise. In humbling gratitude. An ache and yet also a great amen. Here, emerging from the retreat cave… the candle now… joined in the world with the rising sun. Amen, and amen. Amen and amen.
“… and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves.” Matthew 21:12-17
“… ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?…” John 9:18-41
Perhaps in the severing … there is a moment of creating linking.
Perhaps … in the severing, there is the raising up … of the altar in the wide world.
Listening through a reading that my eyes say to my ears… A rationalization through reporting of an application of rules across the entire span of the world. Though the fact patterns of understanding and belief are different across the whole, still, the rule is applied. A set of rigid ‘knowing’ that, when applied … leads to formation of so many levels of shift.
In some places, it just means that those who would not or could not, follow the dictum… will disappear from the ranks of those in company. And so, now outside, will continue a relationship with all creation. The dictum, meant to keep pure, creates another linkage or path… one that creates a new set of relationships. The severing by dictum… creation of yet another set of faith links.
At the same time, reading about the faithful unchurched. A fine writing that talks about the mourning of the passing of a place that was formative… and now … coming to terms in that place of expectant projection that the ‘church’ need not be perfect. It just needs faithful servants. The deep and troubling sense that in a dying community, the plaintive desire to have faithful servants is a teaching of servitude… On is not the other.
Last night, enjoying the monthly men’s club. A throw back of a gathering that has some taint of misogyny… and yet, in the breaking of bread, the sharing of story, the gathering together in a jumble of community… sharing pictures of children, now grown… sharing stories… some are old saws… told so often that there is not a sentence that can be a surprise to most of the listeners… all of this in a gathering of men. The club; growing with added generations. It may not survive another ten years… yet, it is a gift in this moment.
When a narrative is demanded in explanation … sometimes there is something in the demand, the demand that a story become a description of … of a world that makes the listener more comfortable … yet, the narrative … our story, it is of our stones, our partners, our hits, our misses. It is that moment of … just being in a story that is of comfort in the face of … at times, great discomfort.
Walking through the doors of a church that was once home… and is home no more… even when that place is in this, the home town… it is something that appears to be a demand of faith. Yet, the greater altar in the world is a church that invites attendance in every moment.
I neighbor who performed a great service was at dinner last night. I asked if he was going to send me a bill for the service… “Are you kidding,” he replied? “It took me all of 20 minutes.” His gift of twenty minutes saved me hours of anguish. I great and faithful gift of community. A gift of neighbor. A gift of friend. That is my church. Imperfect. Full of mission in community. It is the sunrise. It is the sun set. It is the workplace. It is the mail carrier. It is a political machine working to a greater good. It is the arc of an ending of career, seeking legacy. It is the old order, holding on and making the rules more and more to preserve… It is the dancing of the dogs in the morning and the smile of a small child dancing in the hall outside my office cube. It is the altar of a friend’s son, watching a movie and laughing … twinkling of the eye. It is the sadness at an old friend’s passing. It is the lifting up of a college classmate as a grandchild comes into the world. It is the celebration of parents health and healing in the arc of aging. It is the passing of a year in the life of each child… it is all of these and so, so much more.
I miss the rubric of the service. I miss the comfort of the hymn and the wonder of a reading; read well. I miss the gathering of choir … the preparation of the anthem, the sharing of humor in the loft, the long discussion of a service… planning for a celebration… the wonder of a mass, concluded in silence and reverence… the gathering of children… the crying of a child where the entire congregation breathes comfort to partner parents… raising up this song of living… In the houses that are declared sacred, there seems little room for this lifting up. The easing away of a generation… in sacred sense… there is something … easing away.
This altar in the world is something of a mystery. The altar, constrained in a building is equally so. The dictum of each is the chasm of living both on the mountain top and in the canyon. The valley between is home. As too are the mountain tops. That tithe that is all of what I am, it is given in places of wonder. It is given in small and large … and returned in the same coin. The gift of all creation speaks in the most unusual moments… That place is … a moment of just so. Just so indeed.
And so, in narrative, that story made up… the gift of this dawning day is to muse in a story told and the demand to tell it again. This time, each element of the telling is honored and owned. The best in the moment. In that owning, there is also a sense of permission to celebrate at the altar in the world.
The church… the altar in the world. Amen, and amen.
‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ Mark 8:11-21
Jasmine and Orange Blossoms paint the air with glorious splendor. All around, the signs of spring. Birds singing, the road rumbling with lines of motorcycles, bicycles sweeping by… walkers and dogs all dancing of this morning. The signs are all around. The renewal of … the bursting forth. The leveling up in energy. All around are the signs.
Show us a sign!
And all around, the flashing and wonder of creation sings. In that showing, the blind and deaf are invited to smell, to touch, to dance, to sing… the mute may feel, the … ah, the other question, do you wish to be healed?
That larger question… how will you make me believe?
Into that deep and dark place, all is on creation. The only part I would play is to sit and wonder when the show will begin. The wondering at when the dancing bears will trundle onto the stage… what ring will they trundle into?
All around, signs. In living, in dying, in the breathing in and the wonder of the morning. This morning, surrounded by the bustle of the world, all creation seems to be singing. That deep darkness of thelenten retreat… even there, the light of the candle has broken into the retreat darkness. Broken in and invited an even deeper dive. That soul moment of belief and wonder at all creation.
There is the wonder of this moment. And so … in the blessing of the dance of sunrise… the dance of renewing days… the dance of slumbering moments… the shift of busy to focused and engaged… the priority of … as a choosing… there is this moment.
In humble forgiveness, I to a friend, put off because I was engaged in busy-ness… and first, to prioritize … this lenten moment. The wonder of shared silence from other practice. That small candle; shared between. The lenten retreat… shared between. Even in lifting up in thought, holding in mind, holding in the breathing of all creation. A gift.
So, this moment of light… now shifted as the tapping of wonder has progressed… it is a gift, this renewal and sharing with … in that renewal, a gift. In gratitude, amen and amen.