Narrative Riptide and Shifting Tides

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Listening to the narrative of so many. Voices speaking in the best and of ways … the life experience of so much narrative. Tides running this way and that… Rolling over, pulling under… the twisting rip of tide. A story made up for me … then a narrative of life experience as lived. The two, at times as a rip across a rising or receding tide.

Waking one morning, butt in chair, writing. Writing as a spilling waterfall. The fingers dancing over the keys and, as water, filling up and spilling over. Pouring as story. Pouring in narrative. Pouring down the steep mountain side and splashing in the rising and receding sea.IMG_8081

That same sea, slow tide rising, slow tide receding. In cycle with moon and sun… in cycle with spinning earth. Caps melting. Caps forming… a different sequence of tide. Belching gases… increase and decrease tide. The livingness of all creation… in pulse of tide. This sea narrative. This belching narrative. This caps forming and caps melting narrative. The heat of the air… making of a blast in storm… yet another narrative. A child born… a narrative. A dying down … another narrative. The experience of this or that… each a narrative. These tides of narrative… rip, and shift…

An image of sudden taking up. The story, laid down in years of telling. Suddenly in a living person, taken up. No longera story told … this moment a story lived. That narrative taken up. In the rising tide of taken up…

So, in this musing, the narrative of a breath taken. The narrative of a breath let out. The beating heart. The ticking clock… each sweep… another narrative. And all, the cacophony…

Should. Would. Could. In this moment, the still small voice speaks yes/and. A hand offered. A greeting of morning. A moment of uplifting as the altar of the world is in view. A prayer. A blessing. A giving of thanks. In these narratives… each a short story … a poem in a greater and lesser tide…

So the laying down and the taking up… in a moment of humble muse… the tides are calmed and run along in grand dance. In grand dance… even the rip is of a rising and receding tide. A rising and a receding… as a song, a psalm, a prayer… in still small voice. In a living moment. In all creation. Amen.IMG_8048

Lent 36

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.” John 10:1-18

Invitation; the altar in the world

IMG_8064“… ‘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.IMG_8058

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.IMG_8061

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.IMG_8047

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.IMG_8032

The putter of renewal

04-07-19 A ripple in the linkage across all creation

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Of evening…

Sleep was filled with disjointed dreams. Dreams of connections, apparent; yet falling away as if a stage falling away from a speeding rocket. Spent and falling away. In olden times, that stage would then fall to the earth and be sunk in the sea as fodder from the sky. These days… the stage is landed and reused… sometimes.

We are in a time of sometimes. That transition of a from what to a to what… That wonder of links apparently broken and yet linked in so many ways … the falling away, in so many cases actually moving to a set of other links.

When the connection is all to … me; the shift is a wild pulling and tearing. Wild, at times painful and always a challenge. In the renewal this spring, of so many parts of my immediate world… that tearing and reconnecting is strong. The renewal of the plumbing. The renewal of the water system. The renewal of … each aspect of … means a tearing out and then a building back in. The opening of space to allow replacing, renewing, and finding path. The discerning of connections that worked at one time and now, with shift, no longer flow. In that discerning. … In that discerning there is an awakening to opportunity. Seeing what appeared sacred in a new set of ways. Just so… learning something beyond. That place of … It is a great and gracious moment. This wonder… indeed.

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Beware of the dogs…

Feeling the work of the pulling and pushing… In yesterday’s renewal of space of tank house and garage. That making anew.

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A working space…

Now it is morning… actually, moving quickly to afternoon…

And the gratefulness of yesterday’s work, into today’s putter. The wonder of… just sitting in this moment. That is enough. In grateful moment… enough.

… last moment… last day

04-03-19 … the last day.

IMG_8007Lent 29

“… but raise it up on the last day.” John 6 27-40

There are things which make me smile each moment when I think of them. Some, pretty things. Some not so pretty things. Some, shared moments with beloved L, N, H, M, SS, friends, lovers, kin, nature, immediate family, the music, the whole of creation, … all across the board. Some, just a passing breath, the rising of the sun, a breaking of a wave, holding a child, sitting with the dying, … Then there are the moments where, for that moment, time seemed of seems to stop. Held in forever … a snapshot… and yet, even those memory moments pass away.

It was a long time to hold this set of foundational smiles… That place of … just holding IMG_8009and in the holding, to realize that there are no magic moments… each moment is filled with all creation. Even those moments of missing the mark.

And, in the missing, there is a set of next steps… that place of … just sitting in moment. It, so many times, it is not silent. It is filled with the dancing roar of all creation. … perhaps even the dancing roar of a still small voice… in that all creation.

To be invited in… to that voice, those arms, that eagle’s wing, that sun-rise, that setting and dimming of the day… in the arc of a breath… The awe and blessing of the two mountain ranges in our valley… those who speak across and yet may never meet… Yet, yet are met by the valley crossing between… the whole fabric of earth… a connection. In fluid motion upon the sea of all of the rest of earth. A vision of rising to towering mountain… yet, fluid in the flow of an ever shifting creation.

At the rising… a first day. At the setting… the dimming and the last moment of a last day. And each moment between… a last moment. A last moment and a first moment.

IMG_8008This is not a house with doors … it is a home with many rooms. This is not a house to be possessed… it is a home to come into. It is a warm hearth … the cracking fire… warm and inviting. In the heat, in a loss, in a shift… in a dying down… it is a hearth of comfort. Even when the hearth is … only in minds eye, in a last flicker of the day… in a lenten candle, lighting the retreat cave with … a sudden light in darkness.

For years… this place was a supposed to journey. In this set of last days… it is a welcoming home place. The doors… barely hung… now swing wide in welcome moment.

That place of last to first. That a last breath in one place dances to first breath in that place in renewed dance.

That blessing of closed eyes that open in … in link, in love, in care, in … every moment of the whole of creation. Such grace in the whole of creation. Picking up a mess… in honor of the whole of creation. In the bird song… amen, amen, amen.

How did … when did?

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04-02-19 The crisp chill of morning.

The morning light … a surprise lays on the edge of the field. A great branch, clipped by the tractor, fallen from the tree… That sudden sense of … how did you come here? When did you come here? The great tracks leading both up to and away… yet, the branch, fallen to the ground, a surprise. The whole of the view is shifted for the opened area of the sky.

The ardent question. When did you come here? The whole of creation, has been here the whole time. When did the sudden seeing happen? To wake to that which has always been. That sudden awareness of the whole of … And then, once seen, not a possibility of unseeing.

This seeing or the breath; it is a gift of this morning. The sudden and always… come to a moment and breaking, as the sun rise, over all awareness.

With care. With blessing. With awe.IMG_7995

Give us a sign…

03-31-19 The height of spring?

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‘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?IMG_7934

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.IMG_7978

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.