Sounds Of Earth & Clay

"The sounds of earth and clay, the sounds of water: the senses of the open-hearted hear them." - Rumi

"Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" - Psalm (NIV)

I am body-tired and world-weary.
Muscles have atrophied.
I sleep in fits.
I wake with groaning.
The daylight blurs and fades.
   The skies are bright and blue.
   Crisp autumn air.
   Distant construction rumbling through walls.
   The rushing wind-sheer of passing cars.
It is a fight - a constant collision - to keep an open heart.
To give without expecting.
To be patient without criticizing.
To love without keeping count.
   It is in my nature to want to leave the places I land.
   How long should the migrating bird remain
      resting on the telephone wire?
   (How long should I share my burdens?)
      Each moment the winter wind waxes, 
      your heart’s door closes.
My cold hands.
This lowly fate.
      I hear and feel and taste
      nature’s steadfast songs.
You are here.
Lingering in lilacs.
Caressing the cold.
Surrounding the sunlight.
Mingling with the moon.
   (Passing through this poverty.
    Harboring heartache and healing.)
You are here.
And You know each particle of passing passion.
You hear each humble hallowed howl.
       Forgive my sins.
       Make right my paths.
       Lead me to a life everlasting.
       Thine is the glory.
       Amen.

Ceaseless Intent

”[…] if thou wilt stand and not fall, cease never in thine intent [….]” -The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Each door and wall announces, ‘I am bright. I have nobody else’s ray, it’s me.’" - Rumi

"For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants." - Psalm (NIV)

(written several months ago)

Your light illuminates the doors and hallways of my life.
Your fire kindles the hearth and warms the passageways of my heart.

I am far from perfect.
Yet I love You.

I am struggling to find a sustainable way forward.
You know my needs.
Please continue to give me clear direction.
Please connect me with the career You would have me do.
Please provide the means to care for and strengthen my loved ones.
Please establish the works of my hands.

It’s been six months without steady work.
I’ve experienced many blessings during this time;
   but, I can’t lie and say it’s been easy.

Setback after setback.
An intermingling of successes and failures.

Merciful Father, please provide a sustainable fulfilling career.
In Your bounty,
   please provide the money,
      insight,
         wisdom,
            fortitude and
               compassion
   to fulfill Your will in my life.

I don’t know what to do.
       I love You,
       Amen.

Borrowed Light

"Surely he that seeketh God perfectly, he will not rest him finally in the remembrance of any angel or saint that is in Heaven." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Though iron glows red, it is not red itself - it is the borrowed ray from something burning." - Rumi

"My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty [….]" - Psalm (NIV)

The light of my soul is Your light.
The strength of my being is Your strength.
The joy of my life is Your joy.

When I breathe I speak Your name.

I see You and the many reflections of You
   in these moments.
Peace within struggle.
Light within storm.
Where love and sorrow meet.
(Sit in stillness. Sing.)

Radiate Your light from deep within me.
Resonate Your song from the wellspring of my being.
       There is no “I” but the “I” within “You.”
       Amen.

The Shattered Mirror

”[…] clear sight shall never man have here in this life [….]” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Do not admire yourself; don’t rake up dust." - Rumi

"Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." - Psalm (NIV)

It is easy to fall into the trap of vanity.
The world is a mirror.
A mirror should not be your world.

Many hazy reflections arise
   in that space between myself and God.

Many tears are shed
   over shattered illusions.

   You break every barrier down.
   You shatter my illusory world.
   You burst through my false truths.

Sit with me awhile, because I love You,
   and I take joy in Your presence.
       Amen.

The Builder’s Labor

”[…] love may reach to God in this life, but not knowing.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"You who love forgiveness, forgive us, O healer of the pain [….]" - Rumi

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." - Psalm (NIV)

Forgive my poor decisions.
Thank You for Your providence and kindness.
   Teach me the architecture
   of the life You’d have me build.
You know the real and earnest debts I must pay.
   Please provide the means to right livelihood.
You know the fits and talents You’ve given me.
   Grant me wisdom and insight to their use.
You know the struggles I face.
   Don’t let my struggling be in vain.

You are my strength and my light.
Thank You for Your continuing grace.
Thank You for Your loving kindness.
       I love You,
       Amen.

The Hue

"But in the higher part of contemplative life, a man is above himself and under his God." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"The risen barrier has the hue of space - he does not know it belongs to Fate." - Rumi

"I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in Heaven." - Psalm (NIV)

The days shorten in small increments.
The shadows grow long.
Our summer trees -  
   having absorbed their sun -
      take on its hues
         of yellow, orange and red.
The moment they reflect
   the bright colors of their light,
      they wither, fall and perish.
Is it pride that makes them
   want to clothe themselves
      in the colors of the sun?
(the trees reach ever higher)
I come from the pinnacles of ponderosas.
"Ponder anew"
   when their needles turn orange
      it is the sign of sickness and infestation.
Is it too bold to want to become more like You?

I will continue to grow 
   in the direction of Your light.
Whether cloud or veiled night
   keep me from seeing You clearly.
Please lift these fated chains
   keeping me tethered
      to suffering.
       Amen.

These Streams, These Needs

"Active life is troubled and travailed about many things; but contemplative sitteth in peace with one thing." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Who can make pure the streams that are ourselves? Our knowledge is dependent on God’s knowledge." - Rumi

"Sustain me according to your promise and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed." - Psalm (NIV)

(written several months ago)

This week the murky shadows and
   miasma of depression have been strong.
Putting more water in the stream does not wash the mud away.
That mud is vital for life to flourish,
   to feed and cleanse the waters
      where plants feed fish feed others.
I have been going hungry.
Thrashing about in the stream,
   scaring the fish,
      tearing up the plants.
I have bathed in the mud 
   sat in stillness and sadness
      wondering what to do.

Almighty Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth,
please provide the means
   to feed and care for myself
      and my loved ones.
I am hungry and sad
   and lonely
      and struggling
         to cling to hope’s bright star.

Thank You for providing for me through my life.
I know You are faithful and I’m trying to fight away fear and sadness.
Some days I am weak.
In those days,
   show me You are strong.
       Amen.

Boundless Unstoppable Light

”[…] it is a beam of the likeness of God.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"There is no sickness of the soul that’s worse than being convinced of your perfection, sir!" - Rumi

"To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless." - Psalms (NIV)

Reason and insight.
Rays of light
   streaming through life’s window.

Twin candles illuminating our work.
Light comes in many colors, seen and unseen.
The light that ignited the universe
   pushes out into the expanse of nothing.
Bounding endlessly through the vacuum of space.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
   and a light unto my path.”

If love was a particle, 
   how would it bounce and refract
      within the prism of my life?
Would my eyes beam “agape-tons”
   when interacting
      with the many-faced You?

Teach me to expand Your Kingdom with Your boundless Word.
       Selah.

This Word

"With this word, thou shalt beat on this cloud and this darkness above thee." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Whoever understands his own defects has galloped to perfection with ten horses." - Rumi

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." - Psalm (NIV)

God.              Affliction.         Perfection.
Wholeness.   Holiness.          Holistic.
Mistakes.       Regrets.           Past.
Forgiveness. Mercy.              Grace.
Completion.   Renewal.          Revival.
letting go.      Emptiness.        Self-hood.
identity.         Oneness.          Unification.
Eternity.         Providence.      Unending.
Peace.          Joy.                    Prosperity.
Visions.         Perceptions.      Right-thoughts.
Right ways.   Right livelihood. Righteousness.
Glory.            Fortune.            Majesty.
Liberty.          Freedom.          Wings.
Love.

The Sweetness In Vinegar, The Promises In Suffering

"Him I covet, Him I seek, and naught but Him." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Deficiencies are mirrors of perfection; the vilest things are mirrors of His glory. For opposites make known their opposites as honey’s taste is known in vinegar." - Rumi

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promises preserve my life." -Psalm (NIV)

Vanity.
Answer vanity with “naught but Him.”
The sick person cannot heal himself.
The broken bone cannot mend itself.
The table cannot build itself.
       I endlessly struggle with depression.
       Many of the good things I do in life
       are direct responses to this struggle.
Empathy.
Kindness.
Writing.
Art.
Music.
Participation in community.
Physical training.
Balanced diet.
Gentleness.
       (all a direct response to struggle.)
       I cannot heal myself.

Your promises keep me alive.
Please heal my broken longings.
       I don’t have anything to offer in return.
       But friendship, kindness and charity.
       Amen.