Thursday, November 23, 2017

Five Poetic Breaths (3/5)


to let go for this flow
allowing tasks, decisions
to pass
without you at the center of the solution
identified by your ability to fix and be healer of all

this letting go is to embody a restful posture in an un-rested world

this is a great discipline
safe security is found in the supposed pleasing of others where you
have become all toil, anxiety, and resentment
checking items off on a list that goes on without end
and brings no solace to you or others in your midst

chasing after the doing in such a way
that the other soul could more clearly lay poultice to their own wounded heart
but it doesn't
your scurrying does not actually please them despite their demand for it

the supervisor who acknowledges first your self-care is rare indeed
considered soft and vulnerable

but you cannot be determined by the other
that is but a mere deflection of your own difficult yet necessary choosing

a finding fault with that which you cannot control or the other who you spend time blaming

you must keep your work until the current is strong enough to float you out
do not sabotage it
but do not be a slave to your work or those who ask you to do it a particular way

you must make each decision in a manner that emboldens your work or else it is no work at all

schedule the rest and discipline it by your own need and then work will thrive
more so than if you had never paused to inhale deeply and partake of oxygen rich air

constant exhalation is just barely alive
you must rest and then resume

it does not come in a whole day set apart
sometimes it is simply a breath, a pause, a passing by to let someone else determine this outcome

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Five Poetic Breaths (2/5)


When he took to the hill
he carried the memory and anticipation of a high up and lonely homily
he was prepared to speak and listen only to the birds if they alone constituted his company

it was almost time when he sat in a teaching posture

The followers sweated in their own ascension
did they chose
or were they chosen
they were here now
atop the mountain with him seated and lest we forget the birds

the others stayed below
resting out of exhaustion or fear of what lay high up in the clouds
too much to see and hear
voices they were not ready to bear
would they ever be ready?

Long before, only one ascended, well, one and a helper went to the mountaintop
but now all were welcome
and few accompanied in a slow trickle behind

Once he sat, they knew to climb
then he uttered and pedagogy poured forth

flowed like a river
They couldn't catch up to the all of it
But they saw the movement, that's what mattered
Not taking it all in, but seeing this dynamic
the motion
They tasted a spoonful
the full flow would have drowned them
consumed them
actually destroyed them

He called them seasoning and flavor
He called them illumination
And light must be seen, not snuffed out.

Taught and heard on more than a score
of course they did not take it all in
but only saw the word move by and then hoped they would catch up to even one talking point
somewhere around the bend
would the river loop back on them

How would they be seen bright and flavored?
So many ways
The lighthouse pictured at the link above has me thinking about searching for the light. It has me thinking about the light that Jesus refers to in the Sermon on the Mount.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Five Poetic Breaths (1/5)


Alone seems like a good idea
in theory
a carving out
 from others
Space and time and distance
 to decompress
  and re-inflate

But not to him.

is utter despair
at this stage
in this flow
to be alone
is to be damned
utterly without

When does this transform
When will solitude be a welcome respite?

Not today
likely, not tomorrow

But one day, not so far down the road
Alone will be welcomed, embraced, even sought
Today, though, the world has forsaken him.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Prayer for Connective Tissue

I am praying for my cartilage
and I am not ashamed

why should I be
it hurts
and I want it to get better

I don't understand if, or how it will heal
but I pray for it, nonetheless.

I want to run again
of pain

I want to walk up and down steps and not try to absorb the shock with a lighter step.

I want to press confidently into the earth and trust my body from head to toe.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What’s Going On

The ultimate starting question for the preacher
What is God doing here and now in the world?
What is going on here? Wherever here may be in your context.

Marvin Gaye captured it in 1970 wondering what was going on in the world as he saw and cried out for it. The Funk Brothers helped, even on bass from the floor of studio a.

Brothers killing brothers
Only a love that can snuff out hate

There is little understanding here today, what's going on, in 2017
Who is ISIS? I don’t know.
Can I trust Russia or China? I don’t know.
Is the Commander in Chief really my president or yours? I don’t know.

What’s going on?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Today I had an epiphany. In fact, a few.
I had put off my own writing assignment for 167 hours. What a hack! I gave eight students a simple assignment to complete and I could not do it myself for nearly a completed week. Only in the 11th hour, really the 167th hour, a full week late, I made myself try. The hour was drawing near and I knew I could not ask them to share on what I would not do myself.
So I stepped out:
Breathe for 10
Write for 15
Reflect quietly and give thanks for 5.

No wonder this 30 minutes was so difficult, so frightening. I had a storm of creativity that followed. I felt free and hopeful in ways I had not felt in months, maybe years. I had been waiting for a breakthrough and here it was as I dragged myself out of bed and on the way to the Divinity School. My nose was so very swollen and there was a tightening of my chest as mucus exploded up and down the shaft. I felt like shit. Praise God, I had not had a cold in many months, but to have one again in November was frightening and made me wonder if this would become my next sinus infection. Yet all of this virus (God I hoped, and not a bacteria) was no excuse for my delay on a simple writing assignment that I had assigned. I didn’t get sick until last Thursday evening so what was my excuse for not writing on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday of last week. I just did not want to sit down and write. My life has felt bleak, without direction, without friends, with family that ought to make me feel jubilant and that I don’t feel jubilant 24-7…that just makes me feel guilty. Why can’t I go back to sales and just make some damn money. Be good. Mary Oliver says I do not have to be good. Well, good, because I’m not.

But my pity party had to end. Thank God I procrastinated on my writing, my completion of my own assignment, and waited for the time to be God’s time.

If you don’t know what to do, just wait longer.
It may not be success in a next second world, but it might mean epiphany.
At least every once in a while.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


I watched and cheered yesterday as my eldest son had enormous success as a runner. I can't run these days. I am in a season of healing, at best, a season of limping at worst, while I deal with a painful injury to the cartilage and tissue behind my right knee cap.

He, my eldest son, has not been running much this Fall. He maybe runs once or twice a week with his mother. Usually finds an excuse not to get out there on the roads and trails. We don't argue about it much. He has school and soccer and more importantly, I don't want to fight about something as joyful as running. If you don't want to get out and train, don't. I want to get out and train, but this is not about my running, or lack thereof.

He looked effortless and smooth through until after the finish line. He was breathing hard, but his stride never fell apart. Clearly, an Autumn as a midfielder making crosses and square passes works for some cross country racing. He came to find me quickly after the race for the breakdown of how it went and what I thought. That a 14 year old will still give me a post race hug is about as good as parenting gets.

Sons want to share athletic successes with their fathers. I wanted to do the same. Talk to my dad right after. Or if he wasn't present, give him the long version, the play-by-play.

He's my hero. Running well on, well, very little running.

I want to have headphones in and do a track workout to this tune -- My Hero by the Foo Fighters.