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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love

Love is all
the law
the life
commandment given,
all that's right.
Instead we choose
to live by fear
wondering what
we're doing here
grasping, grabbing,
holding tight
to the things
that steal our life -
fighting, hating,
breaking hearts
as our families
fall apart.
Save us, Lord,
from blinded faith
thinking things
can stay this way.
Show our hearts
the truth you see
so that we
may be set free.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
                                                                  Matthew 22: 37-40

Monday, October 17, 2011

Imperfect Beauty

I was given a wonderful new gift today - a perfect spot beneath the shade of a crimson Dogwood tree.  I felt such a sense of quiet relief after the confusion and chaos of  yesterday's insecurity.  Bathed in dappled sunlight, the anxiety and confusion of the day before began to slowly melt away.

In the quiet stillness of the morning light, my thoughts began to slow as my eyes were drawn to the  surrounding beauty.  The whisper of the gentle autumn breeze calmed and comforted me.  The warm October sunlight began to melt the icy fear that had gripped my soul.

As I focused on some of the individual leaves above me, I gained a new appreciation for the uniqueness of each one. It occurred to me that each leaf was not beautiful because of its perfection but because of its variation and even imperfection.  There was a place reserved for each particular leaf on the tree.

Each leaf in the rainbow of reds was one of a kind.  Some were tinged with green; others blotched with dark spots of burgundy.  Some were worn with holes and tears left from a long season of harsh weather and hungry insects.  Still the humble beauty remained.

I thought of the blotches and lines on my own aging skin and prayed that I could see them through these same eyes of acceptance and peace.  Growing older is not something our society applauds.  Still there is a wisdom and a beauty that only deepens with increasing years and seasons - a beauty composed of scars and pain and imperfections.

Each leaf has its own individual story just as we do as human beings.  We each bring an important contribution to the world.  How often we judge our own place as damaged and worthless compared to those around us.   How often we feel that we fail to measure up to the sleek  media images that surround us.

But we each have a spot prepared just for us - a spot where we can grow to maturity and let our true gifts emerge.   These gifts may be small or large but they each contribute a critical offering to our world.  Each one, no matter how small, is significant.

I pray that we might have eyes to see the beauty that shines forth from each of us just as it does from each and every facet of creation.

The heavens declare the the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
                                                                                                      Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Letting Go

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.

                                                             Ecclesiastes 3:1


Letting go never seems to get any easier.  We've been practicing all our lives but we still cling to what is in our grasp.  Why is it so hard?

Maybe it's the sense of loss - knowing that what was can never be again.

With a jumble of emotions I watch as my boys both leave for college.  Along with the joy of their achievements and growth, I also feel a deep sense of sadness and loss as I realize that their childhoods are behind them - a once in a lifetime experience never to be repeated.  The delights and the heartbreaks, the trials and the triumphs, first words,  first steps, first days of school, first failures, first loss - these are all gathered together as memories like their  favorite outgrown toys packed safely away in the attic.

All of our days are really once in a lifetime experiences - precious time that has been given to us as sheer gift.  It can be so easy to lose sight of this as we go through the routines of our day without stopping to recognize the beauty around us.  We forget the fleeting nature of time and how quickly things change.  We forget that things will not always be as they are today.

As I write this the leaves on the Dogwoods are beginning to blush with autumn.  Each year as I watch the leaves fall,  a sadness descends over me and I long for them to stay.  But I know the leaves must fall to continue the ongoing cycle of the tree's growth.  They must make way for the vibrant new life of the coming spring.

We have our own cycles of loss and change in our growth as unique children of God.  We are being shaped and transformed by each experience on our journey.  Letting go, we are made ready to move on to our next stage.  Letting go, we are made ready for new life.