Thursday, June 28, 2007

humility moment

is the land
where God wants us to go
and offer sacrifice

abba moment

there was a monk
who kept a woman in his cell
so indiscreetly that word began to get around

some of the monks living nearby
decided to do something about it
and asked a visiting abba to go with them

the offending monk
seeing them coming
hid the woman in a large water jar

this was spotted by the abba
when they all went into the cell

the abba sat on the jar
while the others searched the room
they could find nothing
and went away ashamed

when they had gone
the abba got up
took the offending monk's hand
and simply said

pay attention to yourself"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ordinary moments

unpacking the past five days with a friend
we took many long walks
surrounded by new life
and emerging new life

but also saw

a wild rose that had been crushed under a careless foot

and a now forever flightless butterfly after its encounter with a car tire

goodbye moment

Three days into a one week trip a few years ago,
during late fall,
at the end of a long portage in Algonquin Provincial Park,
I saw an older man sitting at the edge of the water.
As I took the canoe off my shoulders and laid it down,
he half turned and smiled a brief,
almost embarrassed smile.
I walked down,
washed my face in the cold water and sat about ten feet from him.
He was eighty-two years old.
Sitting by the lake, and later sharing a campsite,
he told me a little of his story.
This was his last time on this portage —
his favorite he said —
and his last Algonquin trip.
He had been coming here since his teens.
Now even getting in and out of a canoe was difficult.
He noticed that I had a solo canoe and asked me if I was paddling alone.
He tried to come up every year,
always alone,
and usually now in late fall when the park was empty
and the leaves a kaleidoscope of color.
And almost no bugs.
Northern lakes and rivers were a primary source of peace in his life.
He was saying good-bye after decades of foggy sunrises on remote lakes,
wolves howling and clear nights when you could see millions of stars.
I asked him if this final trip was sad for him.
No, not really.
Maybe in a week or two.
For now, he was just absorbing the beauty one last time,
creating memories to carry him through the last years of his life,
and thinking back on the memories he had accumulated.
We shared a few minutes of silence.
Then he said goodnight, got up, and went into his tent.
When I got up in the morning
he was gone.

Rod M.

Friday, June 22, 2007

treefrog moment

painted by r m

inside an open rose
a tree frog no bigger than my thumbnail
I try to imagine rest like that
tucked in such a bed of petals
I try to imagine prayer like that
listening so intently in the early light
and saying so little

home moment

and when he has found it
he lays it on his shoulders

and when he comes home
he calls together his friends and his neighbors
saying to them
rejoice with me
for I have found my sheep that was lost (Lk. 15:5-6)

he lays the sheep on his shoulders

he does not merely carry the burden of fear the sheep might have over being lost

nor is the guilt and condemnation over wandering away the only thing the shepherd carries

he carries the sheep

having found the sheep
he does not require it to find its own way back

he carries it

the shepherd takes full responsibility for the sheep’s return
the sheep is at rest on the shepherd’s shoulders

and when he comes home….
this is an amazing statement
the ninety-nine sheep are still in the wilderness
but the one that was lost is at home
with the shepherd

Monday, June 18, 2007

risk moment

to dare is to risk losing your foothold for a moment
not to dare is to risk losing yourself
Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

culvert moments

over the last few weeks
we have noted that the water level in the lake
has been abnormally high
docks floating off their moorings
shoreline eroded
duck nests flooded killing some young
damp areas now swamps

while exploring the cause
it was noted that a culvert
at the end of the lake
the only outlet for the lake
had been deliberately blocked
by means of two steel rods
holding in place four carefully cut to size boards
effectively preventing any water from leaving the lake

three boards were quickly and easily removed
allowing the water to rush through the culvert
and down into the next lake

the water fell by about an inch
in twenty-four hours

at the suggestion of conservation authorities
two of the boards were then replaced
still allowing a healthy flow
but preventing the water level
from dropping too fast and thus
interfering with spawning fish

the next day upon checking
it was noted that now all boards had been removed
and taken away

water was roaring through unimpeded

who put the boards in

who took them out

and why

all this made me think of our lives
and the life of our ministries

we live on a beautiful small hidden lake
obviously some were not satisfied
with the way God created this lake
and took it upon themselves to alter it
to suit their purposes

someone wanted the water higher
someone else wanted the water lower

and is this not a picture of so many
not satisfied with God's design
we mess around
placing barriers to block the flow of the Spirit

or sometimes
allowing such a rush of the Spirit through us
that those around are damaged

spawning fish killed

newly hatched flooded

tender shoots drowned

there is a natural order to things
a natural flow of the Spirit
that must be honored
and respected

how is your culvert working

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

waterfall moments

while walking the road
I could hear rushing falling water

following the sound
deep into the woods
I suddenly came across
a hidden cascading waterfall

some of God's most amazing wonders are hidden from most eyes
while they simply carry on doing
what they have been designed to do

I know some people like this ............

emerging moments

captured emerging process
with emptied shell left behind

I was struck at the fragility of the process
one touch would introduce death

we need to be that respectful of one another
but not touching
during the emerging

Friday, June 08, 2007

rhythm moments

I leave to lie on the beach
to become like the beach
erased by today's sun and sand of all yesterdays
lullaby-ed by the water's rhythms
outward and inner man one
to find the rhythm between solitude
and communion
between retreat and return

my life has too little empty space
so few empty hours in my day
so few empty rooms in my life
in which to stand alone and find myself

there is a wilderness in the mind
and desert wastes in the heart
through which one can wander lost
a stranger to oneself and others

out of touch with myself
I cannot touch others
so even when shaking hands with a friend
a wilderness can be felt stretching between

only when connected to our core
are we connected to others

and yet
so many have a fear of being alone
they never let it happen
always filling the void with noise

and when the noise stops
there is no inner music to take its place

we must re-learn to be alone

and so
I return to the beach
to lie on the beach
and become one with the beach
in touch with myself

Thursday, June 07, 2007

choosing moments

a tender heart
finds its roots
in the soil of suffering

when suffering
a path must be found through it

one path is the way of a hardened heart
a path that closes me off from someone else
and from God

to choose a gentle path
of being pressed into brokenness
is a radical act
with roots that know the fragility
and strength of my soil

this path will root
in the earth of me

it is on this path
where on my knees
I will grow
as I wait before Him
till the dust settles
and the stream runs clear

God gently approaches the soul
as the dew on the flowers

Monday, June 04, 2007

dwelling moments

what is pain
but a place of emptiness
where one feels sharply
the absence of love

it is necessary to own pain
and trust it will not always be there

pain puts us in touch
with our own heart
with its undercurrent of anguish

we must tell our story
from a place where it no longer dominates
and suffer our sorrow standing

when we are where God wants us to be
He holds us safe
and gives peace
even in the pain

it is a time to dwell deep

to be hidden in Christ
Who is hidden in God
is to dwell at the source of all things

but to be completely hidden
there must be a complete death

dwell deep