Saturday, July 17, 2004

Listening to God

This morning the entry in one of my daily devotionals, In God's Care, was about the voice of the ego. As I reflected, I recognized it--the voice of the ego is continually changing, either inflating or deflating us. One moment it tells us we're great, smart, and powerful; and the next it tells us we're insignificant, small, and weak. It expands us in pride or reduces us in shame. The changing of the message seems to have to do with the circumstances outside us--if something big happens that makes us feel stupid, the ego chastizes us; if something wonderful happens that makes us feel capable, the ego sings our praises. Neither of these happenings have to do with what or who we really are. That's what the voice of God within us tells us: "Beloved, Beloved, Beloved."

I believe that God's voice is constant and pure--not rushing, not shouting, not trying to make a point. God's voice gently, consistently reminds us of our deepest truth--we are loved and loving, purposeful and precious--just the way we are.

[Note: In God's Care is a small devotional book published for individuals and families recovering from addictions. I found In God's Care not long after I began to realize the effect growing up in an alcholic home had had on me. It was truly a Godsend at a difficult time of self-disdovery. ]

Friday, July 16, 2004

Getting There

A little while ago, I was sitting outside reading and watching the ducks take their naps under the tree, when a neighbor three doors down came running out on his deck, waving his arms in the air and yelling, "Rahhh!"

The geese who had been standing serenely along the edge of the pond on his property took a few steps toward the lake but appeared not to take him seriously. He stood at the top of the steps and fumed. I'd never seen him before and I stifled a laugh as I saw him move his arms and take a fast, angry drag off a cigarette. He looked like a cousin of Danny DeVito's, dressed in a white sleeveless shirt and blue shorts. He stomped around on his deck and said, "Rah!" a couple of times with less passion and then just stood there by the railing and glared.

I went back to reading my book, not wanting to embarrass him in case he looked over at me, and after a few minutes I looked up again. To my surprise, he had pulled a chair close to the railing and was sitting, leaning back, looking out over the pond. Soon he got up, went inside, and came back out with a book. He returned to his chair and seemed ready to enjoy the remainder of the morning. The geese still stood in the same spot, unperturbed, peaceful.

Although I'd first felt the man's outburst was silly, I began to wonder whether God had another motive going on behind the scenes. Perhaps our anger, our frustration, our outrage sometimes propels us into places where we find clarity, clearness, peace. Maybe we launch out onto our decks to rage against an injustice and find that the day is blessing us with light and cool breezes and beauty. In any case, perhaps even our moments of greatest intolerance have a purpose in bringing us closer to God's Grace. That, it seems to me, would be just like him.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

How Much More for Us

Yesterday in between all my projects and family responsibilities, I was privileged to watch the almost-birth of a rose. I noticed early in the morning that the bud was beginning to open; I got my digital camera and captured images every half hour to see how quickly--or slowly--the transformation would occur. In the first two hours, the growth was amazing--the bud completely spread its lowest petals and I thought the whole flower was just going to burst open any minute. But about 10:30, the progress seemed to stall. I faithfully continued taking pictures for the next several hours, but nothing was happening. A wave of impatience--and discouragement--swept over me. What was the rose waiting for?

By midafternoon, I realized that the rose was done for the day. It had come so far, and then--nothing. I knew the rose would open eventually, but I was surprised that the growth wasn't steady and consistent. I had thought a rose would open a certain amount per hour, at a certain rate, in a certain way. But as I thought about it, I realized my own growth isn't consistent and steady--it happens in leaps and baby steps, it zigzags back and forth across dimensions, it loops back and skips and stumbles and finally drags itself forward another step, and then another, and then another. Growth in my life is often messy. Could it be that uneven growth--including cycles of effort and rest--is part of the natural cycle of creation? Even our own?

I resolved to let the rose be ("Maybe a watched rose never blooms," I thought), and I put away my camera. I had made my peace with the fact that the rose would bloom in its own time--and not according to my schedule.

This morning, bright and early, I went out to check the rose, expecting it to be in the same condition. Instead, I found an adult rose, huge and gorgeous and proud--full open, as though it had been there for days. I did a double-take, at first thinking it might not be the same rose. But it was.

I joyfully grabbed my camera and took a picture, thinking, "If God can do such amazing things with the blossom of a single rose, how much more can he do for us?"

May we each feel the transformation God is working in us today--seen or unseen--in the stubborn, unswerving hope that we are even now blossoming into a magnificent likeness of divine love.

Friday, July 09, 2004

A Meditation for Divine Presence

I read the following liturgy in kueuit, the newsletter from Alaska Children’s Services (, a residential center for children since 1890. The spiritual life director and the kids did this liturgy together and as I read it, standing in my quiet kitchen in Indiana, days and miles away, I could almost hear the sound of children's voices ringing in the air around me. The meditation brought me such peace and joy--I wanted to share it with you:
    When we look into the horizon and try to picture where we want to go
    God is beside us on the path
    We are not alone, and though it sometimes feels that way
    God is beside us on the path
    When we have dreams and nightmares about where we’ll end up
    God is beside us on the path
    When we’ve been given so much advice that we wind up even more confused
    God is beside us on the path
    When we want the right school or the right home
    God is beside us on the path
    When we think we have what we want
    God is beside us on the path
    When we have to remember our sometimes ugly past
    God is beside us on the path
    God will walk with us
    God is beside us on the path
    God will carry us when we are tired
    God is beside us on the path
    We are servants of God
    God is beside us on the path
    God will never put us someplace we cannot handle
    God is beside us on the path
    God would never have us make decisions alone
    God is beside us on the path
    All things are possible
    God is beside us on the path.

May we each feel God's presence in a very real, very near, very comforting way--and may we share our voices of hope with each other.

Infinite blessings! :) k

Thursday, July 08, 2004

One Thing

From the movie City Slickers:

    Curly: Do you know what the secret to life is? Holds up his index finger. This. One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don't mean nuthin.

    Mitch: That's great, but what's the one thing?

    Curly: That's what you gotta figure out.

Thank you, God, for being One and bringing us all together as One in you. :)

Monday, July 05, 2004


Conditions required to make a flower. A bulb. Sun. Rain. More sun. Time. Air. More sun. Lots of time. Someone who appreciates it (otherwise it might be mowed down to make room for another shopping mall). More sun.

Conditions required to appreciate a flower. This moment, Now. A breath. A blink. An observer. An open heart, preferrably with hands for carrying a digital camera.

Thank you, God, for beauty, and for the eyes and heart to see it.