Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bits of Glass

I saw on the Writer's Almanac newsletter I receive every morning that today is the birthday of Anton Chekov. The last quote of the article is attributed to him: "Chekhov said, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

I know of my work in chaplaincy how the circumstances in our lives can get broken when something upsetting, frightening, or tragic occurs. Telling someone "God loves you and is with you" doesn't help because it's far and distant--like the moon--even though I believe it is certainly true. But helping someone (and this goes for my own brokenness, too) notice where in their lives God is reflected in those broken pieces...where is God working in our lives today?...brings the realization that nothing--not illness, injury, loss, calamity, poverty, doubt, anger, or failure--can separate us from God's love. God's here right now. We just need to let ourselves look at the broken pieces and see the reflection.

Monday, January 17, 2005

First One Out There

This morning I was sitting at the table in the kitchen with a steaming mug of coffee cupped my hands, looking out at the bitterly cold morning. The sun was just beginning to light the sky. A lone duck swam across the lake. A few stars still glimmered in the west. And suddenly the song of a bird came, loud and clear, ringing out from one of the trees beside the house.

A bird? Singing? It's six degrees! I thought, as a feeling of warmth and remembering--and gratitude--swept through me. How odd and wonderful and brave of that little bird to find something to sing about when it's six degrees and the sun isn't even up yet. How amazing that God whispers in the ear of a dove to bring an olive branch back to Noah to give him a sign of land. How perfect that we can sometimes be signs of hope for each other long before our relationships are healed, our health improves, our burdens lighten. May we each be aware of the signs of hope we are for each other today and have our eyes and hearts open to receive the hope others bring to us.

Blessings on your day!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Transcendent God

The curator of a local museum, the Eiteljorg, was interviewed on our public radio station this morning, and she described a new Georgia O'Keefe exhibit opening tomorrow. She talked about O'Keefe's ability to find the infinite in the most earthy places. This reminds me of some of my favorite saints--St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross. Something about finding God in the guts and reality of our lives really moves me. It's as though the closer we get to God the more we find Him--not as a distant Sunday abstraction--but right here, in the ice on the sidewalk and the new laugh lines around our eyes. God seems to call us deeper into an embrace with our own creatureliness, our humanity, and we are so surprised--and overjoyed!--to find Him there. Our journey isn't as far as we thought.

Here's something about O'Keefe I found on the Eiteljorg's web site (art image is from"In "Pelvis with Distance" (1943), [O'Keefe] painted the sky through the hole of a bleached pelvis bone that she had picked up in the northern New Mexico desert. O’Keeffe painted pelvis bones because she “was most interested in the holes in the bones—what I saw through them—particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky.”

“When I stand alone with the earth and sky, a feeling of something in me going off in every direction into the unknown of infinity means more to me than anything any organized religion gives me.” --Georgia O'Keefe

May we feel the stretching and spreading of our souls today, as we experience all that God delights to give us.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Well Said

I ran across this quote in a book this morning. It's actually the epitaph of Benjamin Franklin. It made me smile (and nod inside):
    The Body of

    B. Franklin,


    Like the Cover of an old Book,

    Its Contents torn out,

    And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,

    Lies here, Food for Worms.

    But the Work shall not be wholly lost:

    For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more,

    In a new & more perfect Edition,

    Corrected and amended

    By the Author.

Thank God the Author for his continual care and tender molding of us, his Works in Progress. :)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Praying for the Wounded Soul of the World

I read this amazing passage in Flora Slossen Wuellner's book, Prayer, Stress, & Our Inner Wounds and felt it was an appropriate thought to lift up in light of the tsunami tragedy and the continuing heartbreak in Iraq and the Middle East:

    "I first began to think seriously about this form of prayer when I was asked to lead a retreat for a church that had recently lost its pastor under circumstances agonizingly traumatic for both pastor and people. As I sat with the group of lay leaders in the church parlor and we talked and prayed together, I became aware that I was not sitting with just a group of hurting bewildered individuals. It was as if the group there had a personality, a soul of its own, that was wounded. I shared my impression, and we began to pray for the wounded memory of the group, as if the group were one person."

What groups are you part of? Has there been a sadness, a frustration, a hurt in your home, in your office, at your church? Is there division and heartache, loss and grief? I love this idea that we can pray for the soul of our families, the spirit of our church, the healing of our nation, the Divine Light of our world . This is prayer on a big, transformative scale, and another way to touch and bless and honor the shared life God has given us.