Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; caps and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, 0 Lord,
Creator, Hallowed one, You still, hour by hour sustain it.
Source: “Primary Wonder” by Denise Levertov, from SANDS OF THE WELL, copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996 by Denise Levertov
So hard to find amidst the cacophony of noise. She pictures it here in metaphor, like courtiers, brightly colored clothes swirling in dance.
And it is through that crowd, in a quiet place beyond, that the mystery is found.
There are many things swirling for me right now. The voices clamor for my attention. Each one distinct, each need important.
Problems also line up for solutions, jostling for a better place. Perhaps some, as she points out, are insoluble. Others, if given a voice, present their own solutions.
They too can distract from the mystery.
Yet even those voices, strident in their need, recede as I come near to the Mystery.
The mystery, wisely, is not named. How could it be?
And yet, it is there, as my very being is sustained for another breath.
And all the noise recedes.
And it is enough.
My ego is like a fortress–I have built its walls stone by stone to hold out the invasion of the love of God.
But I have stayed here long enough.
There is light–over the barriers. Oh my God–
The darkness of my house forgive And overtake my soul. I relax the barriers.
I abandon all that I think I am, all that I hope to be, all that I believe I possess.
I let go of the past, I withdraw my grasping hand from the future, and in the great silence of this moment,
I alertly rest my soul.
As the seagull lays in the wind current, so I lay
myself into the Spirit of God.
My dearest human relationships, my most precious dreams, I surrender to his care.
All that I have called my own I give back. All my favorite things which I would withhold in my storehouse from his fearful tyranny.
I let go.
I give myself unto Thee, oh my God.
I found myself saying this phrase today. It was couched in an afternoon so thick with redemption that you could smell Jesus.
He’s crazy like that, you know.
Crazy enough to bring together a babysitter and a little girl, now in grown up bodies, to share story.
Stories of Harm, and stories of goodness, with silly stories of the every day mixed between.
History, we call it; the stories of Long Ago. This was a space for “her-story”. Infinitely more sacred, and raw and it’s beauty and pain.
These two crazy fishermen were talking one day. Probably the one was asking the other why in the world he had given up the business, when it had been in the family for generations. And all that, to follow a new guy in town that people said was crazy?! Definitely illegitimate at the very least. And in a place where bloodlines matter, that was unforgivable.
And what did the smelly fisherman say?
Come. And. See.
aspen circle near snow bowl, Flagstaff, Arizona
I don’t like mornings.
Never have. Never (?) will.
But I have two kids who have run cross country. And babies who like to greet their mamas (and the midwife) as the sun comes up.
I used to work nights, as a nurse. It wasn’t all bad. I would go to bed as other people got up. And on the off nights I could stay up as late as possible.
It generally takes me an hour to reconcile myself to the inevitable reality that the day has begun. Once I am past that, I feel quite cheerful.
Sone people like sunrises; I prefer sunsets. I would like sunrises, I think, if they showed up at a different time of day.
Today I walked while the kids ran. I am up to more than half a mile! If you know the long story, that in itself is a miracle.
I saw tiny purple flowers, unnoticed amidst the grass. Four raindrops hit me. (In the desert?!) And when I sat under a tree to rest, I saw this on the ground beneath my feet.
And so for today, I am grateful.
To be up. To be able to walk. To be alive. To see.
Enjoy your morning!
with quickened hope
for crooked paths to straighten,
with tough-soul’d anguish,
while blinded keepers of the keys
shut out God’s own.
(If such a thing were possible.)
and will not be dismayed.
For tiny shoot of Jesse tree
took root in me.
(Advent. By Sr. Christine Schenk. A midwife)
I have been bathing in the waters of hospital birth again, this time in a new role. I put on the white coat, with its instant prestige. I put on the title, reluctantly: “Professor Wilder”. I notice I am more comfortable with my first name. I am so aware that the kind of birth I get to do at home is 1% in our country. This 99% is the norm. Full of risk, adrenaline, and hurry, and occasional moments of goodness….the babies are born. There are redeeming moments: the nurse who goes the extra mile, the Doctor who dares to trust, the student nurse who has eyes to see. For this reason, I enter; to offer my gifts.
And yet, I am so aware of the stark contrast. The precious spaces I get to hold in the home with mamas are thick with the sense of the holy.
There was another birth done in a way that was also countercultural. Even then, you didn’t birth in the barn. And yet the sense of the holy was thick, even there.
And so we come to Advent.
We invite the holy.
And we wait.
A daughter came home today. I watched for her face in a crowd of strangers. I strained to see her, the anticipation rising in my soul. I felt the sheer delight burst through my spirit as I saw her, and hugged her tight.
I saw a friend once, so precious to my heart, moments after she passed into the Mystery. Her face held that same longing, that delight, like she had just seen someone for whom she had been longing all her life.
I just finished re-reading Frederick Beuchner’s A Sacred Journey: “we must learn to listen to the cock crows and hammering and tick-tock of our lives for the holy and elusive word that is spoken to us out of their depths.”
There was a moment when we were all sitting and braiding hair this weekend, a mother and two of her daughters. And for an elusive breath of time I saw the holy.