"Christ, all love, you speak one word to us: Yes. Yes, I am with you. Yes, I always will be. Yes, in deepest sorrow. Yes, when you have lost your way, your sight, yourself. Yes, when you don't know what to do and when there is nothing you can do; Yes, today and tomorrow." ~Julian of Norwich

Over the weekend I had the privilege of 'being the voice' of Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic whose words seem to be long before their time as our sanctuary choir presented a lovely musical setting of her words. Her writing seems miraculous to me given the climate in which she lived, given the fact that she was a woman in a church ruled by those who would have much preferred she remain silent.  Her life was plagued with great pain, both physical and spiritual. And yet she had the clarity of an experience of the Holy that rings throughout time. Her words reflect a broader understanding of God than the common church language, not only of her time but also ours, might allow. She used multiple images of God and blurred the often exclusively male language attributed to speaking of the Sacred.

But even more than those gender nouns and pronouns, her understanding of our relationship with the Holy One carries such acceptance, such grace, such gentleness. As I read her words during the concert, my eyes took in the faces, the beautiful faces of those gathered. I wondered about those who were listening. How were they experiencing these words? Did they seem foreign? Did a God whose one word to us is 'Yes' align with the the one they learned of in Sunday School, in sermons, in scripture? I also thought of all those people I knew who have been so wounded by the church. Those who cannot find a home in any faith community.  Those who think that the rhetoric they often hear on radio and television spoken with anger and vengeance, voices claiming to speak for Jesus, is all there is. 

To these people and to all people I offer Julian's experience of the Holy when she writes: "Yes, on this corner of my good earth and wherever your feet may take you. Yes, to the end of the earth and the eternity of time. Yes, for you are never abandoned. You are forever the unforsaken, the beloved, a cradled child. Mine. And my word to you is singular: Yes."

The 'Yes' of God carries us into the next days when we remember and celebrate the Way in which Jesus of Nazareth walked in the world. At every turn he offered a 'yes' to those on the margins, those left out, those who were hungry, those who didn't know where to turn. Like Julian, he embraced the 'yes' of the Holy in his own life and then extended that affirmation to all he met. 

"My saints long before you clung to my "Yes" in circumstances unimaginable, amid joys inexpressible and griefs unbearable. And I was enough for them. I was their "Yes," and ever I shall be for you."

Twice Blessed

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." Henry David Thoreau

We have a gigantic amaryllis bulb that has been growing in a pot on our kitchen table since Valentine's Day. Over the last two weeks it has developed five saucer-sized blossoms of delicate pinks and creamy white. None bloomed at the same time. They each had their own coming out day. We, the observers, had to keep a trained eye to the next miracle emerging from our dining table. Over the course of several days, another show of floral beauty dazzled us as we consumed cereal and soup. 

Yesterday as I was inwardly lamenting the blossoms that have now withered and fallen off, I noticed what seems like another shoot of green pushing its way up the side of the nearly two foot stalk that housed these flowers. This morning I saw that it had grown another several inches. I marveled: could it be possible that yet another shoot would give birth to even more pink and white color? My husband registered his skepticism. It didn't seem probable that we could be blessed twice by one gnarly looking, o.k. ugly, bulb. Who knows? But we will continue our breakfast and dinner vigil, watching with untrained, yet hopeful, eyes.

This waiting and watching got me thinking about the many ways in which we receive unexpected blessings. This morning on my walk across Loring Park I was serenaded by a choir of red-winged black birds. These birds which most often go unnoticed amid their flashier feathered friends, seemed to be singing seduction songs across tree branches. I felt blessed to be present to their love lurings……. not something I expected on a Monday morning. 

A few steps along the same path I passed a man walking his dog. The man was in a hurry. The dog wasn't. His mutt body, weighing in someplace between beagle and corgi, exuded the happiness of walking in a place so full of new life and good scents. As the two humans and one canine crossed the small foot bridge, the dog stopped right in his tracks, looking me square in the eyes. I swear I think he smiled! I know I did as his owner gave a gentle tug on his leash to get him moving. I walked on having been given what felt like a dog blessing.

For the longest time humans have tried to relegate blessings to certain places…churches for instance….but we might as well give in. Blessings are surrounding us all the time. To bless means: the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hope. In the amaryllis plant I see the divine will to give birth, to be beautiful, to save my human self from the grayness of winter days. In the song of the red-winged black birds I heard the hope of summer yet to come. In the eyes of a leashed dog I saw unconditional acceptance and maybe even love.

Twice blessed? Oh, no… many times blessed!

Staying in Love

"In a way, nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small we haven't time-and to see takes times, like to have a friend takes time." Georgia O'Keefe

I think I have mentioned in these pages before that our church community has been studying a small book together this Lent. The book, Three Simple Rules by Bishop Rueben Job, outlines three simple rules he sees in the scriptures and in the works of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. The rules are: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God. It has been interesting and enlightening to listen to the many different ways in which people approach and enter these seemingly simple concepts. There have been many conversations about the difference  between doing no harm and doing good. Other good conversation has centered around how our life experience colors our interpretation of the rules. This, of course, is true of all we do, of how we see everything, from the scriptures to our political leanings to our moral compass through the lens of our life experience. So while doing no harm and doing good may seem to put us into 'doing' mode with easily defined goals and objectives, the actual action can be fraught with a subtext that further defines our faith and questions our identity. 

Of these three rules, I have been most fascinated by the 'staying in love with God' part. What does it mean to stay in love with God? Over the last nearly 40 days, I have been thinking about what it means to stay in love with anyone, anything. Most people have had the experience of 'falling' in love, an emotion-filled roller coaster of highs and lows, of surging hormones and light headed proclamations. Falling in love is much like a conversion experience…..full of mountain tops and very few valleys. 

But staying in love is something very different. Staying in love requires commitment. Commitment to being present to another, of spending time together. Commitment to learning as much as humanly possible about the other. Commitment to accept the beauty and the mystery, even the things that annoy you, about someone. Commitment to understanding and working out misunderstandings. So many commitments. Staying in love means to be in the relationship for the long haul, even when it is rote, boring, stressful or even when you find another more exciting or beautiful. The commitment to staying in love requires the ability to be quiet and listen for whatever scrap of meaning you can take from another's midnight ramblings. Staying in love means clothing your heart with compassion and vulnerability even when you know you might have it broken. Staying in love means sacrifice, a word we often run from.

All of these attributes of staying in love also apply to what it means to stay in love with God. In order to be in a relationship, I have to be willing to show up, be present and pay attention to how the Holy is moving in my life. It also means that I have to settle for not understanding, not being able to explain the mystery of what we share. I have to keep my heart open knowing that it might get broken but resting assured that the mending message with help grow the relationship.

As a way of reminding our worshiping community to stay in love with God during the week we have sung a love song as we ended our worship together on Sunday mornings. We have lifted our voices singing "Night and Day", "Always", and "Every Breath You Take". These songs, meant to describe the love of two people for one another, quickly take on new meaning when we hear ourselves singing our love to the Sacred. Smiles spread across faces, eyes take on a knowing gleam, people lift their heads a little higher often leaning into their neighbor, swaying to the music. Like a chorus at the end of a rousing musical, we end our worship in a finale of declaring our love before one another, hoping and praying it will carry us through another week as we commit once again to a relationship that has carried us even when we have not known it. 

On Sunday, we will celebrate Palm Sunday and move into the days we call Holy Week. As I make my way into these evocative days, I pray that I can be present to the message of the scriptures that are familiar while hearing them in new ways. New ways that will find me renewing my vow to stay in love. 

Have a blessed weekend……………..


"A butterfly comes and stays on a leaf-
a leaf much warmed by the sun-
ans shuts his wings.
In a minute he opens them, shuts them again,
half wheels round, and by and by-
just when he chooses and not before-floats away.
The flowers open, and remain open for hours, to the sun.
Hastelessness is the only word one can make up to describe it;
there is much rest, but no haste.
Each moment is so full of life
that it seems so long
and so sufficient in itself."
~Richard Jeffries

Last week…I swear it…I saw a butterfly flying around in our backyard. It swooped near the side porch and then flitted away into the marvelous March sunshine. I shook my head in wonderment. Where did it come from? How had it come to such fullness with winter days so recently in the past? My husband didn't really believe my sighting. And then, some minutes later, as we were beginning an walk on our block, a butterfly-was it the same one?- flew right across our path. We looked at one another and laughed at this curious sight so early in the year.

This butterfly seemed to be flying as fast as it could. Perhaps such movement was necessary given the chill that still existed in the air. But soon we will instead see butterflies doing the languid hastelessness described in this poem. On the purple flowers that bloom in our garden to attract these lovely insects, we will have the seasonal opportunity to learn from the butterfly. If we can be quiet enough, if we can keep our minds from racing to the next thing we are 'supposed' to be doing, if we can keep our limbs from twitching with constant activity, we, too, can learn hastelessness. I have a sense there is much to be gleaned from this non-activity. Feeling the full force of the sun on our bodies, we might be lured into a creative moment of dreaming something beautiful. We might learn how to slow our breathing to a place of prayer. We might even allow our eyes to see as the butterfly sees….up close and personal. If nothing else, we might simply bring our blood pressure to a lower reading which is always a good thing.

Living into a recognition of the fullness of life in each moment is also a gift. Instead of experiencing the moment as just the step to the next and the next doesn't allow us to recognize the blessing of each breath, each heartbeat which we do not initiate, they happen because we are alive. The sufficiency of each moment eludes us: this moment is enough to keep me going, to keep me living.

I am preaching to myself here, I know. I have just decided to take a few days off to recharge my batteries before heading into the busy-ness of Holy Week and I am finding it difficult to just be in the moment. My mind is jumping around from thought to thought, detail to detail.  I keep remembering 'what I've forgotten to do'. Ever have days like that? 

Perhaps if I had wings, beautifully colored wings, I could flap them in a quiet, easy rhythm until my mind slowed down to a calmer pace.  Then I could sit as long as I wanted gently flapping and breathing, in and out, in and out, until hastelessness set in. Finally I could stay in one place as long as need be until my spirit could catch up with my flying body. 

It is a wonderful thing to imagine. I hope it is even possible without wings. I'm going to give it a try until I come into the sufficiency of this moment. Wish me luck!

Shouting Stones

"Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,"Teacher, order your disciples to stop." He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." Luke 19:39-40

 In Christian churches around the world, this Sunday is Palm Sunday, the last Sunday of Lent and the one before the celebration of Easter. It marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the spiraling events that we have come to call Holy Week. In most churches it is a fairly joyous Sunday. There are processions of palm fronds being waved by children and more upbeat hymns than the minor keyed ones of the Lenten season. At our church we often find it is a Sunday with higher attendance as families bring children to be part of this palm waving procession. Personally, I am never sure if it is the palm waving that brings people or the ever increasing temperatures outside that simply make it easier to get small children up and out the door at an early hour. Whatever the cause, it makes for a rich and joyous Sunday.

The scripture that will be read is always the same story: Jesus friends are told to go find a donkey that has never been ridden before and tell the owner that their teacher needs it. For some reason, in the scriptures, there is not an argument with the owner, he just hands it over. Then Jesus begins this journey into Jerusalem where his ministry becomes very public, very quickly. As he becomes a part of a parade in which he is recognized as the one who has done miracles, who has healed the sick and welcomed the marginalized, excitement(and trouble) brews. The Pharisees warn the disciples to keep it down, to curb their enthusiasm. And then comes one of my favorite, somewhat obscure statements attributed to Jesus: "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." 

Shouting stones. The idea gives a person pause, doesn't it? I love the idea that if the human ones kept quiet about the movement of God in their lives, the stones would use their voices to speak. What might the voice of a stone sound like? To be honest, I think I've actually heard them. When I walk the beaches of the North Shore of Lake Superior, there are times when those flat black stones seem to speak to me of the awe and wonder of the magnificence around me. If I am too busy or too tightly wound with the stresses of my small life to notice, those stones will click together under my feet saying, "Wake up! Look around you! You are not the center of the Universe!" 

I would venture a guess that there are places in the world where the stones are shouting out their pain at the ways of war, of human greed and wanton killing. I would also bet there are places where the stones are speaking gentleness to soothe the tears of those who are lost in some personal wilderness, much like the heated stones my massage therapist uses to calm the tense muscles in my back. And then there are the stones piled into cairns, small monuments stacked with care by human hands, to mark places where a holy moment has happened and the human voice has no words to name the sacredness. These little altars can be found along highways, walking paths and on mountain tops. Those stones continue to speak to a time of holiness not gone unnoticed.

This scripture also speaks to me of an earthy, earthly Jesus connected to the soil and place where he found himself living a full and complicated life. Grounded in the dusty, dirty roads of the small radius of country where he lived out his short, yet profound life, he loved the people and trusted the One who had breathed all of Creation into being. The people, the fig trees, the wells of water, the rivers of baptism, the mountains, the deserts, even the stones. All these had, indeed have, the gift of speaking truth to power if we have the ears to hear. 

Today might be a good day to spend some time listening, really listening, to the rich voices that make up the day. We all might be surprised what we hear.

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Powerful Stories

Over the last several weeks I have been taking a spiritual memoir writing class. The class is made up of people who in a variety of ways make their living by being present to the spiritual lives of others: ministers, chaplains, spiritual directors. It is a rich group of people to be with each week and I look forward to Thursdays because I know I will once again get to be with these people. Led by our inspiring and encouraging teacher, we write and read the works of people who are trying to be present to the way the Holy moves in their lives, who then put these experiences into words, commit them to paper. The reading has been rich and enlightening and also humbling. Such beautiful words. Such deep wells.

During the last two weeks we have also been reading one another's work. I have found myself in awe of people's ability to be vulnerable about their deepest longings, their most profound fears. The stories are filled with humor that make us laugh at the wild and crazy things we do in the church, things we hold a common knowledge about even though we are from very different traditions, very different parts of the country. Others are rich with loss and the path of making sense of it from a faith perspective. Still others continue, even after many years, to explore how it is they have felt called to this place we call ministry. All these are shared with the utmost humility and honesty. 

It is powerful to be in the presence of such stories. Yesterday as I left class I was thinking of this very fact. And then, just like that, my mind turned on a dime to reveal the greater truth: everyday we are present to powerful stories. We just don't know it or we ignore it. We walk this path of life surrounded with the richness and rawness of human stories of triumph and tragedy. The neighbor whose name we do not know and those who are move into and out of our lives freely carry huge stories to be told. The teachers who often spend more time with our children than we do carry stories that might surprise us. The check out clerk at the grocery store may be carrying a secret that would shock us. The stories of our own family members that we have pushed to the side or into a closet for any manner of reasons. All of us are made up of the stories that shape us, wound us, enliven us, define us.

This being human is a fragile thing and so often we bump and stumble our way through each day either oblivious or in denial of the presence of those who walk with us. This morning I woke up with the lyrics to a song by Claudia Schmidt running through my head. No doubt its message was planted there in my sleeping brain as if to remind me to walk gently into this day: " I will tell you my dreams….will you promise to guard them well. Everything is much more than it seems. There is power in these stories we tell. There is love in these secrets we tell." 

The song is entitled 'Remember'. Since these words were given to me in a near dream, in my sleeping state, I will pay attention to them today. I will try to walk through the day remembering that I walk with others who have powerful stories to tell. Stories that might make me laugh. Stories that might fill me with anger. Stories that would no doubt bring me to tears. Stories embodied by fragile beings just like me who deserve to be seen and heard as the images of the Holy they truly are. Even if they may not know it. Because I do know it, and hold it as sacred, I can make an effort to look into the eyes of those I meet as if our meeting makes a difference. For in truth, it does.

Have a blessed weekend…………….. 

Buicoas Le Dia

At the conclusion of the reading of Isaiah at today's St. Patrick's Day Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul, we were instructed in how to respond after the reading in Gaelic: Buiocas Le Dia: "Thanks be to God." It has been my practice for the last several years to attend this worship on the Feast Day of St. Patrick helping remind me and those in attendance that this day is much more than shamrocks and leprechauns. It is the celebration of the life of a real person who took his faith seriously, took giving his life to God seriously. The mass comes complete with bagpipes of course and the procession of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians wearing colorful capes and feathery hats while carrying swords, real swords. The service is presided over by the Archbishop and all the beauty of a full Roman Catholic mass. The congregation is colorful as well in a multitude of greens and Irish knit sweaters. It is always a high point of the spring for me to attend this service.

My favorite part of the service comes just before the celebration of the Eucharist as the congregation sings 'Anthem for Ireland' words set to the tune of "Danny Boy". This tune alone tugs at the heart strings but the words for this rendition also always bring a little tear to my eye. And I'm not even Irish! 
    Oh land of love we bless thee gentle Mother
    Oh land of light fair jewel of the sea
    Oh land of joy where brother shall meet brother
    And all thy souls shall dwell in harmony
    And when the clouds of torment and of sorrow
    Flee with the dark at rising of the sun
    Hand shall clasp hand in happiness tomorrow
    And we shall toil together in God's work begun.

Whether a person is of Irish heritage or not, these are powerful words to sing, to embody. Each of us have been shaped, I believe, by the land where we were born, where we grew up. Whether in the country or the city, near mountains or lakes, rivers or deserts, the land has not only shaped us but given us the soil in which to plant our identities. For those who pursue the Holy or are pursued, the land from which we sprang also helps define our understanding of All that is bigger than our human self. The land that shapes us by love, by light, by joy helps us know who we are as workers with God in the unfolding of Creation,helps us 'clasp hands' with one another. 

In this work, which is our act of living, we can be gifted by an awareness of what it means to be a part of something much larger than house or office, of city or country. It is not a constant awareness which might be too much for any of us to handle. This awareness comes in glimmers and glimpses and may be accompanied, if we listen well, by music. It might be a tune that sounds a lot like "Danny Boy."

St. Patrick was said to have surrounded himself with words that began: 'I arise today through the strength of heaven…..' And don't we all? May the strength of heaven guide our feet this day and all those yet to come.  Buiocas Le Dia.

Easter Came Early

"I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Signs of spring are everywhere. As the snow has slowly melted into the ground, the greenness of spring is pushing its way up through rich, brown earth. This past weekend we drove through the rolling countryside of Wisconsin, past farmland itching to get going. I knew this because even in the large field of abandoned fall pumpkins, soggy and mushy from a winter under many inches of snow, I glimpsed green. All along the road there were very few patches of dirty brown snow. It had been replaced by wet soil and the soft new blades of early grass. Overhead countless gaggles of geese danced and undulated in the air making their way back to old haunts filled with food for starting new families. Still other flocks of birds seemed to be gathering in reunion spots only to lift off high in the air flying in a chaos of black formation.

Down on the lower Mississippi River eagles could be seen standing on the ice floes. In the sky above their brothers and sisters soared with majesty as if to say, "Look at me! I am your nation's treasured one." I don't think I will ever get accustomed to seeing eagles. At least I hope I won't. The day I cease to be awestruck at the sight of those soaring brown wings, that brilliant white head and tail, will be a sad day indeed. These magnificent birds, once nearly extinct, are also a sign of what happens when we humans rise to our best selves and choose to protect those more vulnerable. As we made changes in our environment that nearly killed these creatures off altogether, so we chose to make changes that would save this symbol of our freedom. Makes you wonder what else we might be capable of, what else might be changed for the common good, doesn't it?

Driving quietly along these roads, truly observing the Earth coming to life again, I thought of the Easter we will soon celebrate. I looked out at what had been dead,frozen ground and glimpsed the life that lay just below its surface. I squinted my eyes and saw the tinge of yellow-green that dances just at the tips of trees that even a few days ago stood cold and barren, sentinels against a gray sky. Even the heavens were edged with life inspiring movement….flapping wings,yellow sunshine and blue sky, a soft breeze that blew away the salt and sand accumulated over winter making room for what is to be born. With my soul eyes,  I witnessed the stone being rolled away from the tomb of winter and it made my heart sing an early 'alleluia!'

I know I am getting ahead of myself. March, after all, is the second snowiest month in Minnesota. But the truth is Easter always lives someplace within us and we long for it, must have it.  So when we have even a glimmer of its presence we stand at attention. And standing at attention in this season of Lent and all others is really what it is all about, isn't it? Staying awake to ways in which God shows up in the most unexpected places is our life's work. Giving ourselves over to noticing the daily resurrection moments, not only in the lives of others but in our own life as well, is a holy practice. If Lent teaches us anything it is that no matter how dark or dreary or despairing things might seem, rebirth is always possible. And that, my friends, is the good news.

So the invitation is to widen your eyes, open your heart and breathe deeply. New Life is on the way!

I See You

I may be one of the last people around to see the movie Avatar. I had this grand plan of seeing the movies nominated for Academy Awards before last Sunday's television broadcast but found I kept putting this one off in favor of others. I didn't make my goal of seeing all 10 nominated for best picture but more than I had seen in years past. Avatar was recommended by so many people because of its spiritual nature, its connection to the land and, of course, its cinematic beauty. I have never been much of a science fiction fan so this no doubt contributed to my procrastination. 

I won't go into a review of the movie. Those are abounding in newspapers and on the internet. Like most stories that deal with rich mythology, this one is up to interpretation by everyone who sees it. I will say that I found the fact that with so much creativity and revenue being poured into a spectacular visual feast, I found it sad that the imagination of the film makers could still only come up with war and destruction as a major theme, a major way of dealing with differences. Again, there are many interpretations as to the reason for this.

But what did strike me in the film was the use of three simple words: "I see you." This was the greeting given by the Nav'i beings. They would touch the chest, the heart space of another and say:"I see you." The greeting meant so much more than my eyes see you…. your body, your hair, your eyes, your clothing. It meant that 'I see what is deep within you.' My translation might be " I know you inside and out." 

What a lovely idea! Isn't this kind of being seen what we all long for? To be seen for who we really are. Not who the world wants to make us. Not with all the trappings of job, status, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, economic power. No. To be seen at the very core of who we are with its grace and grit, its joy and sorrow, its hope and humility, its flaws and cracks. Have you ever been seen in this deep way? How did it make you feel?

The gift of being seen, deeply known, is, I believe, a connection housed in the Sacred. It is the impetus of the phrase: Namaste….the Holy in me greets the Holy in you. To offer this greeting carries with it a huge vulnerability. To look deeply into the face of another who was also created in the image of God and to name that with great intention in the world, with the power of our voice, must change the very energy particles around us, must change our human DNA. So why don't we do it more? And mean it?

The last several days have been cloudy and rainy. The fog moved in this morning and settled like a blanket on the land outside my window. As I have been watching it dispel all morning, I have found myself squinting into the distance. Perhaps by noon the majority of it will have burned away or lifted into the higher heavens. But in my struggles to see further down the street, I thought of my need to be seen, really seen. I believe it is a human need that goes to our very core. And yet most of the time we stand in the fog that envelops us, some of which we have created ourselves. Standing in our foggy cloak we look longing into the unseen place, hoping, praying, someone will emerge and walk toward us with the words:"I see you." May it be so. May none of us go through any day without being truly seen by at least one other person. Without being seen by the Holy One.

      On the upper half of the poster are the faces of a man and a female blue alien with yellow eyes, with a giant planet and a moon in the background and the text at the top: "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic". Below is a dragon-like animal flying across a landscape with floating mountains at sunset; helicopter-like aircraft are seen in the distant background. The title "James Cameron's Avatar", film credits and the release date appear at the bottom.


"Today like ever day we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Waking up empty. Did you wake up empty today? I am not talking necessarily about waking up with an empty stomach. It is probably a good sign when that happens. It means we did not eat so much yesterday that we are still full from a day of over indulgence. That is not the emptiness I am talking about. We certainly know there are hundreds of thousands of people who wake up with empty stomaches, denied the life-giving nutrition most of us take for granted. May God's blessing be upon them today.

No, I am talking about a different kind of emptiness. That nagging feeling that makes a home at the center of who we are, longing to be filled with….what? Purpose? Creativity? Hope? Understanding? Companionship? God? This emptiness is that deep knowing that something is missing from our lives. It can be ignored but not forever. It can be anesthetized but not for long. This kind of longing left unattended breeds fear. Never a good thing.

We can try to fill this emptiness with all kinds of things…food, drink, overwork, distractions of all kinds. But in the end it is a longing that will not let us go because it somehow points us to a fuller knowledge of who we are, whose we are. I believe that in some way this emptiness, this longing to be filled, almost always points us toward some distance we experience from Spirit. The Sufi poet Rumi suggests that we find our way to filling this longing, not through more knowledge or greater study but through allowing ourselves to do what we love. Sounds nice, doesn't it? 

When was the last time you did something you truly love? Maybe you are one those blessed people whose work allows them to do what they love every day. I feel that blessing in the work I do. But this 'what we love' and its beauty takes many forms. What beauty is blessing your life, filling up the emptiness you feel? Is it time to tend this soil before it becomes a matter of urgency?Perhaps it already has.

It is a rainy day today and promises to be so for several more days. As the earth is being washed of its winter dirt, preparing for the spring that will certainly come, it is a good time to reflect on what it is you truly love and all the beauty that produces. Allowing the rain to wash over whatever has accumulated, creating an emptiness, a longing waiting to be filled, it is an opportunity to connect once again to those things that fill us. Whether it is taking down an instrument to make music or picking up up a paint brush to paint or reaching out to hold a child as you read them a story or simply staring out the window into the middle distance, all these acts might be the one to bring beauty out of what you love. It would be a good thing to do not only for yourself but for the world. It would an act of gratitude. 

It would be a prayer.