SYLLABIC CYCLE- Groton, Mass/ 1960

Why do we move at all?

Born we, and some time in

Happiness spend, then dark

Blood begins to move.

Dark blood, bitter love

Of darkness, streams stark

Fears through any stable mien–

Nubile apparitions burst–

Silences exist as null,

And nothing as nothing is.

 

Echos of the question call:

Why do we move at all?

We stir and cease;

And that is all. That is all.

 

I GIVE LIFE; NOW LIVE!

I’ve been reading Paul’s letter to the Romans.  At first I just loved the vigorous energy of his writing and his cheeriness, and good humor, and the jocular assurance that somehow he would find a way to lay aside all that was demanded of him and to actually make the voyage over to Rome…  Then come 10 chapters of fundamental Christian theology, about the knowable nature of God, the act of God in Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit; about the fundamental change in the spiritual equation between God and human brought about by God’s gift of Jesus; about how that relates to Jews and how to non-Jews; about how the difference is obliterated and how it is not; about the mystery of grace and predestination… At this point I am slogging. I am reading 3 translations. Paul’s discourse is pretty organized, so at natural pause points I retrace what I have read in the other 2 translations. I am seeking God’s revelation to my understanding. I am hoping to not be snared in the particular wording of a particular translation and thereby to be led away from what a passage actually says. Predestination, because of Calvin’s theological interpretation which I find totally unchristian, has so much emotional freight; It was very hard to get through chapter 11. But I know the Quakers did battle with the Calvinists using these same passages. In the 4th,  5th, and last 4 verses of the 11th chapter, the Quakers clearly had a better grasp of Paul’s whole message. I will need to go back reread many times the sweep messaging Paul transmits about… what we can know about God…those last 4 verses say ruefully= NOT MUCH! And that corresponds exactly with my experiences of God….

But by this point I was slogging because what I most urgently want to know was= How do I DO this walk day-to-day? How do I let God loose in my life and freely manifest what He wants to manifest with me?   And suddenly, in chapter 12, Paul turns to exactly that question. When I saw that, I had to stop and write all this, because I need to acknowledge the encounter with the miraculous, mysterious way Jesus shepherds me, negotiating me past all the pitfalls I have built into my nature, leading me to nourishment, and the still water my nature requires, until I am ready for the answers to the questions which pick at my peace. And just in time too.

AND JESUS SAYS  I GIVE LIFE, NOW LIVE….

HEAD AND FEET DRAWN IN

TRUST IN THE ABIDING PRESENCE AND PROTECTION OF GOD DEVELOPS FROM THE HARDEST EXPERIENCES IN LIFE, NOT THE EASIEST OR MOST JOYFUL. SINCE GOD BECAME THE CENTER OF MY LIFE, I HAVE HAD A LONG APPRENTICESHIP LEARNING TO KEEP HIM THERE. NEARLY EVERY ASPECT OF MY PERSONALITY, SENSE OF SELF, EGO, WILL, HABITS OF MIND, AND LIVING SKILLS ARE AT ODDS WITH ANY NOTION OF DEPENDING ON GOD TO GUIDE MY LIFE. AT FIRST I WOULD AWAKE TO THE FACT I WAS OPERATING IN DEFAULT SELF-CENTERED MODE WITH NO AWARENESS OF GOD AT ALL; IT WAS OFTEN QUITE LATE IN A GIVEN DAY… LIKE AT THE END… WHEN I WOULD SUDDENLY HAVE THAT THOUGHT—OH. YEAH: GOD. And that is just having GOD-awareness; never mind appreciation of the moment-by-moment miracles of being alive in the world, savoring the joys of being at play in the fields of the Lord, being open hearted with others, seeing into the needs of others, desiring to be of help, loving—- as I have been loved, giving freely of what I have been given— and, most important, being grateful for the continuing gift of life.

So I find, after 4 years of practice, including a long period of house-bound isolation and intense physical pain, that I seem to have learned something important= that God has always been present when I have reached out for Him. That all my needs are met. That any scarcity I imagine, when honestly examined, turns out to be a mind game in my own head; indeed the only real enemy I have encountered in the last 4 years has been me; that all the pain and suffering I have experienced over the last 9 months was consequent to the stubborn insistence on my part that I had to run an errand during an ice storm at the end of last January! But I sure have learned a lot about trust in my Father while dealing with those consequences, because without Him I would surely have gone back to drinking over facing just one more day, but also, because I was house-bound, I found and online community of loving people and have experienced a renaissance of happiness, gratitude, and grace in my life BEFORE the pain and immobility began to abate. It seems like it takes a lot to get me to get humble enough to grow. I forgot to even ask for healing, but suddenly I started getting better. TRUST. FAITH. THE LORD, MY SHEPHERD. 

I think it is time to stick my feet and arms and head out from my shell and amble on down the road now. I will know where I am going when the Shepherd has led me there.

BEING BORN AGAIN, AGAIN

WHEN I AWOKE THIS MORNING, I FELT ALIVE…  STRETCHED THE KINKS OUT AND GOT UP AND WENT TO THE BATHROOM…WENT TO THE KITCHEN SINK AND GRABBED THE EDGE WITH BOTH HANDS…WENT UP ON MY TOES, STRAIGHT-ARMED, ARCHED MY WHOLE BODY INTO A PERFECT BACK BOW…SLOWLY STRAIGHTENED UPRIGHT, STILL ON MY  TOES, ARMS STILL STRAIGHT, SLOWLY BOWED FORWARD WHILE LETTING MY KNEES BEND WHILE SLOWLY SINKING TO THE FLOOR, ARMS STILL STRAIGHT UNTIL BUTT TOUCHES FLOOR…THEN LET MY HEELS COME DOWN TO THE FLOOR, AND EXCEPT FOR THE GRIP OF MY HANDS, RELAXED TOTALLY…DELICIOUS BITE OF LIVING…THEN  PULL MYSELF UPRIGHT WITH MY ARMS…KNEES LOOSE, SPINE STRAIGHT, CHIN LEVEL, HEAD BALANCED OVER HIPS…TURN AND WALK TO THE BACK DOOR, OPEN AND CHECK THAT THE SCREEN DOOR IS LATCHED…TURN BACK UNTIL FACING THE FRONT DOOR THROUGH KITCHEN AND WORKSHOP… NOW THE LONG, SLOW, MINDFUL, FLOWING WALK TO THE FRONT…

FRONT DOOR OPENS ON WETNESS AND A CRISP BREEZE RIFFLING THE D#MINOR9 CHIMES SOFTLY AS I BACK SLOWLY TO THE CENTER OF THE ROOM… I STAND RELAXED AWAITING THE SUN…ALMOST WEIGHTLESS, TIMELESS IN WAITING…FAR IN THE BACK OF MY MIND COMES…PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW…PRAISE HIM ALL CREATURES HERE BELOW…PRAISE HIM ABOVE YE HEAVENLY  HOSTS…PRAISE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST…LIGHT STRIATIONS OF CLOUD, TINGED YELLOW… I SEE YOU AS YOU ARE; NOW SEE ME AS I AM…A RAY OF ORANGE IN BROADENING YELLOW…SIGHT BLURS, HEART FULL, BEATING, BEATING…NO TIME, NO TIME, HARDLY BREATHING…DENSE BEVY OF SMALL BIRDS SPRAY OUT LIKE A FOUNTAIN AS THE FIERY RING  BREACHES THE LAST BARRIER AND  MAKES DAY... I AM BATHED IN MORNING’S GLORY- A RAIMENT WEIGHTLESS WITH SHINE…FEELING MY SHADOW FLEE BACK FROM MY HEELS…GLORY, GLORY, GLORY,  GREAT GOD ALMIGHTY! LET ME FEEL THY SPIRIT PRESENCE ALL THE DAY LONG. REJOICE, REJOICE, MY HEART, MY SAVIOR IS HERE…..”THE WIND HOVERING OVER THE WATER” CREATION, THE INVISIBLE MOVING THE VISIBLE, A BAPTISM INTO A NEW LIFE…THERE IS A WETNESS ON MY HEAD AND THE WORLD IS PUDDLE WONDERFUL  AND THE LITTLE BIRDS MAKE JOYFUL PEEPS… AND ALL THE DAY MY HEART WILL BE HAPPY AS I WORK…BLESS ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE YOU HAVE BROUGHT INTO MY LIFE; BRING COMFORT TO ALL WHO SORROW OR FRET FOR LOVED ONES; BRING SERENITY TO THOSE WHO FEAR OR RAGE AT THE CHAOS OF OUR TIMES; LET ALL REMEMBER THY PERFECT PROVISION AND TRUST THE MEETING OF ALL THEIR NEEDS; THY PEACE AND PROTECTION HOVER OVER ALL AND SHEPHERD US TO STILL WATER…WE THANK THEE FOR THE GRACE OF THY REALITY, SUFFICIENT UNTO THE DAY.

PRAYER OF SACRIFICE AND FOR REDEMPTION

I AM CONCERNED ABOUT MY SPIRITUAL HEALTH AND I AM RELUCTANT TO TALK ABOUT IT OR EVEN THINK ABOUT IT AND IT HAS BEEN QUITE A LONG TIME SINCE I HAVE TAKEN THESE THINGS BEFORE MY FATHER AND SACRIFICED THEM TO HIS WILL. ONCE MORE I DISCOVER THAT DULL, LISTLESS FEELING OF STUMBLING TOWARD A CHASM, A PIT OF ABANDONMENT.

I HAVE A VERY STRONG WILL WHEN IT COMES TO SELF DESTRUCTION. JESUS IS CALLING ME TO STOP AND LOOK INTO MYSELF AND MAKE THE CHOICES WHICH ARE MINE TO MAKE: DEATH OR LIFE. MY WILL OR HIS WILL RULING. DEATH OR LIFE: CHOOSE

THIS IS AN ACT OF FAITH TO HERE CONFESS TO SELF AND FRIENDS AND ENEMIES ALIKE THIS CORE OF MY INSANITY.  BY HIS GRACE THE HOLY ONE HAS LIFTED ME AND GIVEN ME A LIFE REDEEMED. AND I AM GRATEFUL AND A BETTER MAN THAN I WAS. BUT JESUS HAS BEEN GENTLY HERDING ME TO THE STILL LITTLE POOL AT THE MOUTH OF THE SPRING TO DRINK THAT COLD, CLEAN WATER AND ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM MORE FULLY COMMITTED AND FIT TO DO MY FATHERS WILL.

I AM A HEAVY SMOKER SINCE THE AGE OF 17 TO NOW. THOUGH I DO NOT MUCH THINK ABOUT IT, BUT WHEN I DO,  I RECOGNIZE IT AS MY WILL TO DIE MANIFESTED.  I WILL NOT DIE BY CANCER BUT BY DROWNING IN THE FLUIDS OF MY LABORING LUNGS. RIGHT NOW, AS I WRITE, I AM CHAIN-SMOKING, A SYMPTOM OF EXTREME STRESS. IT IS A CRIME OF MURDER AGAINST MYSELF ON JUDGEMENT THAT I AM NOT WORTHY TO LIVE. AN ARROGANCE AGAINST MY CREATOR’S WILL, WHO MADE ME.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I’VE HARMED NOT ONLY MYSELF IN THIS, BUT MORE GRIEVOUSLY, I’VE HARMED THOSE WHO BOUND THEIR LIVES TO MINE IN LOVE.  LYING, HIDING, SECOND-HAND SMOKE, SELF-CENTERED ATTENTION, MASKED RELATING, PETTY RESENTMENTS, ALL CONSPIRED TO DESTROY TRUST BETWEEN US AND ATE THE LOVE ALIVE UNTIL THERE WAS ONLY HUSK. MY CHILDREN ARE AMONG THE INNOCENT VICTIMS OF MY WILLFUL DENIALS.

  THERE IS ANOTHER MATTER, HARDER TO CONFESS. THAT NATURAL COMPLEX  OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL COMPONENTS FUSED, MY SEXUALITY, WAS ROUSED TO EXPRESSION IN LATE CHILDHOOD, BEFORE PUBERTY. DISCOVERING THE EVIDENCE, MY MOTHER BROUGHT ME SHAMING; SO  I LEARNED TO HIDE. I WAS SUCCESSFUL, BEING CLEVER. PART OF MY EXTREME SHYNESS WITH FEMALES AFTER PUBERTY WAS DUE TO MY FANTASIES ABOUT THEM, WHICH I COULD NOT EVEN BEGIN TO ACT UPON. I WAS SEVERELY PUNISHED WITH HUMILIATION EVERY TIME I WAS DRIVEN TO MAKE WHAT SMALL GESTURES I ATTEMPTED TO INDICATE INTEREST. LOOKING BACK, I REALIZED THAT UNDERMINING EVERY RELATIONSHIP IS THE SELF-JUDGEMENT THAT MY INTENTIONS ARE NOT HONEST. THIS CORRUPTION HAS HARMED EVERYONE I’VE EVER LOVED. EVENTUALLY THIS JUDGEMENT RULED ALL RELATIONSHIPS, EVEN WITH MYSELF.

SO BY HOLDING ON TO THESE TWO THINGS, MY CONSCIOUSNESS REMAINS CORRUPTED, THOUGH SAVED. I’VE REACHED A POINT, DEAR JESUS, WHERE I MUST CONFESS MY RECOGNITION THAT I CANNOT FIX THESE THINGS IN ME NOR EVEN WILL THEM TO NOT BE. MY SENSE OF SELF IS SO CHAINED TO THEM I CANNOT IMAGINE BEING ME AT ALL WITHOUT WHAT IS AT THEIR CORE. NOR CAN I CLAIM I TRULY UNDERSTAND. I AM AT THE END OF UNDERSTANDING MYSELF. I CAN THINK OF NO FURTHER EXCUSE. MY LIFE HAS BECOME A BURDEN I CAN NO LONGER BEAR. AS MUCH AS I AM ABLE, I HAVE SURVEYED ALL THE HARM TO OTHERS I HAVE DONE AND KNOW I HAVE NOT PLUMBED IT ALL. TO BE ISOLATE AND CELIBATE DOES NOT SUFFICE TO ABSOLVE ME; INDEED, IT IS ARROGANT SELF-JUDGEMENT WHICH ONLY FORTIFIES MY DEATH-WISH.

I HUMBLY CONFESS MY SIN AGAINST THE LIFE I HAVE BEEN GIVEN. ON MY OWN I HAVE NO FUTURE; IN MY SELF I AM WITHOUT HOPE, EXCEPT IN THEE. ONCE AGAIN I AM ON MY KNEES. I SURRENDER TO THE JUDGEMENT OF THE HOLY ONE

I AWAIT THY WILL. THY WILL, NOT MINE BE DONE…

It is the first miracle

I was ever aware of,

First of many miracles since,

A mystery that stays a mystery

And I in wonderment,

And so live I daily, myst’ry at the core.

We walk now, He and I, along sea-salted shore,

Down that needled path from the Chapel

That’s down the leafy path from the Spring,

An everlasting water flow

Of freely proffered Grace

 On my knees

Received.