Saturday, June 30, 2007


Keeping our eyes open to the miracles of the world. Somewhere in my history the message was instilled that it was “playing with fire” to consider any interpretation of life outside of the Bible. If this is true, I have to wonder why all these other people, places and things were put on earth (i.e. created) if we aren’t supposed to pay attention to them.

That’s a long intro to say that hummingbirds have been showing up on my path and I think they are trying to tell me something. Some of you may recall that in the winter, dolphins became a symbol for me and reminded me to focus more on breath and movement.

Lately, I have been wrestling a bit with other topics. While I am a full believer that life is a journey to be lived rather than endured, some days the realities of life (pain, teenagers, people with all the answers) send me running for the covers. I am also a proponent of taking the time to rest, quit processing and let things just be for awhile, but realize that sometimes it can get a little too comfy down there under the “woes me” blanket and I need a reminder to ease off the covers.

Enter the hummingbird ☺. I have always been fascinated by these lovely creatures and recently they have been popping up everywhere—always at someone else’s home. Yesterday, however, I stood at my kitchen window and watched a hummingbird enjoying my garden. It was the first time I ever saw one in my own yard. I was spellbound.

This morning when I awoke, I thought “wouldn’t it be nice to just focus on the hummingbird today instead of all the other things?” And so after journaling I decided to look up the hummingbird in “Animal Speak.”

Did you know? (The following are quotes.)

• The hummingbird reminds us to find joy in what we do and to sing it out.
• It reminds us that if we truly enjoy what we are doing, we become light as a feather, and life is rich with nectar.
• The hummingbird can help you to find joy and sweetness in any situation. Its swiftness is always a reminder to grab joy while you can—as quickly as you can.
• The hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible. It will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.

Wonderful and rich reminders from such a little creature. And, so I start this day with the blessing of the hummingbird--in my humble opinion, one of God’s great creatures in a teeny tiny package.

Playing with fire? Hmmm. Maybe, but it feels like a risk worth taking!

photo from google images

Friday, June 29, 2007

Art is an Act of the Soul

“The ego has the power to keep us from making art, but it does not really have the power to make art itself. Art is an act of the soul.” Julia Cameron

My ego tells me not to write.

“You suck at writing. No one reads it anyway or if they do they don’t like it.”

But they keep coming back.

“Maybe. Who knows? You are like the one hit wonders of the 60’s and 70’s. You get a little piece here or there that someone likes, but you can’t really write. You have nothing original to say. Give it up. Fold up the blog. Post a few pictures (someone else’s pictures). Creativity? Give up that stuff. It doesn’t pay. It’s just a hobby anyway. You can write for fun but no one wants to read it. Others have said it all before and what’s so special about you?”

No. Wait. I am special. My art is a gift. A gift I give to myself. I can write for me. I love to write. I love the surprises. I find myself with words and peel away the layers as I write.

Lucy lives. Lucy inspires. Lucy creates. Art comes from the heart. My heart. My heart that is filled with joy. My cup overflows and I choose to give out of that abundance each day. Sometimes it is in the written word. Other days it is in relationship or subtle ways I cannot know.

I choose to give in words, deed and action. My lovely garden. A smile to a stranger. A random act of kindness. And, yes, Ms. Ego, I give with my writing.

It is an act of courage each day to turn down the ego and listen to the heart! Let's go for it!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Choose Life

Words from my journal--June, 2005:

I would love to spend another night out here and I realize/I KNOW that it would not be the same without the day. We need both--the bitter and the sweet (the dark and the light). When we have gone to hell and seen it, felt it, lived it--life is much sweeter just as the night's cool and calm contrasts to the heat and chaos of the day. Both/And. The whole package.

They will come in gradations but we need both. The fears will keep me running and reaching for life, lest I ever take life for granted. The bitter and the sweet. The swing of the pendulum. I may never know how far it needs to go to the dark side and often I don't have a choice especially where circumstances are out of my control. But, I can choose for myself how and where I go.

Will I covet and grovel in the pain and fear and anger and self-pity, etc. as I did yesterday? Or will I patiently wait and trust that the cool of the night will come? The heat is turning up as the sun is rising. How will I choose to stay cool?

I Choose Life!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jesus in Three Lines

Today I was presented with an interesting challenge. I was asked to share my “belief in and relationship with Jesus Christ” in the space of 2 ½ handwritten lines. Lucy really started to rebel and wanted to be quite flip about the whole thing, but seeing as how it was for a high school admissions application for my daughter I decided that “flip” might not be prudent.

So, I did what most normal people would do…I avoided the task. I procrastinated. I did a little journaling, read a few Bible verses and decided I was nearing a reasonable response when my beautiful friend, Lisa called. She and I share much in common with our faith having both grown up in pretty conservative circles and now as we have matured, we each find that simplicity is really what resonates most with us. I posed my predicament to Lisa and she quite simply responded, “When I am faced with describing Jesus I always fall back to unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.” Beautiful. Simple. Right on as far as Lisa and I are concerned.

After we hung up I went back to the dreaded form, considered Lisa’s words and my own ponderings and this is what I submitted:

“My relationship with Christ is everlasting, ever-changing and ever-seeking. When I describe Jesus, the words unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness are foremost in my heart and actions.”

Three lines. Simple. Pure. True. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see and experience God and life this simply?

Thanks Lisa!

photo - Lisa at Sunrise

Monday, June 25, 2007

the words will not come

the words will not come.
they do not flow like water.
they drip in my mind interrupting solace like a leaky faucet.
they come in ragged, jagged fits and bursts and then
they resist—stop—refuse to congeal and thus
leave me wanting—yearning—aching and unsure of what needs
or wants to be said or heard or read.

my words are insufficient.
cards held close to my vest.
“Thank you but your words are not right for us.”
“Have you tried this or that?”
words of advice slip through the air
and hang like graffiti on a wall.

needing words to communicate—to feel complete.
finding words get in the way.
mood and mystery.
is there meaning in this text?
mine or yours?

the inner (& sometimes outer) critic speaks.
in fits and spurts.
in screams and sighs.
the words will not come.
And they will not stop.

photo by bill h

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wouldn't it be awesome if...

This post by Jen Lemen is just too good to pass by.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Northwoods Contemplative's recent post "Solitude of Heart" shares some wonderful words from one of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen. (I hope you can take the time to read the whole post.) While reading I could not get the song by Kenny Loggins, "Conviction of the Heart" out of my head. The two are linked I believe.

A man or woman who has developed this solitude of heart is no longer pulled apart by the most divergent stimuli of the surrounding world but is able to perceive and understand this world from a quiet inner center. --Henri Nouwen

Do we forget or forgive?
Theres a whole other life waiting to be lived when...
One day we're brave enough
To talk with conviction of the heart.
--Kenny Loggins

You can see Loggins perform the whole song here.

I have to wonder if "Solitude of Heart" will not lead to "Conviction of the Heart." I'd love to know what you think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Listening Point

Check out a new group blog devoted to "Listening." You might even see a familiar voice there (say on June 19, 2007). Cheers!


Today I begin with a disclaimer stating that I am not a whiner by nature and really am not fond of the aging crowd’s propensity to discuss physical ailments as a source of entertainment, however, there is a point (I hope) to sharing my current discomfort. You see, I have been in physical pain for almost a month now. The pain appears to be in my right arm which is kind of a problem since I am right-handed. During my lifetime, I have come to realize that I have a pretty significant tolerance for pain that was first pointed out to me with the birth of my son and then again with my daughter as no pain medications were necessary for delivery. (I must add this is a point of pride for me and I should probably let it go, but probably not today ☺). My current pain has been one that I first noticed when I was in Texas facilitating a workshop and I thought I had slept wrong on my arm, but after several days, weeks and now a month the pain has not gone away.

I visited my chiropractor who said if this isn’t better in a day or so, come back. I went back two weeks later ☺ when I had myself convinced I had a tumor in my back and was probably going to die soon and for a moment or two that seemed okay. Always the question of what level (number) is your pain? I don’t know but it really hurts so it must be bad.

Now, why do I tell you all of this? Well, since visiting a massage therapist (the next recommended course of action) I have had vivid images rattling around in my head. I slept with them last night and had a great essay written in my dreams, but, of course, cannot remember those “perfect” words this morning. The idea, however, is along these lines: if we hold tightly to something, the pain will stay with us. It feels protective and better in the moment, but in the long run the pain and ineffectiveness only deepens rather than dissipating. Hmm. Sounds like life to me.

All those verses of “you must lose your life to gain it”; the old butterfly poster poem of “if you love something, set it free”; “surrender your will to find your dreams” keep running through my head. The momentary instinct has been to hold my arm close and keep the pain from radiating throughout my body; to sleep tightly bundled up so I don’t move and thus hurt. The pain seems to be in my arm and my arm wants to be protected, but what I discovered yesterday is that the culprit is really a muscle (or bunch of nerves) in my chest and everything radiates from there.

As I hold tightly the muscle shrinks and while the pain is better for the moment, this holding on is actually further limiting my ability to move. In fact, rather than sleeping in a still ball, I am better served by lying with my arms wide open, stretching the muscle rather than further constricting it.

And so, that is what I believe we are called to do with life. Stretch. We are to stretch with our arms wide open. If we do not we will atrophy. In other words, use it or lose it. Sometimes we need the protection and safety of curling up and covering our hearts, but in the long run we are called to risk. To risk that first pain that grabs us and says, “go no further.” We are called to look fear in the face and say, “today I will test myself just a little bit.” I will stretch my arm to see if I can move a little further.

Even though this is not exactly the essay I wrote in my sleep last night, I hope you get the picture. I still have a hundred metaphors running around in my brain about this whole incident, but bottom line is that today even though my arm still hurts (unfortunately cures are not instant and take some hard work), I have hope. I can feel more movement and I am working with the pain rather than against it. I hope I will choose to do the same with my life. I hope you will too ☺.

photo by mary jane hughlett - belgian congo circa 1950's

Friday, June 15, 2007

Me Times Eight

This afternoon I started to do Tess' Me Times Eight meme and found that my first five thoughts had to do with things I'm not sure I want to make public today. The "facts" generally read like something out of a teenager's diary. (Oh, I guess that would be MY teenage diary which I shall save for now). So, there's fact #1--I have a teenage diary rattling around in my not-so-teenage head.

#2 My mother was an Avon lady from the time I was four years old until I went to college at 18. With this vocation and her Southern upbringing, she instilled in me a love of lipstick. Never leave home without it.

#3 Wild as I feel inside sometimes, I often am described as "sweet" or "uptight." What's up with that?!?!? (Lucy gets a little crabby about the uptight comment.)

#4 When I was about 5 years old, I took tap dance lessons for about 2 weeks. I loved the shiny black shoes, but much preferred to stay home and watch "The Three Stooges" or was it Johnny Weismiller's "Tarzan"?

#5 At the age of forty, I decided I could do a triathlon after watching my husband complete many. It was quite a feat for me to accomplish the 1/2 mile open water swim, since oops...I Don't Swim! I am certain I was accompanied by an angel in bodily form who came alongside me, said, "what's your name?" and then, "o.k. we'll do this together." I honestly think I might have drowned or at least been pulled out of the water by the lifeguards if she had not talked me through it.

#6 In eighth grade I was very proud to read and complete "Gone with the Wind." I loved the book and hated the movie (not a popular opinion) because they left out too much. I still haven't figured out if it qualified as classic literature or an early romance novel. Any thoughts?

#7 One of my favorite childhood memories is of sitting on the stoop at my kindergarten teacher's house sharing an ice cream cone with her dog. I'd take a lick. Then he would take a lick. There is something so delightful about children's instincts before someone tells them they are doing something "wrong."

#8 My dad was a truck driver and I used to love to play Barbie's in his sleeper cab. One of my best memories was going on a trip with him to Tulsa (90 miles away from our home in Oklahoma City). I thought it was a serious road trip made all the more special by milkshakes and lemon drops along the way.

Well, that was some memorable randomness for a Friday afternoon. I, too, am going to break the rules and not tag anyone else, but if you'd like to play along just let me know. I'd love to hear some of your random silliness or seriousness.

Blessed Among Women

"Blessed are you among women." That is how I felt yesterday from several different venues. Today I would like to share a few of those blessings.

First, a dear friend & colleague of mine trusted me enough to share a bit of her journal and graciously agreed to let me post it here. Her words are a powerful reminder of listening and so much more.

"I had a thought, or a memory. I remembered my dream about the demons. I would always shout and strain to preach to them, dream after dream. I then had the dream that ended these reoccurring dreams. I whispered to the demons with ease and knew the power was there (God). It was effective,potent. In my counseling, I find myself straining (especially the early years) to help and speak and be with my clients. When I am tired, or feeling desperate for direction and wisdom I feel the same urge to push and strain. I find, though, that the Holy Spirit doesn’t need that ‘help’ from me. It’s best when I surrender, and allow the subtle, soft, power to fill me and the room. It’s me being more of an open, soft, hearing, and most of all trusting child in the battle of the moment. It’s in this place where I see the raise of an eyebrow, or the tiny crossing of some emotion brush the face of my client. It’s where I join them more deeply. This is something I’m so grateful to remember today. amen"

Oh, that I would remember to "whisper" with God's power rather than "push and strain."

The next blessing came in the form of a poem from my wonderful friend and talented writer at Chimayo Bound. Earlier in the spring, I searched for a poem about my radiant poppies and yesterday I received the gift of just such a poem. I hope you will go see the beautiful images and words here.

And finally the day ended with the inspiring words of Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. She said, "I think life is meant to be challenging. If we're going to use the fullness of the gifts that we've been given, it means we have to continue to be stretched, and I look forward to that." Me, too.

These words came in the context of an interview with Bill Moyers. You can find both the video and the transcript here. Her viewpoint as both scientist, theologian and woman was one I found to be beautifully inspiring.

My desire is that you will also be blessed by these women as I have been. Cheers!

photo/art "Church Lady" by Erin Andrews (another blessing)
poppy by Peg at Chimayo Bound

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Knowing God. Knowing Self.

God has met me this week through the words of Henri Nouwen. Monday morning as I sat shocked and reeling from my experience at church on Sunday, questioning my faith and hearing voices of my past and present telling me I had to know God their way to be “saved”, I opened Nouwen’s The Only Necessary Thing and these words greeted me:

"Once I “know” God, that is once I experience God’s love as the love in which all my human experiences are anchored, I can only desire one thing: to be in that love.”

Those words were like a warm hug enwrapping my small and oh so human body. Because, you see, I know that I have experienced the love to which Nouwen refers and I experienced it yet again in that very moment as tears of joy and surrender trailed down my face. There was nowhere else I desired to be. The voices of others faded away and only the voice of God commingled with mine existed.

The other “voices” that continue to battle for my attention are the ones that say “Self-knowledge is dangerous. It is selfish to consider yourself over others. You must only listen to the word of God (i.e. Scripture) for clear understanding.” With those voices I translate, “Don’t look inside yourself. You cannot be trusted. Only trust others who know more than you (i.e. pastors and scholars).” The battle is that I really don’t believe the translation and find myself caught between knowing that I can trust myself and realizing that the battle still rages on.

And so I share Nouwen’s words that greeted me today (I realize I have just spoken of being wary of only trusting “wiser” others, however, the difference for me lies in the words having resonance rather than dissonance in my soul.) His words definitely fall into the resonance category for me. See Reeling? Healing? Kneeling? for an example of dissonance ☺.

"The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make his love known to us there, to free us from our fears, and to make our own deepest self known to us. In the privacy of our heart, therefore, we can learn not only to know Jesus, but through Jesus to know ourselves as well…Each time you let the love of God penetrate deeper into you heart, you lose a bit of your anxiety; and every time you shed a bit of your anxiety, you learn to know yourself better and long all the more to be known by your loving God.

Thus the more you learn to love God, the more you learn to know and to cherish yourself. Self-knowledge and self-love are the fruit of knowing and loving God. You can see better now what is intended by the great commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Laying our hearts totally open to God leads to a love of ourselves that enables us to give whole-hearted love to our fellow human beings. In the seclusion of our hearts we learn to know the hidden presence of God; and with that spiritual knowledge we can lead a loving life.”

Again, I experienced the warm knowing that God was speaking directly to my heart--A heart desiring self-knowledge not because it is “selfish” but because it desires “to know the hidden presence of God…and lead a loving life.”


How and where do you meet God? What are the battles that rage inside your head?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Reflecting Pond

Today I would like to share a reading that showed up in my mailbox this morning, but first I need to say a little about the book from which it comes. Years ago (about 26 to be exact) I was going through a very difficult and challenging time. My brother-in-law (who I really knew on a very superficial level) gave me a reflection book for Christmas. It seemed an odd gift at the time considering the fact he may have already been my "ex" brother-in-law and I was a much younger sibling, but the gesture was one I really appreciated.

I am not sure I had ever owned such a book and it ended up being one that encouraged me through many difficult years. Several times in the past I tried to purchase the book for friends, but was never successful in finding it and was told it was out-of-print. Then about three years ago I started receiving "Today's Gift" on e-mail. Some days I delete the message and other times it meets me right where I am. One day I read an especially moving reflection only to find it came from (no mystery here) the inspirational book from my past. Amazingly, the book has followed me through many moves and continues to show up at the most appropriate times. Hmmmm.

So that's the short story of the book. Now here's today's message. (I especially love Seneca's quote at the end.)

Do we go about our daily work dutifully but joylessly? Have we settled for less in our jobs, homes, or relationships than we want? Have we substituted financial security or physical comfort for the freedom to pursue our heart's desires?

Very few of us give ourselves the opportunities to explore our real interests and potentials. We "lock" ourselves into rigid ways of regarding the world and our options. We often settle for less than our highest aspirations because we have conditioned ourselves into thinking life is joyless endurance or survival at best.

In order to change the empty circumstances in our lives we need to change our limited thinking patterns. Instead of looking at life as a prison, we can view it as a smorgasbord of opportunities that are well within our reach. By exploring and sampling the choices before us we can discover which choices bring us inner satisfaction and increase our sense of purpose.

TODAY I will remind myself of what Roman philosopher Seneca said hundreds of years ago: "The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach..."

from The Reflecting Pond by Liane Cordes

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Dance

“My dance. No one does it like I do. I am delighted and slightly disturbed by so much responsibility riding on me just being me. It seems that when I begin to experience fully and wholly the sweet spots of life, doubt starts to creep in. Can this be real? How long will it last? Recently, I have fought the words “courageous” and “brave” as they have been ascribed to me. Why? It feels like a battle for my soul. If I continue to step into life and live peacefully in the midst of craziness, it is a threat to evil. It is breaking the chains that bind me to daily drudgery and mediocrity.”

Saturday, I was cleaning and sorting my computer files and ran across the above-undated words. When did I write them? What was going on in my life? As time would have it, those words seem equally as appropriate (possibly even more so) today than they did the day I originally penned them. There is definitely a battle going on. This morning I wrote in my morning pages that there are things I desire to say that Lucy would just go ahead and write without care to what others may think. As I write now, I ponder why do I hold back? What am I afraid of? (It took me two tries to get over my fear of hanging prepositions and leave the previous sentence as is.) If I am afraid of proper grammar then how much more hesitant will I be as I continue to bump up against the ingrained voices of my past and present? Fortunately, I can choose. It is, after all, “my dance” and with Lucy by my side who knows what may happen? Stay tuned and journey along with me because as my tagline says:

“I write to discover what I know” –Flannery O’Connor (& me)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Healing? Kneeling? Reeling?

Step right on up, folks. No need to think for yourself. We’ve got it all figured out. Don’t worry about the questions. We’ll just let you know what the answers are. Here’s the cup. Here’s the bread. Don’t think. Don’t chew. Just swallow. Don’t be too scared, but make sure there’s enough healthy fear in there to keep you on the right path. (It's the narrow one, by the way.) Make sure enough doubt hangs in your mind that our sure-fire assurance takes hold of you. Don’t walk away from the truth. What is the truth, you ask? Don’t worry about figuring that out for yourself, because we already have all the answers and will be happy to give them to you. No need to think. Thinking just confuses things. It’s Satan’s way of getting into your mind. Poisoning your thoughts. Just step right on up and pray to Jesus, because this is the truth: He is the ONLY way. Sorry about all those poor folks who can’t get that figured out. Sure glad we’re the chosen ones. That’s what scripture says and I can’t change that. Too bad, so sad. Amen and have a nice day ☺!

Truth or fiction? Imagination or reality? Past or present?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Passion and Glory

“Participation in glory is the greatest thrill one can have on this earth.” When I heard these words spoken recently by Professor Dan Allender something stirred deep within me. Glory and passion seem uniquely intertwined. As I shared the post, “Passionate Loess” I thought I was relaying my witness of one man’s passion. I was pleasantly surprised by how this witness stirred others to consider their own passion.

My passion is seeing other people come alive. It is something that comes in the most unexpected of times and places. I have seen glory in perfect transformation when a woman long bent over from the weight of her world stood tall with a new awareness shining upon her face. I saw glory as an addict realized that his hunger for drugs was representative of a deeper longing and he chose to nourish his soul rather than his habit. I see glory when my readers here struggle through their own process to name their passion. Many passionate comments were made in response to the post, and they were a delight to read. Two readers actually went on to make their own posts regarding passion. I hope you will take the time to visit Tess and Sunrise Sister.

Gabrielle in her comments referred to my Lenten prayer where I wrote “That is my work, my joy, and…my Lenten prayer (my Life prayer)—to be fighting with and on behalf of truth and beauty for myself and others. Seeking the beauty and glory that we may not be able to see in ourselves. Fighting the battle alongside each other. While I know we must do it for ourselves, we do not have to do it alone. We can travel this path together—learning from one another.”

Thank you to those who are willing to join me on this path and share your passions and fears with Lucy. Together we can participate in glory, experiencing “the greatest thrill one can have on this earth.”

Here’s to a glorious and passion-filled weekend.

photo by bill hughlett

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One of those Days

Do you every have those days where you are out of sorts for no good reason? Today appears to be one of those days for me. I have felt a little sluggish all week and the Seattle weather has been true to its advertised nature—rainy, gray and too cold for June. I pondered as to whether or not I might have seasonal affective disorder or maybe I am hitting a middle-aged something. I completed my morning pages thinking an answer might pop out in the writing. I considered listening to favorite music, going back to sleep, meditating more with God, but you know what? Today just feels like one of those days that Lucy would pull the football out from underneath Charlie Brown and smile when he falls. It’s certainly not a favorite side of my disposition and in reality I think I would have more restraint than to deliberately cause another harm. My psychoanalytical brain really wants to get to the root of what may be going on, however, Lucy kind of wants to grovel in her grumpiness for awhile and let the gray clouds do their thing.

How about you? Ever have one of those days?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Space for God

Sometimes I am overcome by the blessings that abound in my life. I am privileged to be part of a transformative process for others and in the process am continually renewed and transformed myself. Last week, I spent time in West Texas at a ranch some would call barren and desolate. I would call it anything but that.

I wish I were a poet so I could describe all the wonder around me; like the army of minuscule ants streaming up and down the porch pole; the small bird so confident, swaying and speaking from the top of a cottonwood tree; the soft brown bunnies frolicking in the grass; the paintbrush of color spread across the field—shades of red, maroon, violet that I cannot describe mixed with layers of yellow and golden wildflowers; the occasional fuchsia petals looking like purple round porcupines perched on top of gentle stems so inviting yet hiding the tiniest barbs to protect their lovely necks; the buzzing flies and biting mosquitoes, while not my favorite, also have their place.

The gentle breeze touches my skin—Yahweh speaks; clouds so light they look like feathers; a bobwhite calls in the distance. The earth sways with the voice of God, so soft and tender this morning in stark contrast to the majesty and power of the booming thunder and brilliant light show witnessed the night before. The pounding rain turning the red dirt into clay ready for the potter to mold.

My heart cries, “Mold me. Shape me. Wash over me. Cleanse me. Make me pure of heart and gentle like the breeze; strong as the storm yet pliable as the clay. Meet me here, oh God.”

The gentle wind responds, “I am here. Give me space, and time will cease to exist.”

The grass blows in the breeze like stalks of wheat ready for harvest. The grape vines are gone, left in their place a pathway of tiny white flowers. The earth continues. Nature finds its path, its rhythm. The breath of life. The voice of God.

What if with every breath we call God’s name? My heart is here giving God space. God--the ultimate poet. Romantic. The scribe of the world. Magnificent artist. Ultimate in glory. Amen.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Passionate Loess

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” --Howard Thurman

Have you ever watched a grown man turn into an excited little boy right before your eyes? Or witness a woman so filled with energy that she glows like a kid at the circus? Those transformational moments are Passion—with a capital P. They are life-giving not only for the participant, but also for the lucky bystanders.

We can find passion in the most ordinary of things. I can only imagine the delight and playfulness that God has for creation. Saturday, I had the pleasure of witnessing a man share his passion. Kevin Pogue is a professor of geology (among other things) at Whitman College in Walla Walla and this past weekend led a tour of the wine country land around the area.

While I enjoy a nice glass of wine, I am certainly no connoisseur; and, although I love digging in my garden, I distinctly remember being bored to death in my freshman geology class (Rocks with Ross) at Oklahoma State University. Saturday, however, the earth came alive and took on new dimensions as we stood in the hot Eastern Washington sun mesmerized by our tour guide.

We learned about basalt and loess (a fancy word for dirt) and the Walla Walla valley’s alluvial fan (a term I kind of remembered from geology class). We heard how finer grapes are produced when the root has to struggle for water. We were wowed by a vineyard planted in 30 feet deep river rock with flourishing rose bush sentries guarding each row.

All of those things were delightfully captivating and upon reflection I wondered how that happened to be. Now it could be that I have matured and my attention span increased since my freshman geology class over 30 years ago. Possibly it is because I have significantly more interest in the earth and creation that surrounds me every day. While both observations are probably true, I would have to say the magic of the day came in watching and listening to someone do what they truly love. Think about this, he was talking about DIRT for goodness sake.

Nevertheless, when he stood on the side of a small “Grand Canyon,” warned us to steer clear of the rim that has been known to “spontaneously disintegrate” and then said, “what the heck” and charged off the side of the cliff, he became a young spirit romping through the tall, probably rattlesnake-infested grass to show us what he wanted to communicate. While we gasped from our safe viewpoint and muttered, “Oh, I wish he hadn’t done that,” the earth transformed from just dirt and the man transformed from a middle-aged person into a passionate being that made even the most inert of objects (rocks and dirt) become exciting and interesting. It was truly a gift to behold and experience. Now that is Passion!

Oh, that we could all find what makes us come alive. Tell me. What is your passion? Do you know?

photos by bill hughlett (another man sharing his passion!)