The Holy One has told you, O mortal,
what is good;
and what does the Almighty require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
What keeps you grounded through the seasons of your life?
After years of practice,
studying the scales and measures of an integrated life,
I’ve let go of most everything once held dear.
The heart is stretched through suffering, and enlarged.
But O the agony of this enlarging of the heart,
that one may be prepared to enter into the anguish of others!
Thomas R. Kelly
For a while, my pantheon
housed an array minor deities,
each promising to carry me closer to fulfillment.
Disciplines of asceticism, rigor and repetition,
devotional ardor, meditation and mindfulness,
philosophical and theological argument, right action and social concern…
…each has taken its turn on the podium,
pointing out potential pathways to perfection,
and nudging me along.
Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution,
reality ever newborn; you who,
by constantly shattering our mental categories,
force us to go ever further and further
in our pursuit of the truth.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Now, at home with my weaknesses,
I am spreading wide
and slowing like an aged river.
My longing for life,
in its many emanations,
has become my prayer.
And knowing we don’t have much time
to walk the soft grass together,
I intend to take my time, and share it generously.
In nature, I have observed
how roots come first when a seed germinates,
drawn by gravity to penetrate earth’s loamy heart.
In my ceaseless to-ing and fro-ing,
I have noticed that it is the grave
that pulls me back to the center.
Grave human realities
hold me here,
rooted in place and time.
Still, every new day
life teaches me
to live in the raw and relish the immediate.
Life never disappoints
those determined enough
to stay awake.
Whether in tatters at the tragic losses of the day,
or smirking at my own awkward antics,
abundance greets me with simple treasures.
I am startled
by the fragrant bounty of wild flowers,
and acrobatic tree swallows gulping, openmouthed at the wind.
…when present in the moment, I view life more deeply,
I meet life through an awakened sensibility,
and I make more peaceful decisions…
Like all of us, I struggle
with trying to control what happens
and trying to participate in what happens.
Gravity and levity, soul and spirit,
mind and body, muscle and sinew, wonder and worry…
there is room for all this and more in a life slowly savored.
This brings me back to the ABCs,
a simple, three–step shuffle,
inspired by Micah.
What is living all about?
What is asked of us?
Have we not already been told?
A- Gratitude is the motive for right living.
B- Mercy is the courageous, tender response to every situation.
C- Humility is the honest pathway to becoming fully human.
Abundant life reveals itself
in the moment
when I cease expecting, wanting, needing more.
As you cycle through the ancient mysteries
of living to die and dying to live,
may you take your time to suffer and savor in the company of those you love.