Sunday mid-morning Front porch drenched in sunshine Or not Warm Or not Front porch with the dirty white railings The small metal what is that French word Corner plant stand Wrought iron furniture The rock we brought back from The beach in Homer, Alaska The pottery bowl On the plant stand Small stones and dry leaves Not filling the inside but there The old tall brown milk jug That my friend whose name I can’t now recall Brought me flowers in When she learned my father had died Even though I hadn’t seen or spoken to my father For what was it 3 years Before sitting at his deathbed With that skeletal remnant of my once Tall father, striding home from work, On long legs Whistling But then the drinking The hurts The threats The arrest The time in jail for threatening My mother Trying to extort money for her safety From my sister and me We had to testify in a courtroom Where my father sat Seventy years old Shackled Orange prison jumpsuit Between two guards Orange was not the color of love That day Now The milk jug is part of the porch With the small animal figurines That grace the French whatchamacallit Corner plant stand Figurines from my mother’s front porch In Mississippi before she moved here with us The rough wooden cross That Woody made for my Sunday School class Now sits on the small table on the small porch Where Bev brings Mom Communion every Sunday While I bow my head and pray my memories
Dopamine Steadfast, pleasing dopamine Soak me with contentment As I eat As I sleep As I shower Oxytocin Saucy, natural oxytocin Suffuse me with love When I reach out to friends When I pet a dog When I help someone Serotonin Sweet, necessary serotonin Steep me with well-being As I walk through sunshine As I pause to breathe deeply As I move through asanas Endorphins Strong, happy endorphins Saturate me with pleasure When I exercise When I laugh When I dance And when I pray? When I remember My generous generating God? Whose gentle breath Created a world Whose dragon breath Consumes only as a lover Enflames the heart Strengthens the will Emboldens the soul Steadfast God of dopamine Grant me the wisdom to care for myself Saucy God of oxytocin Grant me the love to care for others Sweet God of serotonin Grant me the appreciation of your world Strong God of endorphins Grant me pleasure through my years God of my needs God of my wants God of my satisfactions God of my pleasures Grant me your grace
You know the great thing about God? She isn’t easy to offend. I haven’t quite figured out Yet How to reconcile my easy going deity With Yahweh the Terrible Ready to command the slaying of multitudes Often reluctant to forgive Without extravagant penitence Sending His people into exile Because they just didn’t measure up Requiring the sacrifice of His own Son As a criminal on a cross With lots of blood In atonement for an ancient offense Yeah I learned that God I knew Him well Through a fearful childhood Never dared turn my back on Him Not for one nanosecond He would strike me down in His great wrath So I decided I had better become a nun Because what else chance had I Of earning heaven Then A little later It was years of lonely non-faith Because I gave up Easier to stop believing Than to I accept that Nun or not I had NO chance of earning heaven I just wasn’t ever going to be good enough But then A little later again Hey Presto! It’s OK! Remember that gory death Of God’s own Son? Well, God Himself The Great Yahweh Earned heaven for us By that ugly death Say what? More years of confused faith Before I realized that I might as well believe someone Earned my height for me Or my eye color As earned heaven for me Meanwhile Back in those heavenly realms God the Eternal is Forever patient with me She waits while I ignore Her She waits while I confuse Her With theology and theocracy She out waits my anger She out waits my preoccupations She positively lurks In the corners and shadows Of my life And then When I am ready again When I greet Her She grins from ear To universe-spanning ear She does a cartwheel over the sun And tosses the moon from hand to hand She juggles a few stars And throws down a sunbeam or two Weeps torrents of joy Claps her hands in time with the thunder Dances through the green grass Gyrating and grinding like a rock and roll star Just because She is happy to see me again.Continue reading
[We have to create peace and reason within our own hearts and homes. Madeleine L'Engle]
We made a decision A few weeks ago Not to stop watching DCI Banks and Bones NCIS and The Durrells in Corfu Those wonderful shows Where crimes are solved Arguments are resolved Happily ever after happens In less than 60 minutes Each night But one night a week We tell YouTube to educate us About food insecurity Climate change Sustainable farming How to feed nine billion people Many of whom want more red meat But also India India, with one-fifth the land of the United States And about the same population as China We tried to imagine 2 million people Instead of 150,000 in our little city Wearing masks, trying to keep distance Today, just a little while ago, I said “YouTube Israel Palestine history” (OK, I admit I added “please” But I muttered it quietly) What we saw was instructive But not hopeful The narrator seemed to think It would be more hopeful If we only understood That it was not a religious conflict Just a land and water rights conflict So my prayers, morning and night, Are somewhat angry these days I know the world is as it has ever been And my awareness has little to do with The goodness or troubles of God’s creation But it has everything to do with My own creation of peace and reason Within myself, within my home How do I model myself -- In love, justice, mercy -- On an all powerful omniscient Creator A divine person who, I am told, is my Personal lord and savior To be welcomed into my heart But who does not protect Their own creation?