The widow’s might

what if the widow’s

mite was hope, and she spent all

she had to live on

Posted in haiku, lectionary reflection, poetry, prayer | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Olive branches over ordnance

Before we left, I put away the sewing machine, picked up pins, gave the empty cotton reels to the cats for toys, kept the leftover, little strips of orange fabric because, you know, they might be useful for something, cleared off the dining room table and set the chairs back in their places, ready for reunion, festival, feast.

img_9092.jpg

We travelled to a region renowned for its unresolved strife, the difficult rifts of generations, the generations of Adam, Abel, Cain. We travelled through a city besieged by its own internal tensions, although you wouldn’t know it from the olive groves that seem to outlive eternity, offering their weary-wise branches to pigeons and pilgrims.

Back home, there were no more olive groves, and instead of fresh bread, first I rolled across our dining table fresh orange fabric, pulled out the pins. They spill and scatter like hidden ordnance, spread across our domestic landscape, ready to do damage, draw blood, vandalize lives.

IMG_3249

The olive trees, ancient and observant, hearing the blood that cries out from the land, whisper that the answer to Cain’s crime cannot be to take the hoe from his hand and hand him an AR-15.

Posted in current events, Gun control, gun safety, story | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What will we do?

The sorry truth is that we will not vote anti-semitism out of existence tomorrow. We will not unseat racism, which has settled its bones so comfortably into the fabric of our national couch. We will not disabuse the abuser of his notion of his own superiority, so fragile, set to a hair trigger. We will not uninvent the gun, nor unwind its evolution into the artificial intelligence it has become, writing its own code into our disrupted DNA.

We will not, in a moment, put down the mighty from their thrones and lift up the lowly; fill the hungry with good things on the expense accounts of the rich.

We will do what we can. We participate in one another’s futures. So we will offer our presence, our presence of mind, our best efforts to love one another in word, in deed, by statute. So we will vote: if nothing else, it disturbs the proud in the conceits of their heart. We vote; we must, to heal the sick, bless the meek, to comfort those who mourn.

We will not save the world tomorrow. Who, after all, do we think that we are?

So what will we do today, today, and today as citizens of the kingdom of heaven, to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with our God; to walk in love as Christ loved us; to dedicate our hearts, minds, souls, and strength to the constitution and covenant of God?


Photo via Episcopal Evangelists on Facebook

Posted in current events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inspire

Why wait for inspiration when
before the breath that catches on creation,
shucks life into eternity, expires
before the face of God aspired
the Spirit had already taken wing,
hefting feathers into flight,
breaching the horizon of the first Word,
advent of the night.

Posted in poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

We talked about this

Shackled to the shadows
of a brutalist building, words
barely grazing our lips,
we talked about this.

Our breath stirred the air,
that sabbath exhalation
at the end of creation;
the wordless sigh of God.

Posted in current events, poetry, prayer | Leave a comment

Why I take pictures of cats

Above the Monastery in Petra, signs direct visitors to some of the best views. “Best View in Petra,” boasts one. “Best Panorama,” cries another, like street vendors selling their wares. One simply shouts, “VIEW.”View above the Monastery, Petra That one had moved since last time, as had its little tea tent, quiet two years ago except for the few of us and a kitten. Abandoned now, it stood on the brink with a clear view of the cliffs below.

We scrambled instead towards the Best View in the World.

It was a very good view. There was also, of course, a small cat.

IMG_2604

“Her name is Shakira,” the young woman told us. “She’s pregnant. Here, come and have some tea.”

We sat in the tent on the mountaintop drinking tea and watching with Shakira’s person as the rest of the tourists milled about, came and went, viewing the view, seeing the sights. We talked about people and places we knew.

Shakira hung about, familiarly.

PetraCat

Shakira 2016

“You know,” I said, “she looks a lot like the kitten I met two years ago there,” pointing to the abandoned hilltop VIEW. We looked at one another: Shakira, her person, and me.

I pulled out my phone, found a photo marked, “Petra View Cat.”

We looked again: Shakira, her person, me. It was the same cat. Shakira’s person said, “Look at the date!” It was the same day, two years removed. We laughed. What were the chances?

shakira selfie 1

Shakira 2018

We left as old friends. “I’ll have to come back and see the kittens,” I said. “Will you come back soon?” she asked. “I don’t know. I hope so.”

“Do me a favour,” Tamam said; “take my phone down the hill with you and drop it off with the guy in the cafe. It needs charging.” So on the way down a hill a few thousand miles from home, I found Ibrahim and dropped off a stranger’s phone, speaking the names with ease, as though we knew one another, because of the connection of a cat remembered, recognized, revisited, reviewed.

Shakira (Tamam)

 

 

Posted in story | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust

Passport, wallet, even my shoes were safely stored in the back of the jeep whose tailgate receded down the sand dunes and was buried from sight. We were alone in the desert. A man whose last name we didn’t know, whom we had met last night, pointed out a narrowing canyon and said, “Walk that way. I’ll meet you on the other side.”

We took refuge in the cool shadows of the red rock, followed it down the ancient and fading memory of a waterfall, stepped with rubbling boulders, to fresh sand, undisturbed. Birdsong, spare and echoing, lit our way past the trees, green and astonishing, growing in the heart of the desert.

Posted in spiritual autobiography, story | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment