Tuesday, March 13, 2012

With Gratitude

I want to thank everyone for your kind wishes at the death of my 20+ year old cat. Malik, king of cats, the Malachite kitty, lives on in my heart. He's been a living presence in my life and my dreams for half of my life. He will be missed.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Bo: Exodus 10:1-3
The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart
(written 1/28/12)

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..." -- John Lennon

It's supposed to be hard.

Really. I'm sorry.

Sometimes it seems like we are going to make it through by the third plague, be able to let that last hurdle be the hardest -- not the one we know still lies ahead, just over there, the one we dread facing but know we must. That's when we truly turn to God, dream to God, call to God, pray to God, rely on God to help us over the fence or across the sea or into the great unknown that holds for us the fear of alone and unworthy; but also the promise of free and brave, holy and beautiful, complex and sweet and actually free.


We always try the easier way first. We're human. Slowly, we learn.

As we learn we believe, we doubt, we waver, we grow stronger, we dream.
Inside and out loud.

Sometimes we lament, "God, why so HARD? Why make slavery even MORE difficult to leave? Why do this to us?"

The answer? Today, for me, because freedom is layered and awkward, with phases and stages, and we MUST learn to keep going, brave or not, to imagine, to dream, to merge the dreamer and the do-er, bite back against fear, agony at our backs, we must remember what slavery does to the soul, the collective soul, the past and present and future soul, and we must remember our dreams, our light, our task.

To be a light, a nation of priests and priestesses, to lead through our fear, assert our knowing that there IS something more.

God moves us into action against all Pharaohs and we must find our way into the wholeness of the dream, and the real of freedom.


Exodus 3:1-6; 11-14
(written 1/14/12)

This is the place.

Look down. Look at your feet, then look up. Let's do it again, slowly, look down, look up -- notice we are nodding?

When we awaken, we look down, we look up, we say yes.

Then come the questions -- which are always two-fold -- Who, me? and then, Why ME?

What for? comes later, and the answer, believe it or not, harkens back to the haunting trope of childhood -- for parents and children both: "Because I said so." Or, trust me now. You'll understand later.

We spend the rest our our lives listening and unfolding, saying yes and trust me, trusting and understanding, no matter the doubts, no matter the "Who, Me's?" no matter the whys.

We spend the rest of our lives unfolding. Looking down at HaMakom, the place, taking off our shoes, then looking up to God to see and nod and say yes, no matter how hard this task. This place is sacred. We are sacred, we are unfolding, one into one into one. We and God, God and me and you, you and me and us and God, together, we are all unfolding.

Jacob Wrestling

Genesis 32:23-33

Here is how we learn our true name. We screw up. We do what we do, right and wrong, we flee, we rationalize, we move on, we build, we reflect, we repent, we ready ourselves for retribution, for responsibility, for shame and redemption.

The struggle between good and evil is active; within us all. And just when we get to that spot where we know what the work is, down comes the angel -- that gracious angel, who will beat us up and not "let us win" but test our strength and we will be changed in both body and soul as we learn there is so much more.

We have come so far and we are so grateful, but it is not done yet. It's not done yet.

That can feel overwhelming -- God, why aren't we done yet?
We long for the promised land, for the sweetness of completeness, and yet I go on with the struggle, we all go on with the struggle.

The kicker: Honesty.

We are blessed and beautiful, soulful and luminous, petty and materialistic, overworked and underpaid.

We want fruit -- the fruits of our labor all the time. But we also want to stop laboring. We want rest and abundance. We wrestle with our human soulful desires to wrestle and go on, wrestle and go on.

The task is to find the glory of God in both places -- the self we must leave, the self we flip into that we struggle to rise above, and the transcendent self who knows that all of this struggle is the path to God, the blessing and gift of life, and all of us are able.

The Man Watching, Ranier Maria Rilke