Oh, perfect mystery.
How rumbling sound of never-stilling waves,
can rock my soul to peace.
Her open, glowing face pulls on my soul, insistent as the tide, compelling
honesty. A truth that whispers safely in the darkness of the night.
This light’s illumination is the gentle kind that blurs the lines and shadows,
beauty, in the ambiguities. A soft exhale of grace.
Thank you sweet Creator God, for moonlit prayers.
Like a fault-scarred landscape,
I’m braced against the tremor that foreshadows instability.
It matters not who made the scars.
not who is to blame.
It matters only that the shaking could –
whenever that inevitable lurch arrives –
And then, oh then I fear the shaking will not stop until it’s broken all the fragile structures I have built upon the surface,
ways to hide the scars.
And if these decorative lies should crumble into dust,
What is my silent fear beyond the quake?
From that dark chasm deep within what do I fear?
From out the depths, do I believe will come some molten pain that could deform me even more?
Is there life?
A spring of living water that – like Balm of Gilead – will soothe my soul and wash the faults away in blessed baptism of grace?
if such a spring is there
won’t it be worth the shuddering wrench
to set it free?
The sky was painted for my soul tonight.
The sweeping strokes of color draw me up
away from gravity of daily life,
and draw from me a sigh too deep for words,
too real to be confined to lines of frozen verse.
But I must try,
must let my spirit’s lover know that I have read his message
writ across this little part of heaven –
the only part that I can see, for now.
It’s hard to wait,
with leaden feet that trap me here upon this broken earth
It’s hard to see only a little piece of heaven
when I’m longing for that sweet fulfillment when I’ll see it all
and know that all is well
not just for me, but truly ALL.
But until then,
I have this sky
And in this sky,
In this soft, momentary gift of light
I know the soul of God.
They tell me I’m supposed to find a balance:
between work and play
between rest and responsibility
between activity and contemplation
between care for others and restorative care of self.
sometimes all this balancing just feels like one more task I must perfect.
all the delicately balanced weights will all come crashing down.
the goal is not the static stillness of a balanced scale.
Perhaps the object I must balance on is actually a swing,
and my task is to kick out my legs,
and enjoy the ride.
Recently life has been more than a bit frantic. Working, parenting, housekeeping, wifeing… it has all been pilling up and pulling me round until I am wondering whether dizziness is just my perpetual reality.
And so, as an attempted remedy, I spent some time this morning in grounding prayer. Prayer in the sense not of speaking, but of listening. Of sitting in silence for the still small voice to speak to me.
And today, that voice spoke to my soul in lines of poetry.
Like a child’s spinning top
I launch myself at frantic speed
seeking the velocity
to let me balance on a tiny point of contact.
in my enthusiasm,
I push too hard.
No elegant display of spinning speed,
no ballerina poised on point am I.
I am the wobbling, panicked top about to
in my panic I reach out,
my hand and heart both grasping for the solid ground,
for a source of steadiness outside myself.
in that contact
that I am spinning on a world that spins as well,
and the Master Spinner does not need my feeble speed
To make the world go round.
I can rest here,
I’m spinning still in glorious mystery.
This past weekend my little family got together with an old friend and her camera.
The friend is Sabrina Norrie, and the camera is a new off shoot of the website she began as part of her little family’s adventure of living at their own pace – a pace that lets them really experience the world they are moving through.
I scheduled this “family photoshoot” on a bit of a whim… because it looked fun, and I love pictures, and because it was a chance to get some great post-able snaps of my kids while also getting to see Sabrina for the first time in close to a year. That time lapse in our friendship a reflection of the pace at which my family generally moves – a rushing momentum so full of activity that it often precludes moments to just stop and experience… or connect.
While not much thought went into the decision to meet Sabrina at the park that afternoon, some thinking has come out of it – in addition to some really beautiful photos. [editorial note – this endorsement is completely unsolicited, but if you live in the New Jersey area, I highly recommend Family + Footprints!].
For an hour, the task at hand was to slow down long enough for the camera to capture our connections. There is real beauty in that slowness – a beauty that is capture in the pictures, but more in the recognition is has brought to my soul.
Moving at Shutter Speed
The hurry of preparation layers on the daily pace of rush:
fights over clothes, and brushing teeth
attempts to corral childhood attention
to tune young minds and hands to tasks at hand
and set their expectations for the coming hour.
This extra step is meant to smooth over the wrinkles of a disconnected life,
to make it somehow shimmer with ephemeral beauty,
just like the colors that I layer on my face – a camera-ready mask.
Then we arrive
The sunset light is playing in the gently curving trees
a game that breaks the ice of shyness for my tinies
they understand these rules
without my adult explanations.
We’re here to play.
And so we are, although my instinct still is to direct:
“perhaps the posed shots first…
or we will never pull them back.”
So sweet young hearts comply with Mommy’s worry.
they bring the play along as well
and sing a bright duet of giggles mixed with camera clicks.
And as bright smiles and warm sunshine melt my cold perfectionists’ mask
I laugh as well.
The wrinkles might show through,
but so does Joy,
the joy that comes with slowing down enough to
in this moment
and let the laughter linger on my lips
for long enough
to let the camera
and my soul
join with my family’s song
played in the meter of
slow-motion shutter speed.