Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Making room

Darling, is there room for me?
Or are you all full up?

Full of pain
Full of sorrow
Full
of regret

The desert is sapping you
wringing you out
Your thoughts pour forth
as you wander
You lament out loud
your sorrows
You sweat and cry
until you're empty

Only now
after you've exhaled
is there space in your lungs
in your heart
for me

For breath
For love
For hope
For life

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Breath work

Sweetheart, breathe
In. In. In. In.
Hold it now

Hold

Hold

Hold

Out now, quickly
Out some more
Get it all out.

Good. Good.
One more time.
Back to the beginning now.
---

When you're ready
Come back here
Quietly return

You'll be ok
We'll be ok
We just have to
keep breathing.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Thirst

Honey, I hear you
praying for rain
But the dry heat
will not relent

Lying prostrate
utterly spent
You stare into the sky
and curse the wind

It answers back:
Who told you
you must wander here?
If you're thirsty
Dig.

Impossible. Unbearable.
But find the hope
that fueled your prayers
Let that drive your action

You scratch at the sand
(until your fingernails tear)
and it begins to give way
to chalk, then clay

The mud
clings to your hands
It is so messy
and you
are so tired

Rest, my love
You've done the work
All that's left is to wait
by this hole
as the water seeps up
and in from the ground
collecting at the bottom
of your little well

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Enough

Darling, it's time now
Understand:
You have enough
You are enough

And you can't do it alone

The desert will be treacherous
You know this, and you're prepared
You've stocked up with critical supplies--

Burn cream, bandages, antiseptic
Your bag is overflowing
and you're still packing
Determined to be able
to handle any wound

Darling,
that's enough.
You have enough.

You can't carry any more.

I've stocked up, too
for the dangerous desert
For hot, dry days
and freezing nights

I have enough water for weeks
My bag is overflowing with food
I've even packed a blanket
that can turn into a tent

But should I be injured
my wounds will fester
I have no bandages, no cream
Despite all this water
I'll die in the desert

I can't make it alone

I need you, darling
And you need me
Bandage me up
and drink of my water

We can do this
Together

Friday, March 3, 2017

Not ashes

Sweetheart, I know
You have been traveling
such a long time

You came through fire to get here
and so there is no going back
But you don't have a map
and all that seems to be ahead
is more terrible desert

Sweetheart, I know
You wonder how you can go on
When you already feel
so scorched and broken

But what you have to understand is
You're not ashes yet

I cannot promise you
there'll be no more burning
But I can tell you
you won't travel alone

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Here and Now

Dear One,
This is where you belong
And you
were made for this

I know
the scorching heat
threatens
everything you've ever loved

But you know
     inside the dust of your bones
     inherited 
     from earth and stars
how to turn burning
into life

No other place
is safer, cooler
frozen without fire
No other place
is home

This is where you belong
And you
were made for this

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday for UU kids

Beloved Children,

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the church season called Lent.

Christians usually think about Ash Wednesday and Lent in terms of sin, God, and repentance. I'm going to use different words, but for me, they mean the same thing.

Ash Wednesday is a special time to remember that all living things are part of one big family, and everything we do affects everything that happens. Unitarian Universalists sometimes use the word "interconnected." (For some people, this is part of what God means.) Part of what makes us a family is that we all come from the same stuff--earth and stars-- and we will all go back to being just that stuff someday. Everything that lives, dies, and Ash Wednesday reminds us of that (some people get ashes on their forehead or hands to remind them), it reminds us that WE will die, one day.

How does it feel, when you know that you'll die?

Some people get sad when they think about dying. Some people feel scared. Some people feel safe, knowing their life will have the same end no matter what they do. Some people feel that what they do while they are alive is even more important, because they'll die someday.

The rituals of Ash Wednesday ask us not only to remember that we will die, but also to think about how we want to live until we do. We are interconnected -- how have our lives and our words and our actions hurt other people? How have we hurt ourselves? (This is part of what Christians sometimes call sin.) Can we do anything to help heal those cuts and bruises in our hearts and our relationships? Or even to help heal wounds that we didn't make? Today is a day to wonder, and hopefully to decide that we will try. (That is part of what repentance means)

The season of Lent is 40 days, and it's a time to pay close attention to our lives and line them up with the plans we made on Ash Wednesday. We are always connected to everyone and everything, but when we forget, sometimes we connect in ways that hurt. Lent is a time to remember, and to turn our hearts, minds, and hands to healing and hope. We spend time every day thinking, reading, maybe praying or talking to someone who can guide us, working to fix what is broken, helping people, healing wounds, taking good care of ourselves. Christians and some other people remember stories about Jesus, and how he worked so hard to heal the world's wounds that he died--he was killed by people who didn't like how he was going about trying. There are lots of different ideas about why, but everyone remembering him through Lent agrees that his example of working hard to heal the world was a good one. We all hope we won't have to die in order to make the world better, but when we remember that we are going to die no matter what, it can make our work less scary.

Some people choose to "give up" something for Lent--something harmful to themselves or others, something taking up too much space in their hearts or their lives. Some make a special point to "take up" something new, a good habit or practice, something that they think should take up more space in their homes or hearts. During Lent, we work to make our lives mean something good, so that when we die, we leave behind beautiful memories and a better world. (and that doesn't have to stop on Easter, when Lent ends!)

So, today is Ash Wednesday. You came from dust, and one day you'll die and be just dust again. But right now, you're alive. Make the most of it, do something beautiful. I love you.

of Dust

Beloved, remember:
From dust
you have come--

not only
the dust of this planet
but also the dust
of the stars
for you and your Mother
Earth
share a common ancestor
and a common fate:
To dust you shall return

The Earth may
or may not
know her fate
Yet still she is busy
with her living--
Creating, renewing,
growing, transforming
Holding death and life
like twins in her womb

But you DO know
when you slow down
(And maybe that's why
you so rarely slow down):
You're destined for dust

The heat is growing
unbearably fast
Hold on with Earth
through the burning--
Create, renew, transform
and when it's over

may the dust that remains
shimmer with the vibrancy
your life inherited from the stars