A Late Summer’s Night

Crisp air punctuated by the smell of pine

Crickets in the thickets of roadside grass

Their calls cycling faster and faster as I pass, like a card in bicycle spokes

Highbeams illuminate the trunks of trees lined up like the walls of tunnels

Unclear whether the fog films the windshield inside or out 

In the cool of night, summer falls away

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The Music of the Morning

The distant beep beep beep of a backing-up garbage truck
Residual rivulets of rain on the roof
Ringing in my ears

A Benedictine monk was told to repeat a Psalm over and over in his head
When it was all he could hear, he asked his superior what then.
Repeat it until you become it.

Without the outside distractions of beeping and running water,
the ringing becomes all consuming.
How can I turn down the dissonance and resonate with the truth?

psalmist

thegospelcoalition

That is all

Sometimes you just need to hide in your car for an hour and 20 minutes burning your cell phone battery.

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image

Epiphany

In high school, somewhere around the time I began to expand my vocabulary, realize the power of words – and prep for the SATs? – I came to love the word epiphany.

This phenomenon also coincided with my own spiritual awakening, but ironically, it had little or nothing to do with the three wise men heralding Jesus’ birth.

I would excitedly proclaim I’d had an epiphany when some amazing truth would whack me between the eyes. An amazing idea or affirmation. When the whoosh of a flock of shorebirds made my heart swell with the certainty of who I was as I stood sentinel on a sandbar.

As life rushed in to fill the free spaces, however, the epiphanies got fewer and fewer – until at some low point, they stopped. A noisy, dissonant place where even the chorus of bird calls could not be heard.

And yet, I still maintain our Christmas tree until January 6th. I still display Jesus and His cast of adorers in the creche. I try, I try to push back the doing, the speaking, the thinking – to open space for His coming.

And in short bursts, He has. I’ve opened windows just small enough for a spark to shoot through. A movement in a certain direction. A push toward a way of being.

I want the lightning bolt, but it can’t strike as readily under all this stuff. The circuit is closed. A spark will have to do. But great flames can burst forth from a tiny spark. And purify everything in their path.

from tcc-online.org

from tcc-online.org

Rapid Acceleration

The Music Express.

My favorite ride at Rocky Point, a sprawling amusement park in my hometown that got its start in the nineteenth century as a seaside retreat for the overworked and overheated city folk.

Colorful piano keys rippling over the metal supports that tethered the cars to the central motor like spokes on a wheel.  The cars themselves with shimmering metallic paint jobs.  The track, an undulating up and down dropping and rising like the craziest country road.

As the music started and the cars wound up, you had no choice but to hold on tight.  No matter how hard you gripped the cool metal bar on the far end of the car, however, you would inevitably slide down to the outer corner of the car, crushing whichever friend got that lucky seat.  You’d laugh and try to scootch yourself up in between the dips and rolls, but then give up to the inevitable and sing along at the top of your lungs with the music blaring through the loudspeakers.

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Giving yourself over to the centrifugal force was easy.  It was stronger than you.  It was outside of you, pushing you out and down.  It strained every muscle in your skinny little arms to grasp that metal bar and float a few inches off the seat.

But what about those first few minutes when the ride hadn’t reached full speed, or the last few as it wound down?  Were you in control then?  Was it as enjoyable to hear the music on that part of the ride?  Or was it a letdown because it wasn’t full throttle?

I think when life moves as fast as The Music Express it’s easy for everything to crush together, all aspects of life compressed, no one able to be picked out individually and examined.  Sure, there’s good music, but everything’s moving at such a frenetic pace, it sometimes becomes just background noise.  And your friends are there, but you’re all just mashed up next to each other, trying to survive the same thing in close proximity.

I need to get off the ride from time to time.  Even though it’s my favorite.  Even though I love the song.

I need quiet.  Time to sit.  Stare.  Think.  And then to stop thinking so that my subconscious, the universe, God can speak to me.

Now if only I could get the attention of that guy flicking the switches.  Oh wait, that’s me.

 

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