This is faith. This is spirituality. (God or No God. My Truth.)

Scott-Avett-Avett-Brothers

Those who are proud of what they create, and who help others through it, should count themselves lucky, for this is the seed that grows the vine that traces the path that takes each of us on a spiritual journey with no end or resting place, a journey that can only be guided by the faith and can only lead to the flood of light at the final interruption of our life’s journey. Our hands and minds, legs and mouths, eyes and ears, arms and feet were all made with purpose, and though you may never find that exact purpose, it is your obligation to yourself and God to search for it, and to search endlessly for a perfection that, though you will never achieve it, you must seek. This is faith. This is spirituality.

— Scott Avett, “My Search For Truth”


Notes:

 

Walking Cross-Town. Saving the best for last.

dreadlocks-cornrows-hair

It’s not any day.
But every day, that I’m walking cross-town to the office.
I call him up.
Or better stated, he gets called up.
Why this thought among billions of others, I don’t know.
But it flutters in on its wings, lands and settles.
A 20-second moment in life that never returns.
But returns each time I walk on this patch of earth.

It was February.
A warm day, but a winter day.
He’s lying on the concrete sidewalk on 48th street.
Not against the store front.
Or over a grate spilling steam from the guts of the underground tunnels.
He’s more centered between the street and the hulking skyscraper.
Early morning commuters avert their gaze, and step far left or right.

He’s covered from head to toe in a soiled sleeping bag.
He’s sleeping on a thin sheet of cardboard. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. Crossing the Street.

plant-green-water-drops

The morning ritual is…

GET to the office.
GET to the desk.
Fire up the PC.
GET a jump on the day.
Same. Same. Same.

I exit Grand Central,
and head West.
Same route.
As the crow flies,
it’s a straight shot, on foot, cross-town, to the office on 48th street.
Speed traps are meted out by flashing Don’t Walk! signs and traffic,
as jaywalking is a cultural norm in Gotham.

I couldn’t tell you what triggered it.
It could have been a car horn.
A driver shouting at another.
Or perhaps more subtle,
a bird call amidst the gray, inert skyscrapers,
or a unusually, warm early morning wind gust from my left.

[Read more…]

Hello?

light-heaven-clouds

[…] I ask nothing more of God
than a very slight little tap,
coming to answer yes to my question…

~ Hélène Cixous, from “The Cauliflower of the Lautaret,” Love Itself: In the Letter Box


Notes: Quote Source: Journey of Words. Helene Cixous’ full passage on Google Books. Photograph: Petrified Tears

It would just be there

face-close-up-eyes-closed

I lie awake,
wishing I had faith of some kind.
I’ve caught glimpses of it now and then,
I can even conjure it up for a second or two,
but it fades.
It’s a stillness,
the polar opposite of worry.
It isn’t hope;
hope has too much energy,
requires constant renewal;
faith (if I had it) would just be there.

~ Abigail Thomas, Safekeeping: Some True Stories From a Life


Photograph: A. Sprigg via Precious Things

Saturday Morning: May I move in time like a cloud

sky-clouds-aerial-ocean-sea

Lord of having
Hell at hand
Lord of losing
what I have
this heaven now

may I move
in time
like a cloud
in sky
my torn form
the wind’s one sign

may my suffering be
speechless
clarity
as of water
in some reach

of rock
it would take
work
to ascend
and see

and may my hands
my eyes
the very nub
of my tongue
be scrubbed
out of this hour
if I should utter
the dirty word
eternity

~ Christian Wiman, Lord of Having. Every Riven Thing: Poems.


Photo: Sydneyrw

Flying. Over Interstate 80 East.

fly,plane,jet,window,clouds,photography

It’s 8:00 am Friday morning.  Delta flight 466, a non-stop to JFK, departing at 8:30.

Hordes of travelers mill around the gate — all restless, anxious, and shifting from one foot to the other waiting for their zone to be called.

With no status on this airline, my concern rests with available overhead bin storage capacity. My shoulders tense up. I will cram this bloody carryon bag under my seat to avoid checking it. 

158 seats are taken on this 160-seat Boeing 737-800.  I see space in an overhead bin at the front of the plane, and suffer the stares as I jam my bag between two others. I know this is against First Class rules. But, go ahead Lady. Say something. Grab this Tiger by the tail. I’m operating on 4 hours of sleep, and just itching for confrontation. Go ahead. Give it your best shot.

The middle seat to my right remains open. Passengers continue to board. Could this be my lucky day? Or…Not? Could he or she be an armrest hog? Take frequent bathroom breaks? Bring a pungent and messy burrito on board for breakfast? Listen to music blaring from earbuds? Have a drippy nose? Body odor? Be doused in perfume? Nosy? LEANER? TALKER? [Read more…]

Sunday Morning: Clouds

cloud and hills, Arizona

Kent Nerburn, The Gift of Clouds, Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life:

Years ago I used to drive a cab for a living. There was a blind woman I used pick up at one of the local universities. She was taciturn, proper, almost British in her sense of propriety and reserve. And though she seldom talked, we gradually became friends. One day I asked her what one thing she would wish to see if, for only one minute, she could have the gift of sight. She smiled and thought a moment. Then, she said, “Clouds.” The answer surprised me. Of all the choices in the wide breadth of the world, she had chosen one that would never have crossed my mind. “Why clouds?” I asked. “Because I can’t imagine them,” she said. “People have tried to explain them to me. They tell me they are like cotton. The tell me they look like fog feels. They spray whipped cream in my hand. They move my fingers over paintings of skies and let me feel the shapes of clouds painted on canvas. But I am still no closer to an understanding. Yes, it would be clouds.” […]

As I drove along I pondered her words. I, who saw clearly, spent each day wishing for some distant object — a place, a person, some prize of life I hoped to win. But one who valued sight the most — one to whom it was denied — knew that the greatest gift her eyesight could bestow was before me, unnoticed and unhallowed, at that very moment.

“Clouds,” I thought. Of course. What else in this great universe so eludes description, so fills the spirit with wonder? What else floats gossamer and ethereal above our lives, never touching down but always present with us, a reminder of the majesty of an unseen God? As a child we are alive to their magic. We lie on our backs on summer hillsides, make up stories, find giants and dragons in their forms. They are God’s sketchbook, the measure of our capacity to dream. But as we grow, they fall victim to numbing familiarity. Their poetry and majesty, though still alive in our hearts, is easily overlooked, easily ignored.

“Now, let me ask you,” she was saying, “What is a cloud like?” I returned from my reverie. The traffic was churning angrily on the rush-hour streets. Far above, the clouds were moving slowly, like horses, like carriages, like elephants holding each other’s tails. “They’re like God’s dreams,” I said. “Thank you,” she responded. She did not speak again. But her still, small smile filled the cab with the eloquence of peace.


Notes:

Good Friday

woman-sleeping-Laura-Schaeffer

I woke up in the morning
and I didn’t want anything,
didn’t do anything,
couldn’t do it anyway,
just lay there listening
to the blood rush through me
and it never made any sense, anything.

Richard Siken, excerpt from Straw House, Straw Dog from Crush.


Source: To escape from the commonplace of existence. Photo: Laura Schaeffer via eikadan

I need a belief system

sleep-rest-light-sun-woman

Heather Havrilesky, Like a Prayer:

I don’t believe in God, but I need some kind of a prayer to repeat when things go haywire. I need a prayer because, as a writer with several unruly dependents under my roof, each day is a rollercoaster, a crapshoot, an exercise in uncertainty.

[…]

See how the tiniest events can shift the barometer just enough to stir up a storm? My buoyant mood sinks. The day that felt so full of promise sags, landing in a haze of exhaustion and niggling worries by the time I crawl into bed.

I need a belief system. I need a morning ritual. I need to say some bold and glorious words out loud at the start of the day, to remind myself who I am and what I’m doing and what the point of it all is. Unfortunately, I don’t like saying bold and glorious words out loud. So I need a prayer that’s not too prayer-like. I need a belief system that doesn’t require me to suspend my disbelief.

[…]

So instead, I just lay in bed and tried to think of every member of my family and every one of my closest friends. I started with my husband, my kids, my mother, my sisters, my brother, their spouses and kids, my aunts, and my father, who’s been dead for 19 years. Then I listed my close friends. I put them in alphabetical order so they were easier to remember.

The next day, it was much easier to remember everyone, even though it had been hard the first time.

And by the third day, the names felt almost like a prayer.

It’s been a month, and now every morning I just say my prayer of names. Doing that makes me realise that I do have a belief system: almost everything is superfluous, except people. People matter. And there’s a strange emancipation that comes from acknowledging the people you love, and giving them your love, even when you know they can’t always understand you, accept you or love you back. People are flawed. But people will surprise you.

We aren’t on this Earth to improve endlessly, forever approaching infinite perfection but never quite getting there. We are here to notice the enormity and beauty of everything around us, and to notice each other – to notice how flawed we all are, and feel connected anyway.

Read entire essay by Heather Havrilesky at Aeon Magazine @ Like a Prayer.


Image Credit: Tanya Moss