Breathing Still

Back from vacation, with my brain as slow as a lime in an oceanside cerveza.  Only now can I see how much my mind works overtime.  Like the 405 freeway every brain lane is full, with thoughts honking and swerving to pass each other, overloading themselves to get into that carpool lane and move.

But now, clear air.  Wide open country lanes are few but free, ideas fueling the engine to get things in motion.

The freedom comes NOT from multi-multi-multi-tasking, not from getting it all done so that it would be all done.

Instead: Continue reading “Breathing Still”

Walking the Sidewalk

From a skyward Seattle hotel room, I watch strangers walk in the rain, past a McDonalds drive-through painted into the parking lot like a toy playset.  The gray and drizzly afternoon is filled with people going about their business. They move on, oblivious to the cartoon duck overlooking the “Duck Rides” touring company, an old relic now penned in by modern high rise buildings and greyish-green hills beyond.  People on the way home from work, looking neither left nor right, not knowing who they walk amongst, stepping unconsciously from one block to the next.

They don’t know she is about to hear her name called Continue reading “Walking the Sidewalk”

The Writer’s Hammer

Some days I want to stay inside the house, inside myself, like Emily Dickinson.  It’s all too fuzzy to bring out into the light.

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To Tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

But somehow tucked away inside that 1860’s Massachusetts home she dared the gap between herself and her paper.

Sparking from the paper to the world, was for her, too wide a gap, and I can quite see why – Continue reading “The Writer’s Hammer”

Creating Competitively?

In my campaign for creativity, I’m lobbying myself to move the creative processing outside my head and into the world.  I wrote about shedding a fear of failure, and capturing creative energy as ideas rush in and out like the tides.  Sometimes we need a push to get an idea out into the world, especially when complicating factors like pride get in the way. Continue reading “Creating Competitively?”

Creative Tides

This is one of the most creative years on record for me.  First I had to allow myself to be bad at something long enough to improve.  Embracing failure keeps my perfectionist foot away from the brake pedal.  But working through that fear of failure was only the first part of my creative drive.

I still had to get the other foot to step on the gas. So what’s been driving that? Continue reading “Creative Tides”

Endless Mystery

It’s amazing how much we know about God. But we don’t marvel enough at how much we don’t know about God. By remembering how far beyond our box the Divine really is, we are treated to the relief of humility, and God is treated to our praise and wonder.

I wrote some lyrics below to try to capture this thought – the “I’m just here for the poetry” readers can skip ahead… otherwise consider this:

It’s good to embed our doctrines – what we suppose we know about God – into the larger circle of truths we can and cannot fathom. truth-knowledgeThis picture¹ shows a blue circle of absolute truth and a yellow circle of what we know. I’ve been living out my faith within the castle walls of green – where knowledge overlaps truth and we are sure we are right. I didn’t account much for being wrong about God (yellow) and didn’t focus much on the wild, endless mystery of God (blue).²

I wasn’t even aware that part of the yellow was hanging outside the circle of truth, but like an election ballot’s hanging chad, doubt was cast upon my confident vote.

Like an election ballot’s hanging chad, doubt was cast upon my confident vote.

Humility: if I’m wrong about some things, maybe I’m wrong about other things. And from there I can begin to see that I cannot see it all. But this mystery is magnificent, and unlike our topics of expertise, can never become boring. As Richard Rohr says, “Mystery isn’t something that you cannot understand – it is something that you can endlessly understand! There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve got it.” Always and forever, mystery gets you!”³

I intend to use the green area – what I know about God – as a sort of base camp for excursions: to climb up the mountain exploring newly-knowns and ancient truths about the Divine.  But I need to remember that yellow and blue make green, and keep a filter to let misconceptions flow downstream and away.  And here are the promised lyrics:

Mystery

Shining in the morning light
Showering the starry night
Blinding bright while giving sight
Mystery

Outside time, beyond our ways
Thousand years might be a day
Creation that re-creates
Mystery

Far above us all, and worlds beyond
Now we see only in part
Deep inside us all, where we belong
Someday we will see all of your heart
Mystery

Breathing life eternally
Underpinning history
All in one, in one, complete
Mystery

Ancient mover and unmoved
Always new and ever true
Ever better than we knew
Mystery

Far above us all, and worlds beyond
Now we see only in part
Deep inside us all, where we belong
Someday we will see all of your heart
Mystery

 

♦ weekendswell ♦

See more poetry (for example Ready or Not) by clicking “Follow Weekendswell”

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¹Adapted from a diagram at Achter de Samenleving


²This is another articulation of the “unknown unknowns” concept (which earned Donald Rumsfeld some bad press but is actually a great grid for understanding when not being used to avoid a question). The idea is that we know many things (known knowns), and there are other things we don’t know but at least are aware of (known unknowns), e.g. is there life on Mars. With these we can feel pretty smart because within our field of view are a bunch of ideas we understand and many we don’t, but may expect to soon.


What we overlook are the unknown unknowns – the questions we aren’t even thinking to ask. This becomes important in fields like engineering – a software tester must look past her list of extensive tests and ask what hasn’t been asked. A helicopter designer anticipates many knowns that can go wrong, but what aren’t they thinking of? So too when we put the Divine under the microscope – we might pin down one area (e.g. virgin birth) but completely miss what doesn’t fit under the scope (e.g. our universe may be one blink in a universe of universes).


³Richard Rohr in, The Divine Dance