For the earth that is round or seems to be and goes round and around so that its rotation is somehow synced to my life in ways that defy complete comprehension but this I do know, that seasons come and go and my life is lived out in days whose completion is the setting of the sun and whose beginning is the rising of the sun—so for these mysteries of interconnection and for life, I give thanks.
For my body and five senses though these are gifts that betray me in the course of a day and a week, I give thanks, Lord God. When I can stand on my two feet and walk, when I can eat from the fruit of the earth and its harvest, when I can feel the healing power of hot water on my face or on my aching and arthritic shoulders, as light enters my eyes and images of the earth are conveyed to my mind via light, I am deeply grateful.
For my mind that is a mysterious gift that defies reductionist science, that cannot be reduced to an analogy with computers, that allows me to critically engage the world around me and most mysteriously, like a three paneled mirror allows me to step out (ex-ist) of my being and behold myself, I give thanks. For minds that communicate with me from centuries and even millennia ago through scriptures and books and now through media of all kinds and above all, Holy One, for this mind that allows me to speak and hear your Mind. Selah.
On this Monday when the wicked swarm the earth and the politicians in high places prepare to cut the cords of covenantal obligations to our fellow citizens thus ratcheting even tighter the barbed springs of suffering, O Just God, empower your people to heal the world and cause princes of terror to stumble so that peace and justice might anoint the low, the humble and the outcast. Have mercy on us, Lord Christ, Good Shepherd, Lamb of God, Child of Mary and Joseph, Light of the world. Have mercy. Amen +
When I am mindful as I walk across a small bridge along a bike path flanked by trees and a large creek on one side, then I am mindful that I am suspended but crossing. I am mindful that someone crafted this bridge. I am alert to being a bi-pedal creature, oriented in four directions.
When I am mindful as I count the coins to hand to the cashier, uniformed and standing across from me, a name tag tagged to their chest, then I am mindful that I am part of an exchange today. I am mindful that beyond the coin lie certain tacit covenants between us, that I will hand this coin over and be handed my groceries. I am mindful that we both have names but are separated by a chasm even as we extend hands across that chasm to give and receive.
When I am mindful as I turn out the light and crawl into bed, sheet and blanket to cover me, quiet and silence descended, and sleep covering me quickly then I am mindful of the poverty of my human existence. That I need to be recharged. That my powers are limited to the day that has just spent me. That a descent into twilight and sleep is a resignation of my life over to the world that is greater than my singularity and a commendation of my soul into the boundless care of the Creator. Whether I sing in my head and heart a doxology to paddle into the night of rest that awaits me or pray a thank you, I am mindful until the switch is clicked and my mind rests.
When I am mindful, I wake up.
~See you Sunday. Let us come together and be mindful of mutual presence and the Presence of the Holy One. Perhaps we will step into an Awakening.
Beneath an overpass on my walk early this morning in the rain and chill, water run-off fell to a zen-like pond, the concentric circles a solar system of ripples, the rocks in the pond an emblem of your and my singular life. Slow down. In this busy consumer-frenzied time, slow down. Breathe deeply. Ponder the gift of your pulse. The link below takes you to what I saw.
The moments of our lives—the tick tock of our mundane lives—are scattered throughout the course of a day. Our routines—when we awaken, when we arrive for an appointment or our job, our departure to return home, and the myriad other things like lunch and meetings that comprise our routines—provide us a sense of purpose. When those routines come to a grinding halt in traffic or are intruded upon by forces that threaten to overwhelm us then, in those kind of moments, we are liable to sense our routines as so much threadbare wallpaper. We end up asking ourselves what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
Those moments are intertwined with the moments of many, many other lives and events. And in turn, the weave of our interconnectivity is played out against a microwave background of tension that radiates the very city we live in: the federal city of the United States, a target of terrorists and the power grid of the powerful and those who want to be near the powerful. How does one keep one’s sanity in the midst of this? How does one arrive at an authentic sense of self so that when our routines are interrupted, when the traffic comes to a crawl, when a meeting goes spinning out of control, when getting home seems impossible, we are not ourselves spun into madness or purposelessness? Let me suggest something.
In whatever chaos or disintegration of the flow of your moments, put two fingers on your wrist, find your pulse and then, take a deep, deep breath. Pulse and breath. Remind yourself that these are the truly significant gifts. And whatever happens and however things play out today, it is this gift of life that graces us that matters. You’re alive. The world will be here tomorrow. Moments pass. In the time it takes you to feel your pulse and breathe deeply, you can discover how wonderful and strangely beautiful this all is.
One last idea—enter a holy place on Sunday and through worship, say thanks. When you practice a weekly rhythm of gratitude, your mundane moments will be placed into a larger, cosmic context. May the Peace of God that passes all understanding fill your hearts. Breathe deeply. Find the pulse.