Morning Musings 5.29.20

Morning Musings  5.29.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

May 29, 2020

Another cloudy morning!  Not as gray as the past few days at this time of the day.  Some were moving quickly, even revealing hidden spots of blue.  It was a beautiful morning to walk!

And . . . phlox is everywhere!  It has been absolutely stunning!  There are beautiful bundles near Barlow Knoll.  An attractive mound hides near the stream marking the Historic Kime Farm.  Beautiful ones concealed near the Old Alms Run.  When I ride my bike on the Battlefield, I see their beauty near Spangler’s Spring and Culp’s Hill.  They have extravagant names!  Emerald Phlox is deep blue.  Amazing Grace Phlox is white with yawning colorful eyes in its center.  Humming birds and butterflies bask in their beauty!  I simply enjoy admiring their splendor, even as they now begin to lose color.

We’ve had cloudy early mornings this past week.  A few times the sun did not even work its way through until later in the day.  Some days I wake and there are clouds around my heart, and it dulls everything except the weight I carry within me.   Just because I cannot see the light of the sun in the morning, however, doesn’t mean the light has vanished.  Sometimes I think the heart is like Mother Earth; it is continuously blanketed by ever changing atmospheres that come and go between who we are and how we live each day.

Faith, it seems to me, could be defined as the effort to believe in light even when covered by clouds, and even when it feels as if the sun will never come through.  Faith is believing that the sun has never stopped burning its light – that it will prevail.  In fact, its heat and warmth is burning steadily, right now, on the far side of whatever cloud we are under.

No cloud lasts forever, whether it be in the morning sky or whether it be in my heart.  The Earth knows this well; so does my heart!  Today I walked a bit more reverently when I got near the purple phlox.  They are exquisite! And even as their brightness begins to fade, their beauty remains deep within!  So it is with God’s love, experienced in so many different ways!

“You will not fear the terror of the night / nor the arrow that flies by day / nor the plague that prowls in the darkness / nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.”  ~Psalm 91~

Blessings & love on your day,  pastor mike

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Morning Musings 5.28.20

Morning Musings  5.28.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

 

May 28, 2020

It was a heavy mist this morning.  It was dark as I set out, umbrella in hand.  The mist against my face was my summons into the day.  Rain awakens me to the various sounds of water around me and below me.  The gushing water flowing through underground pipes reminds me of a whole different life I never see.  Underground streams become the waves of the ocean.  Sump-pumps spitting water along the sidewalks have been working throughout the night. Rock Creek was flowing.  Water on the path; water in the fields; water against my face.

I made an interesting discovery about myself this morning:  when I walk on a path or sidewalk, I do not walk down the center.  This morning, because I was maneuvering an umbrella, my eyes were focused in a different way.   I wasn’t looking so far out into the distance.   I was looking more closely at the path on which I was walking.  It is true:  I walk on the edge.  The other week I almost stepped on a snake in the grass near the edge.  A few days ago I was startled by a turtle trying to get to the grass along the path.  Walking on the edge can cause unexpected surprises!

When we realize things about ourselves that have been with us all along but never noticed, there comes a deeper appreciation and acceptance of self and each other. Only then can healing between human persons truly begin, for beneath all of life’s joys and difficulties we are brought alive and kept alive by noticing what was always there but never quite welcomed!

So…..when you walk a path, do you walk in the center or on the edge?  There is a  gift is in the knowing!

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

 

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Morning Musings 5.27.20

Morning Musings  5.27.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

May 27, 2020

I have a special appreciation for the morning when I get outside before sunrise.  Today was one of those days.  Especially on a gray morning, everything just seems a little slower, almost like a hesitation, waiting for the call to order.  Today the clouds were various shades of grayness.  They seemed to be vying for the pole position, all wanting to be closest to sunrise. They kept shifting, initially I thought trying to get the best view when the sun broke the horizon.  But that never happened.  There was no spectacular sunrise today.

Maybe the clouds had to settle for an early-morning game of tag.  I’m not sure who was tagged at the last, but I guess it does not really matter.  They all were getting along with each other the last I looked.  Who gets tagged last?  I surely remember how I felt with my buddies if I was “it” when the game ended!  That never felt good to me.

How are we getting along these days?   We all have choices to make.  We each do, everyday!  So many of our choices are in relation to attitudes toward bitterness and resentment, or toward compassion and gratefulness.  Nothing is insignificant.  Every action, every word, each thought matters!  If I want to become fully human and live a passionate, discerning, creative and contemplative life that contributes to and engages the world, I have daily choices to make.  My decisions will make all the difference and carry me in times of both joy and suffering.

Today, I intend to befriend whatever the tumultuous emotions I find within me.  Can I find a more gentle inner smile  welcoming compassion to flood those parts of me that are most     vulnerable and wounded?  I recall what Brother David Steindt-Rast once said, “You cannot be grateful for everything, but you can be grateful in every situation.” Important words to remember!

The relatively tiny details, circumstances, and situations of life always matter!  I remember an old U2 song, entitled “Grace.”  Grace makes beauty out of ugly things / Grace finds beauty in everything / Grace finds goodness in everything.  Can I trust these words at this time?  Yes I can!  Kindness and care are being invited into my day!  I think it is okay to be tagged last this time!

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

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Morning Musings 5.26.20

 

Morning Musings  5.26.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

May 26, 2020

The fog was heavy this morning at the beginning of my walk, but the sun did not hesitate in making sure the air was clear by the time of my return.  As I came across the field, I noticed how droplets of water hung daintily on each blade of grass.   I’ve seen this sight since childhood, but today I see it with new eyes!  Maybe it was the way the sun coming behind me spotlighting the dew-covered grass!   Maybe it was more to do with what I held on my mind!   I slowed down, even bent closer to get a more particular look.

Here, once again, is one of those amazing sights of nature that I seldom take time to notice in its completeness.  It was fascinating!  It was mesmerizing!  Each blade of grass—one drop of water.  How does this happen?  Who has the love to place a single drop of water on millions of blades of grass during the pre-dawn hours of each day?  It is a miracle missed!

What other miracles do I miss each day?

Still remembering the Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem from Saturday, I think about how cluttered is my mind already so early  on this day, and I consider another poem, one by Francis Dorff, entitled Lightening the Load:

The first thing we have to do is to notice that we’ve loaded down this camel with so much baggage we’ll never get through the desert alive.  Something has to go.  Then we can begin to dump the thousand things we’ve brought along until even the camel has to go and we’re walking barefoot on the desert sand.  There’s no telling what will happen then.  But I’ve heard that someone, walking in this way, has seen a burning bush.

Many will say we are all walking in a desert at this uncertain time. It feels we are.  But even so, I don’t want to be so burdened down that I miss the miracles all around me.  This morning I found myself surrounded by magnificence I never noticed in this way! Those brilliant droplets of water magnifying the blazing sun became a miracle to behold!  I wonder. . . which burden gets unloaded first today?

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

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Morning Musings 5.25.20

Morning Musings  5.25.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

 

May 25, 2020

I notice this morning how the azaleas that were blazing pink only three days ago now hold only brown dry debris.  The peonies right next to them are ready to burst open with their unique pink and white flowers!  The Michelangelo rose, yesterday so elegant has given way to the beautiful rose on the bush next in the line.  These simple reminders of the cycles of life, these hints that speak intensely to me from the natural world I am noticing with fresh eyes this morning.

Next to our deck, there is one area where I have three miniature rose bushes.  They are ready to burst forth with tiny deep-red rosebuds.  I notice the intruding, infringing foliage growing around them, from plants whose seeds have been transported from other areas of the yard.  I have been watching these dwarf rose bushes gradually have their territory impeded upon by other forms of plant life.   I also notice how they turn one way, then another in order to get the nourishment they need to grow.

As I sat for a while this morning noticing these petite roses, I got to thinking how even when we live at difficult times or in harsh moments, our deepest human tendency is to lean toward that which is life-giving.  Here is my gift received for this day:  even when I feel impeded upon, I still always wish to lean toward those people, those things that sustain me and rejuvenate my hope!  I want to open myself to others and to the life that opens me to my own humanity!  This is how we live for each other!  This is the life of the Spirit!

I am noticing how this small rose bush is figuring out how best to survive and grow and bloom, even as it is being pressed in upon.

At this time of uncertainty, there are many things being communicated, through tears, through reactive responses, through fear-filled mistakes, that feel stifling and life-draining.   I want to listen closely to all that is being said and unsaid, to hold all of it lightly with both hands.  To listen below the surface. To lean toward all that is life-giving!

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

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Morning Musings 5.24.20

Morning Musings  5.24.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

May 24, 2020

The cool humidity was heavy.  I wasn’t sure if it had begun to rain, or if this was simply the clouds come to hug me at the beginning of my day.  This was not a most exciting morning—no magnificent sun, no screaming birds, no animals rooting through the underbrush next to the path.  No reason why this luminous passage from Elizabeth Barrett Browning ought to have flooded my brain.  But it did!  So I carried it with me on this very ordinary morning.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; But only [s]he who sees it takes off [her]his shoes; The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”

I ate blackberries yesterday for breakfast; nothing wrong with that!  The most devout and attentive need to get where we are going feeling intact.  Yet I hear a powerful invitation in these words today that stops me in my tracks to ponder what and Who I may be missing.

I realized there were more birds calling to each other than I had first noticed.  Most of the birds were hidden, invisible among the leafy delightful trees.  Standing still…. pausing…..listening…..smelling…..watching…..waiting, I was drawn into a reverent fascination, wondering what or Who was pulling at my soul.  As always happens when I walk the Battlefield, I also wonder who, from another time, is watching me walk, bearing witness to the unfolding of today, always under the watchful eye of the carnage and bloodshed of the Civil War time.

 “Earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.”  Is this the very Presence that draws me to walking every morning?  Is this the invitation embodied in the call of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, to see more fully and to respond with glad abandon to all that is around me—to take off my shoes, literally or figuratively?

There is a deepening sense of awe in the presence of all that has gone before, so I pause yet again giving reverence to the gratitude of being allowed to walk on this hallowed ground.  Myriad moments of awe over my lifetime have become kinship.  I feel this kinship on this very ordinary morning.  I sense God’s whispers, the invitation to open my heart and soul to all that is calling to me this day.  I want to see the bush afire!  My shoes are coming off!

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

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Morning Musings 5.23.20

Morning Musings   5.23.20

[During this time of uncertainty and insecurity due to Covid-19, we all are longing to be grounded at the very center of our being.  One way Pastor Mike attempts to experience such rootedness in his own life is by sitting with his journal, usually in the early moments of each day.   In this blog Pastor Mike shares some of his early morning  journal entries, as a way of holding us together,  anticipating the light of God’s love to wash over our waking hours.]

May 23, 2020

The morning felt very subdued.  The fog lay heavy over the roads and fields.  I could hear birds but it was disconcerting to not know for sure where the sounds were coming from.  I was startled by a turtle along the path as it quickly made its way back into the wet grass.  My roses are blooming.  I noticed one, deep yellow almost gold, readying itself to open, named Michelangelo.  It looks like royalty, especially on a morning where all else seems groggy for a wake-up invitation.  The sun was doing its best to carve an opening through the murky mist.

This morning I was mesmerized by the purity of the white shapes I could barely discern—through the fields, along the creek, and into the wooded areas.  Most of the movement came from birds, but I thought the fog looked like a community of hope-gatherers.   On this Memorial Day weekend I want to walk and sing the songs of life’s seasons, the rhythms of birth and death.  I want to sing the gentle song of listening and hope, the song of compassion and love.

Times of struggle, while wrenching, carry a profound potential.  When we come home to our hearts through adversity, clarity survives and a desire to live for others and to make a difference in the world prevails.  Struggles are faith gifts, if we can yet see through the fog.

As I walked back, the fog had not budged, making me remember a new poet-friend, Barbara Crooker, and her poem entitled, Gratitude.  Her words touch me this morning:

This week, the news of the world is bleak…..And here I live in a house where a man with silver hair still thinks I’m beautiful.  My garden has tiny lettuces coming up so perfect they could make you cry.  This is May and the whole world sings, gleams, as if it were basted in butter, and the air’s sweet enough to send a diabetic into shock—And at least today all the parts of my body are working…..I know sorrow could be somewhere beyond the horizon, but still I’m riffing on the warm air…..the trees breathe in what we exhale, clap their green hands in gratitude, bend to the sky.

I want to be a hope-gatherer today!  I want to live out of gratitude!  I took a longer, loving look at Michelangelo, knowing how a touch of royalty at the beginning of this day suits me just fine!

Blessings & love on your day,   pastor mike

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