OPEN

My pastor, Megan Ramer (seattlemennonite.org) offered this prayer yesterday, and in turn I offer it to you on this day dominated by horrific memories of the 9/11 attack on the United States. Pictures of powerful wildfires and suffocating lowland smoke are a constant reminder of the violent unrest sweeping through many cities; violence fueled by the hot wind of divisive rhetoric spewing from the mouths of those entrusted with the mandate to protect and care for their citizens.

Still. And yet. The image of this lilly, exquisite in it’s vulnerability and exposed to the sun and elements, calls me to remain open to hope. Vulner-able. Accepting the wound and exposing ourselves to the possibility of healing. May the healing you long for be yours today.

Sharing a prayer by Anna McKenzie, from Good Friday People by Sheila Cassidy, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991

And so we must begin to live again,
We of the damaged bodies
And assaulted minds.
Starting from scratch with the rubble of our lives
And picking up the dust
Of dreams once dreamt.
And we stand there, naked in our vulnerability,
Proud of starting over, fighting back
But full of humility
At the awareness of the task.
We, without a future,
Safe, defined, delivered
Now salute you God.
Knowing that nothing is safe,
Secure, inviolable here.
Except you.
And even that eludes our minds at times.
And we hate you
As we love you,
And our anger is as strong as our pain.
Our grief is deep as oceans,
And our need as great as mountains.
So, as we take our first few steps forward
Into the abyss of the future,
We would pray for
Courage to become what we have
Not been before
And accept it,
And bravery to look deep
Within our souls to find
New ways.
We did not want it easy God,
But we did not contemplate
That it would be quite this hard,
This long, this lonely.
So, if we are to be turned inside out,
And upside down,
With even our pockets shaken,
Just to check what’s rattling
And left behind,
We pray that you will keep faith with us,
And we with you.
Hold our hands as we weep,
Giving us strength to continue,
And showing us beacons
Along the way to becoming new.
We are not fighting you God,
Even if it feels like it,
But we need your help and company,
As we struggle on.
Fighting back
And starting over.

Photo Credit: Susan Wehrman

Off The Hook

We try so hard, don’t we? When spiritual development becomes a passion we sometimes work at it to the point of exhaustion, excluding all spontaneity of spirit. That’s why I’m letting myself off the hook today, and invite you to join me if so moved.

In her book, In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection, Jan Richardson suggests with Thomas Moore that we let ourselves “get sleepy” once in a while, because it is in the latent spaces in-between when we let go, that spirit can then plant seeds that can germinate. Moore suggests that “…awareness, wisdom, and soulfulness do not arrive solely through perpetually vigilant consciousness.”

So today, let yourself off the hook and let spirit do her work.

Blessing

May you grow sleepy
enough
to find the gap where God lives.
May your soul find its waking
there.

Jan Richardson In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection

Photo Credit Fish Hook: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/yikdE9EiE.htm

Photo Credit Person Floating: Esther Lui for NPR

The Spiritual Practice Of Empathic Prayer

I am howling today. It’s a cathartic spiritual practice I sometimes engage in because it gets me deep inside an experience. Often it is the only way to break through to hope…if I’m brave enough to let spirit take me there.

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Song by Bob Dylan

….I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall….

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest….

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

https://genius.com/Bob-dylan-a-hard-rains-a-gonna-fall-lyrics

Photo Credit:

“SoulCards” by Deborah Koff-Chapin. The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.” The cards come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools. They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with. http://www.soulcards.com

Used with permission from the artist

Time Will Wait

The Press of Time

We set the pace.
But this press of time—
take it as a little thing
next to what endures.

All this hurrying
soon will be over.
Only when we tarry
do we touch the holy.

Young ones, don’t waste your courage
racing so fast,
flying so high.

See how all things are at rest—
darkness and morning light,
blossom and book.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus I, 22

Photo Credit: https://www.ikon-images.com/stock-photo-multitasking-woman-in-hamster-wheel-with-hourglass-body-illustration-image00017049.html

The Dog Days Of Summer

Befriend The Stalker

Heat and covid stalk
us down the steamy alleys of August
like bloodhounds on the prowl.
Their incessant baying and trail of spewing spittle
threaten to relieve us of our senses.
We long to just flop down in the shade
with these bloodhounds and flick at flies.

If only we could stop running
long enough we might catch up
to our senses and it wouldn’t be so hot.
It wouldn’t be so dangerous.

If we sit and let be, relief shoulders beside.

c. Rita H Kowats
August 17, 2020

Photo Credit: animals.net

Here We Are‐ Still!

Shall we celebrate the exquisite wonder that we are alive today? We still can discover the yet uncharted territory of our being, even while we struggle for meaning in this new external landscape. It is indeed a wonder that we are here, and that we are managing as creatively as we are.

We are a wonder. Let’s celebrate. It will sustain us in those other moments.

Photo Of Baby Credit: https://sleeploveandhappiness.com/2019/06/27/baby-is-a-light-sleeper/

Wheel Of Fortune!

photostudio_1596477751618

 

I looked at my cat this morning and exclaimed, “Wheel of Fortune!” capturing as much of the exuberance of “Rain Man” Ray as I could muster. Sherlock yawned in reply.

Tarot card “Wheel of Fortune,” had been my meditation. I learned again that change is inevitable and try as we may, we can’t control everything. We should just work on staying centered as we experience the spin, the fortune and the misfortune.

How could I not be inspired by the long running American game show, “Wheel of Fortune?”

 
Wheel of Fortune!

With a flick of the wrist
The Wheel offers up both
Fortune and misfortune.
Around and around she goes
And where she stops, nobody knows.

The trick is to relinquish control,
Relax into the spin
Learn from the landing point.
Of course
We can always call for a vowel
From the great white dove
Who wafts across the stage
Of our lives handing out hints
And glints of grace
For puzzle solving.

© Rita H Kowats 8-3-2020

 

 

 

Photo Credit:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel_of_Fortune_(Tarot_card)