12 June 2020

Loving Day

fear can drive us
to do unconscionable 
seemingly incongruous
things like proclaiming
our unwavering trust
in the One
who is known
as Prince of Peace
and Source of Divine
Love that drives out
all fear
and is stronger than
all death
that transforms weapons
of death
into intstruments
of provision
and Life
while attempting to protect
those we Love
with a weapon
of death
in fear of powers
that are not Love
and therefore not stronger
than fear
or death
or enacting the removal
of protections against
discrimination
towards people who have
endured endless
discrimination
because of their orientation
or sexuality
or gender
or race
on Loving Day
where we celebrate
the power of Love
to transcend differences
and sources of discrimination
and embrace ALL people
of ALL nations
in welcome
and acceptance
in celebration
and anticipation
of the Day
where Love is ALL
and in ALL
and ALL we need
to stave away
the greed
to plant another
Seed
to grow into our
Being
and find our Spirits
freeing us
from fear that can
drive us
away from each other
apart from our Selves
in the darkness
that blinds us
the Light
of a Rainbow
of Promise
the Love
that binds us
as Beloveds
so near
and so dear
and together
as One.

#LovingDay #LoveIsLove #LookEachOtherInTheEye #SeeTheLoveBeneathTheFear #LoveIsStrongerThanFearAndDeathAndDiscrimination #WeAreOne #WeAreLoved #WeAreLove


04 June 2020

Lifting His Legs (for Poppy)


It's something he'd done thousands of times in his life.

And it was the last time i ever witnessed it.

And got a chance to help him.




His name is Robert William Stallcup, known to most folks as Bob. My father-in-law for the past almost 30 years and my friend for most of the prior ones, i'm one of the few who affectionately know him as 'Poppy'.

He contracted polio at the age of 21, just before he was to be deployed to Korea, one year before the vaccine became available. It left him with two paralyzed legs, two strong and overburdened arms and shoulders, and one stubbornly determined and seemingly indefatigable will and heart.

The disease kept him from his calling to the other side of the world. But it did not define who he is and how he lived his one precious life on this planet.

He spent his professional life calculating facts and figures, assessing risks and projecting futures. Like all of us, there were miscalculations and misprojections along the way. But when it came to embodying a gregariousness of opinion and a generosity of spirit, his life has added up to something utterly unique and preeminently powerful.

And he traveled through almost all of it on crutches and a wheelchair.

Part of Poppy's routine for over 60 years was transitioning himself from one place to another...from his bed to his wheelchair...from his wheelchair into the car...and back to his wheelchair. He has made these transitions mostly unassisted. His loving, patient and ever-supportive wife, Lori, was right there with him to help with loading up and unpacking the chair as needed (and in countless other ways over 54 years of marriage).

As the years passed by, he needed more and more help with these transitions. He discovered that using a strong and slick wood board to slide along eased his way from one landing place to another. An occasional tug on his belt from behind gave a needed lift to his behind.

But he always seemed to manage the movement of his legs on his own. At the appropriate time in his transitional routine, he would carefully lift them into or out of the footwell of the car, making sure that they were in the proper position with an adequate amount of room for him to maneuver without doing undue damage to them (quite a feat given that he could not feel them).

Over the years that i sojourned through life with Poppy, mostly at a distance geographically but certainly with a closeness of Spirit, i marveled at how such a wellspring of wisdom and willpower continued to emerge from the depths of his being. And while this propulsive passion certainly came out in his fiery engagement of politics (even as i regularly questioned the validity of some of his claims and most of his sources) and in his faithful giving of himself in time and talents, resources and revelry, laughter and love, there was something remarkable and revelatory for me as i watched and occasionally assisted him in his precise and painstaking journey of moving to and from his wheelchair.

In all the mundane motions and microscopic movements that motivate the molecules that make up this larger-than-life man to move, in all his perspiration that elicits inspiration, seldom have i experienced more patience and persistence in a person.

Sparely have i seen such sensitivity and strength in a person.

Barely have i felt more empathy and less pity for a person.

Rarely have i received more courage and encouragement from a person.

Poppy's time with us here came to an end last Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 1.43pm CDT. Fluid collecting in his lungs from untreatable heart failure eventually caused his system to stop moving, his lungs to stop breathing, and his heart to stop beating.

But back in April of 2013, on our first 'last' day with him (as he was on hospice care after being given 4-6 weeks to live...a hospice care that he was taken OFF of 10 months later in a miraculous turn around physically), as my family and i returned with him to his home, i got out of the car and went around to the passenger side door to help him out of the car and into his wheelchair.

One last time.

And as he heaved his body off of the seat and onto the board to slowly slide into his wheelchair, he asked me to do something i had never done before.

He asked me to lift his legs.

i tenderly took a hold of one at a time, raising each one up slowly out of the footwell and gently onto the driveway, feeling like cradling a newborn baby for the first time.

And i thought about how long he has had to arduously lug around these weighty, angular appendages. How these miraculous, muscular members were disabled by disease and rendered powerless by paralysis. How he responded to the cruelty of his fate with faith...by unearthing and using other gifts to overcome the obstacles that could have easily overwhelmed him.

And i imagined the day soon to come when those lifeless legs will have their sinews and senses shocked by Spirit, resurrected to run rampant in the realm of the Redeemer, destined to dance a jig in the Great Beyond, lifted to leap in the fields of Eternity

To finally fulfill his calling to reach the Other Side.

Where a day is like a thousand years.

Where the first is last and the last is first because there is no more first and last.

And i realize that this first 'last' time i witnessed the strength and spirit of Poppy was really a foretaste of the first time i will witness firsthand the Source of that strength and Spirit.

With all eyes lifted in majesty.

And all hearts awakened in infancy.

And all legs lifted in ecstasy. 



i love you, Poppy.


03 June 2020

black (w)hole

tears
of grief
over devastating
violence
seeking relief
in unconscionable 
silence

cries
of rage
in solidarity
against injustice
of confession
in complicity
with injustice

sighs
of disbelief
from reactions
of tone-deaf
heart-hardened
leaders
and inactions
from privileged
people
like
me.

#40wordprayers #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArnery #BreonaTaylor #SayTheirNames #ListenToTheirLivesAndUnjustDeaths #BlackOutTuesdayOnWednesday


17 May 2020

known in Living (Great Commission)

a Mountain of Ascent in Galilee
some of them still did not believe
the uncertainty they longed to relieve
persisted
but they were drawn to the Heights
not by what they could conceive
but by Love they were invited to receive
that descends to the depths
and ascends with the dawn
ascending now so that Spirit
could descend to embrace them all
in Grace
not in spite of their doubt
but with it
so they might use it
not lose it or recuse it or resist it
but embrace it
as a Source to engage each time and place
as a space for transcendence and transformation
less dependence and information
no location is so barren
that it cannot be saturated with Spirit
so the invitation to Incarnation
came to all of them
from the One who came to all of us
as one of us

‘Don’t fear It
even if you can’t hear It
this ever-Presence of Spirit
in the rush of Wind
the catching of Breath
the pitching of death
as a gateway to Life in all its fulness
make disciples
not by reason but through action
each season a new chance
to feel the Rhythm
hear the music
and join the Dance
the new Reality is not informational but relational
not transactional but interactional
wash over each other with the Water
of Love
watch over each other with the Wonder
of Love
enact It in caring and sharing
relating and connecting
less debating and more discovery and discerning
less berating and more recovery and learning
teaching by example
(since we learn best by doing and Being
rather than thinking and believing)
rigid certainty can be deceiving
but Spirited flexibility can be relieving
and li-berating
See? Even now I’m not requiring
your intellectual ascent to anything
but inviting you to let your descent
into everything – 
the Humus of this living entity
the Humour of this giving community
the hallowedness of this loving Humanity – 
empower our ascent
into living the Love
and embodying Eternity.’

How might doubting disciples
living in uncertain conditions
amidst obliterated expectations
and transfigured traditions
receive and embody this greatest of commissions
to Love Creator and Creations and Creation
in relation more than religion
and in liberation from expectation
as a new kind of revelation and tradition?

('The Annointing - Great Commission' by E. Windhiarto)


08 May 2020

masks

masks are required
to help contain
the virus
yet as we
put masks on
our fearful faces
the virus
is peeling away
the masks within
revealing racism
and entitled narcissism
with unbridled consumerism
as the salve
for our Souls...

Help.

#40wordprayers #Eastertide2020 #LifeLoveArtInTheAgeOfCoronavirus #LoveIsStrongerThanCOVID19 #WeAreOne #AhmaudArbery #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForAll

('Art in the Age of Corona: Lockdown Day 29, 2020' by Dhruvi Acharya)



26 April 2020

known in ordinariness

sauntering down
the road
into darkness
the despair
of lost
dreams, desire
fading away
like the
sun over
the horizon
seems to
vanish verily
and banish
the Light
to burial
living warily
into reality
of death
giving up
the Ghost

we meet
a guest
who wanders
onto our
path and
wonders about
our faces
showing traces
of grief
and spaces
of sadness
our eyes
can't disguise
the Reality
that's dead
among us
within us
not knowing
which hurts
the most

a lesson
commences on
blessings of
the Divine
offenses of
human design
over centuries
and communities
all majoring
in finality
figuring out
the equation
nailing down
the Incarnation
boxing up
the Manifestation
but missing
the Reality
of Divinity
in Carnality

the explanations
are overwhelming
our boggled
minds disorienting
our conceptions
diminishing our
perceptions dimming
our visions
like the
skies darkening
into deeper
twilight blue
no Light
left to
travel onward
we invite
our guest
to join
us inward
to rest

a meal
a bed
for this
never-ending night
a table
a candle
a Spark
of Light
but before
anyone rises
to offer
a toast
the bread
is taken
the Guest
becomes Host
no word
is spoken
the bread
is broken

and eyes
of disguise
are illumined
by Surprise
and breath
is taken
completely away
like the
Guest Host
disappears into
the remnants
of day
leaving heads
spinning intricately
and hearts
burning intimately
and Spirits
churning infinitely
and breath
returning transformatively

does illumination
arrive whispering
while wandering
on the
wings of
our Wondering?
in silence
of Mind
and simplicity
of Spirit?
might revelation
come less
theologically and
more biologically
and relationally?
less rhapsodizing
religiously and
more breaking
bread communally?
the Magnificent
manifest in
the mundane?
Divinity in
the daily?
Sacred in
the secular?
Holiness in
the hunger
and hungry? 
could transformation
happen less
in belief
and more
in empowered
action and
compassionate relief?

is ordinary
the vessel
for the
Extraordinary?

Amen.

#240wordprayers #Easter2020 #ResurrectionAsAGradualSunrise

('Road to Emmaus' by Daniel Bonnell)

19 April 2020

known in Absence

the Visions
whether from Spirit
or screens
are nice
but the Magic
of touch
is what my Spirit
and senses
truly need
something tangible
to fill the absence
and hold me
and tell me
that everything
is gonna be
alright

three were confronted
by the Absence
and the fear
two retreated
to familiar safety
in hiding
from reality
in fear
one remained
in unfamiliar space
in openness
to Reality
in faith
and encountered Presence
revealed in absence
a resurrected
Light

a new Way
of being
and living
where giving
and forgiving
flow from Strength
emerging
from the soil
of suffering
and weakness
Wisdom surging
out of supposedly
mindless madness
faithless foolishness
(fear catalyzing
but not driving
Change)
Courage arising
from embracing
grief and sadness
not impervious
to pain
but empowered
by the same Spirit
that enabled Resurrection
enlightened recollection
of our innately
Divine interconnection
as Beloved vessels
equally valued Voices
and transformed rejection
and disconnection
into existential
Incarnational
Delight.

Amen.

#180wordprayer #Easter2020 #ResurrectionAsAGradualSunrise

('The Empty Tomb' by He Qi)