You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.
From Tertullian: Malim nullum bonum quam vanum. “I would rather have nothing than have vanity.”
When we face the vanity of our best efforts, their triviality, their involvement in illusion, we become desperate. And then we are tempted to do anything as long as it seems to be good. We may abandon a better good with which we have become disillusioned and embrace a lesser good with a frenzy that prevents us from seeing the greater illusion.
So, through effort that may seem to be wasted, we must patiently go towards a good that is to be given to the patient and the disillusioned.
– Thomas Merton, Journal entry, May 29/30. 1962
To take a righteous attitude toward anything is to denigrate it.
Awe is what moves us forward.
As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you.
Don’t bother to brush it off.
– Joseph Campbell
…and gratefully shooting for 901.
It is necessary for me to see the first point of light that begins to be dawn. It is necessary to be present alone at the resurrection of Day in solemn silence at which the sun appears, for at this moment all the affairs of cities, of governments, of war departments, are seen to be the bickering of mice. I receive from the eastern woods, the tall oaks, the one word DAY. It is never the same. It is always in a totally new language. – Thomas Merton
Many will Come – Rachel Srubas
(Photo: somewhere on The Airline Road, sometime 2008)
Today, may I walk in right paths, in God’s light. May peace prosper the steps of my family and friends, in city streets and buildings, and among all nations.
Today, may people stream from east and west to converge in God’s neighborhood. May nations labor to dismantle barricades. May our city be a just, peaceable center, united and vibrant. May my friends and relations strive for the good of each other, and may I remember I am neither higher nor lower than a servant.
Today, may east and west meet in my right and left hands, complementing, comprehending one another.
In my body, may north and south correspond, lifting my mind above worry, grounding my feet on the earth.
Today may I know what I am: created, not self-made, instructed to walk and work in God’s ways.
May I hammer old knives into new spoons, old enmities into love.
May I respect the least functional part of myself as surely as Jesus cherishes a paralytic slave and saves him with a word.
May the shriveled and disused part of my heart be bathed in God’s mercy today, that I might see sunlight for what it is: the gaze that beholds and heals us all.
In a banquet hall spacious enough for a whole world of nations, may I rest among neighbors and strangers, friends and relations.
May we feast among prophets on food grown in plowed mountain soil, reaped with weapons repurposed as tools.
…looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.
To be alive—is Power—
Without a further function—
To be alive—and Will!
‘Tis able as a God—
The Maker—of Ourselves—be what—
Such being Finitude!
– Emily Dickinson
Don’t surrender your grief so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
as few human or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
has made my eyes so soft
my voice so tender
my need of god
Bedside Manners – Christopher Wiseman
How little the dying seem to need—
A drink perhaps, a little food,
A smile, a hand to hold, medication,
A change of clothes, an unspoken
Understanding about what’s happening.
You think it would be more, much more,
Something more difficult for us
To help with in this great disruption,
But perhaps it’s because as the huge shape
Rears up higher and darker each hour
They are anxious that we should see it too
And try to show us with a hand-squeeze.