Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Finding Joy

This week the bloggers of Spiritual Journey Thursday are posting on the theme "Finding Joy," suggested by Margaret Simon over at Reflections on the Teche. Head over to Margaret's blog if you'd like to read more on Finding Joy.

When I first read the topic for the month, I thought about what it means to find something. Was it lost? Was there a lengthy search? Was it simply a random stumbling upon an unexpected treasure to be pocketed with satisfaction?

But is that the way joy comes?

I think joy is something deeper than happiness. Joy can be present when happiness is tenuous or even absent. It is the understructure, the miraculous, the unexpected sense of knowing, not just who I am, but whose I am. The essential knowing that I am loved, that it's a good thing I am alive, that I have a place in the world. It's a solid knowing at the base of my soul that I can return to when the constant barrage of comparison, disapproval, or judgment lead me, like Pilgrim, toward the "slough of despond." It's a knowing that I am enjoyed by the one who created me. It's a safe place.

from Ode to Joy
by Annonymous

Joy everlasting fostereth 
The soul of all creation, 
It is her secret ferment fires 
The cup of life with flame.
'Tis at her beck the grass hath turned 
Each blade toward the light 
and solar systems have evolved 
From chaos and dark night, 
Filling the realms of boundless space 
Beyond the sage's sight.

Friday, May 26, 2017


Margaret hosts the round up today at Reflections on the Teche. Wishing you a morning filled with espresso, soothing music, and steaming green grass. 

by Billy Collins

Why do we bother with the rest of the day, 
the swale of the afternoon, 
the sudden dip into evening, 

then night with his notorious perfumes, 
his many-pointed stars? 

This is the best— 
throwing off the light covers, 
feet on the cold floor, 
and buzzing around the house on espresso— 

maybe a splash of water on the face, 
a palmful of vitamins— 
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso, 

dictionary and atlas open on the rug, 
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head, 
a cello on the radio, 

and, if necessary, the windows— 
trees fifty, a hundred years old 
out there, 
heavy clouds on the way 
and the lawn steaming like a horse 
in the early morning. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pondering: Feelings

The 16th century Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross reminds us that, as wonderful and consoling as feelings of God's presence might be, they are not God. All consolations and spiritual gifts, he reminds us, are finite and as such are infinitely less than God, who is infinite. We are not to reject any consolations that may come along. But neither are we to cling to whatever consolations or other spiritual gifts we may experience. For God made our hearts in such a way that only God will do.

From Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pondering: Rooms

“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emtional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”
       ― Rumer Godden

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pondering: Goblins and Princesses

“It was foolish indeed - thus to run farther and farther from all who could help her, as if she had been seeking a fit spot for the goblin creature to eat her in at his leisure; but that is the way fear serves us: it always sides with the thing we are afraid of.”
       ― George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin

“I write, not for children, but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five.” 
       ― George MacDonald

“ is so silly of people to fancy that old age means crookedness and witheredness and feebleness and sticks and spectacles and rheumatism and forgetfulness! It is so silly! Old age has nothing whatever to do with all that. The right old age means strength and beauty and mirth and courage and clear eyes and strong painless limbs.”
      ― George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin

Friday, May 5, 2017

Passing Through Albuquerque

Photograph by Kenneth Park (NARA)

I'm traveling today and will be enjoying some rest time and some work time over the next two weeks. While my journeys will keep me in the Deep South, I enjoyed this poem from the Southwest. Wherever your feet take you this week, I hope you find joy. 

Jama has the round up today at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Passing Through Albuquerque
by John Balaban

At dusk, by the irrigation ditch 
gurgling past backyards near the highway, 
locusts raise a maze of calls in cottonwoods. 

 A Spanish girl in a white party dress 
strolls the levee by the muddy water 
where her small sister plunks in stones. 

 Beyond a low adobe wall and a wrecked car 
men are pitching horseshoes in a dusty lot. 
Someone shouts as he clangs in a ringer. 

 Big winds buffet in ahead of a storm, 
rocking the immense trees and whipping up 
clouds of dust, wild leaves, and cottonwool. 

 In the moment when the locusts pause 

Read the rest here

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pondering: Reach

Today is the first Thursday of the month and time for my Spiritual Journey Thursday post. Today we are focusing on Donna's One Little Word for the year, REACH. You can enjoy other perspectives on reaching by stopping in at Donna's website, Mainely Write.

I posted a piece of a poem a few weeks ago that has spoken so deeply to me. As I think of this idea of reaching, I keep coming back to it again and again. You can read the first stanza here and the full poem here.

This ache for eternal beauty draws us forward, keeps us reaching beyond what we can see, beckons us from our present circumstances to a deeper understanding of our source of beauty, of life, of eternity. 

It reminds me of something Paul said in his letter the the church a Phillipi. 

"I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward..."

from Soul’s Eternal Rapture
by St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-395)
translated by Scott Cairns in Endless Life: Poems of the Mystics
And thus, at every point
         she learns that each
                new splendor is to be
eclipsed by what is to come--
         the ever-exceeding
                Beautiful that draws, and calls
and leads the beloved
          to a beauty of her own.