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Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Be aware, keep alert,  for you do not know when the time will come… 

And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.  -Mark 13: 33, 37

Seeker,

As a new year unfolds in this blessed-broken world, what are you waiting for?

 

 

We call it longing

because it distends our sense of time,

and so much living is enlarged in the waiting.

 

Waiting…

 

for healing to happen,

anticipating a change to come,

expecting a loved one’s imminent return.

 

Waiting…

 

for loss to soften,

an ache to ease,

a void to shrink.

 

Waiting…

 

for tempers to cool,

a chafed heart to mend,

a conflict to ease, a bloody war’s end.

 

Waiting…

 

for a new day to break,

a tired old one to wane,

for the silence of night, or the chorus of dawn.

 

Waiting…

 

for a newborn’s cry,

or a loved one’s final breath,

we vigil before the mysteries of life and love, of birth and death.

 

Waiting…

 

for the torrent to abate,

eager for the drought’s release,

desperately we hold out for hunger and injustice finally to cease.

 

So many ways

and shapes of expectation,

every moment whetted by keen anticipation.

 

All the while, and all around,

so much secretly undeclared,

quietly waits to be noticed, savored and shared.

 

The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.  -Abraham Heschel

 

Endlessly empty,

waiting to awaken feels

like drowsy, mid-afternoon dullness.

 

Routines called “ordinary”,

always assumed and taken for granted,

numb and stultify.

 

Immune to golden sunsets and icy mountain peaks,

milky ocean spray and  windswept wilderness,

we fail to notice grandeur and beauty that daily over-wash us.

 

Even crisis fails to stir those still deaf and blind

to famished children, ravaged lives,

littered roads, denuded hills, and rapacious mines.

 

Daily life presents challenges and lessons

that test the level of our attentive presence,

and measure our receptivity.

 

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.     -Mary Oliver

 

In every moment grace hides

in plainest sight

for those with presence of mind and will to penetrate.

 

When life, love, or loss

lift the veil,

eyes, hearts and horizons are transfigured.

 

In the clarity of astonishment,

there’s nothing

ordinary about existence.

 

Thus are born poets, artists, mystics,

God’s own children

poised for inspiration to crack hearts or mend them.

 

Attentiveness is

a heightened state of readiness—

waiting, watching, wondering.

 

Wakefulness sharpens connection,

disdains distraction, discards pretension,

unmasks torpid self-preoccupation.

 

Like a heron intent on a gravelly stream,

or a tail-twitching tabby transfixed in the grass,

electrically-charged anticipation sharpens senses with focus and purpose.

 

Now we enter a state of expectant attention—

engaged presence—

the opposite of terminal boredom.

 

Fine-tuning the present, attentive to the peripheries,

scanning signs on the horizon,

wakeful, watching, wondering disciples wait.

 

(God) did not wait till the world was ready,
till (all the) nations were at peace.
(God) came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
  –Madeleine L’Engle

 

Who knows how grace will

greet you this day, this new year.

Will she find YOU ready to receive?

 

joe

Click here to order:  Still In The Storm

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Still In the Storm

Carefully crafted reflections that accompany you in your practice of 'engaged presence,' as you draw the world of crying need and awesome complexity into your heart and center.

A resource for engaging spirituality in times like these.

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