Saturday, April 25, 2009

Precious Moment, Present Meeting

A serendipity came this morning as I drove down Bradley Road. Very unexpected, as I have been struggling through a severe spiritual crisis, another pilgrim's regress. (Sometimes I wonder, doesn't a person's spiritual journey ever reach a peaceful oasis?)

It's Saturday/sixth day (what I call Spirit day). I dropped off my son at his school to take his SAT class and headed home, ruminating on Life problems. But then I saw the older man, the one who stands by the corner hitchhiking most days. Normally, I don't stop as the traffic is heavy and there is no side lane, but today no cars were crowding me, so I listened to an inner feeling and stopped for the man. He was in old wrinkled clothes, almost looked homeless, and hunched as if someone had curled his spine; his one knarled hand held a small trash bag, evidently his lunch.

When he thanked me I could hardly understand him as he spoke with a Spanish accent and had a voice impediment. He sat there bent forward, his face weathered, like dark brown parchment. Some of the time I couldn't understand him, but found out he had 13 grandkids and his wife had died from cancer 18 months ago and that he worked at a carwash and was 82 years old!

I'm not even a Samaritan, more like a prodigal son, but our Father met us on the road there this morning, even though we spoke no religious language. The hitchhiker and I were in a precious moment, a present meeting.

In the Light,


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Of Fishhooks, prayers, and miracles

I read through too many tomes in the last 50 years trying to figure out the truth of God and existence--being condemed to doctrinal hell and convoluted mental gymnastics. Then--I don't know why--I then tried to write an analytic essay on the nature of prayer and miracles and the disappointment with unfulfilled answers.

But when I finished writing it, I realized the long-winded reflection didn't really shine forth Light. It was mostly pessimistic and more along the line of those tomes that doorstop my mind.

So instead, I am going to share my "fishhook" poem on the same topic. Hopefully there is more Light of God in the poetic vision. I think there is. Jesus never mentioned abstract theological creedal tomes; he spoke in images and parables, and told us to become as children.

Of Fishhooks, Prayers, and Miracles

My youngest daughter, Hope, learned-disabled early,
Struggling with the squiggles and the numeric symbols
Of unseen realities, of knowing, that set the stars
In motion and our minds in transition.

Her childish zest died while, as her father and provider,
I practiced disabling late, raised to belief's unreason —
In the rigid way of Huck's Miss Watson — stubborn
In righteous doctrine, ignoring the doctor's suggestion,
Not giving Hope medication, but believing in literal petition.

So I prayed time-round-the-three for my daughter's minded healing,
But just like gullible Finn and his never-gotten fishhooks,
Hope got none, and I— doubt, ill-gotten mishap, and bilge,
Eventually lessening into cynicism, the wounded death
Of an ash-filled, but empty-praying mouth.

Yet unlike Huck, to this day I keep reeling out petitions,
Focusing like the Widow (Huck's other guardian),
On heartened prayer, the learning of spiritual gifts;
But not even the gentle fish lures of patience
And boundless joy seem to ripple my faithless way;
I, too, become the orphan in the dying of trust.

No longer a fisher of persons in the doubtful churning,
Of the endless surging views of oceans seven
The world round, I struggle between faith
And reason, lost in cruel imbalance
Fearing the extremes — nihilistic negation
And fishy delusion — doubting all to hell's end.

Still rises the good news of caring medicine:
Briefly free of false hooks, we gave our dear Hope,
So dead to minded school, the late prescription
And she was upward raised, recovering early
A zest for learning — early for her, way late for me —

Except to say the real hook of it all is that
True knowing is not a gulping of the barbs of pious deceit,
Nor being gilled or gulled into the dying of truth,
But yearning and learning — like Descartes
Of old — finding in humble, reasoned
Faith the poetry and prose of a spiritual rebirth,
A Godly way of reasoned becoming.

In the Light,


(Previously published in The Centrifugal Eye)