You’re already networked

Job’s Pond this morning appears beyond my window providing just about all that is needed for life. All the fundamentals at least. There is light in abundance. There is water in the same measure. There is vegetation, and around the shores of the pond there are people living life.

Praying this morning, as the breeze shifted to every which way, at intervals the light would reveal a single strand of web attached to the top of one of the Adirondack chairs on the deck and heading upward until it disappeared above. No doubt it is the work of one of our eight-legged friends, inveterate networkers as they are. But the fact that it is always there, though not always discernable, got me to thinking.

This is the way it is with us. All of us. In God, we are firmly connected to one another, but by supple connections that may look frail but that will endure. For me it is vital to remember this in our present era. So obvious are those things that divide us, and so apparently carrying the day are they, that we can seem and feel very distant from one another.

But often unseen, prior to any division and lasting beyond them, we are bonded to one another by links that will not fail; links that can and will bend with the winds of any moment and still remain. I take joy in this God-provided truth on this beautiful morning. It reminds me that I know good, beautiful, faithful men and women who are supporters of President Trump. I struggle with that daily, and they with me on my political principles, and yet we still belong to one another. We still are one family when all is said and done. (And all is not yet said and done).

Perhaps even more fundamental (he wrote, tongue now firmly in cheek), I am connected even to amazing people who for reasons that I will never comprehend are loyal fans of that baseball team that practices its dark arts in the heart of the Bronx. All the while a team of light and achievement and possibiltiy beckons to them from just to the northeast! But come what may (even in the series about to begin tonight) I can and I do love these people, know them as friends, and am connected to them by bonds as deep and lasting as the human heart.

The single strand that networks the deck chair to unseen realities above is thin, but strong and lasting. And so are the bonds that, underneath it all, make us one. Celebrate that unity, even in the midst of the stresses of the present time.


One Prayer

Thy will be done.

When I am content, thy will be done.

When I am overwhelmed, thy will be done.

When I stand alone, thy will be done.

When I am understood, thy will be done.

When I am loved, thy will be done.

When I am called to love, thy will be done.

In moments of peace, thy will be done.

In days of violence, thy will be done.

At birth, thy will be done.

At death, thy will be done.

When the light is threatened by darkness, and when the darkness is moved by light, thy will be done.

In the exuberance of growth, and in the weakness of loss, thy will be done.

Now, then, and in the eternal, thy will be done.

When I am confident, thy will be done.

When I am undone, thy will be done.

In the beginning, along the way, at every turn, when the way is lost, when grace sings in notes unwritten and unwritable, thy will be done.

One prayer, loving Center of all.

One prayer.

Thy will be done.

Posted in Words!

Face it.

Over the last eight weeks I have had cataracts removed from each of my eyes.  In both cases the surgeon replaced the compromised lens with a new lens.  In both cases the result of the procedure has been to almost eradicate the nearsightedness and extreme astigmatism that I have lived with all my life.

This is indeed a marvelous thing.  As I look clearly in beautiful color into an amazing world it might well be wished that cataracts could have come along decades ago.

It is an adjustment.  One of the most curious parts of that adjustment I had not foreseen.  It is this.  I have worn corrective lenses every waking moment since grade three.   I recall my first visit to my Uncle Peter and Aunt Teresa’s home in Birmingham, England.  One of my first cousins there, a little boy at the time, posed a genuine question to me as I emerged from rest one morning.  “John,” Colin asked, “were you born with your glasses on?”  A hearty laugh followed on all sides, but the right answer would have been, “Almost.”

So, the shock over the last couple of days, if I could use that tern, is the realization that  – to a great extent – I have never until now seen my face.  I have never before completely seen my own face. To do so, I would until now have to remove my glasses and get well within two inches of a mirror to clearly see.  If I left my glasses on, as was usually the case (as Colin had noticed), I was not really seeing my face.  I was seeing my face dressed with my latest frames.  If I saw myself in a photo without glasses, that still image provided some sense of the  living reality, but definitely not the whole.

And I never really knew that until yesterday morning.

Yesterday I got up.  Went to the mirror.  Noted that my left eye, done the afternoon before, was still dilated, and then paused to realize, “That’s my face.”  I looked, especially into the eyes.  I felt as if I did not know them. Not really.   I still feel the same of course a mere day later,  I cannot yet name what I see in them, looking back at me.  It does seem that the whole looks much more intense than I have known.  There is a mystery there that I have never truly known.

Considering all this, tonight, in the pages of a major American newspaper, I came face to face with the image of a tiny boy holding a stuffed animal. He is looking wide-eyed, to the camera.  He has been separated from his mother for four months, a lifetime for him.  And in a real way, a lifetime for her as well.  His eyes, too, showed an intensity that one might well expect, an intensity he might not have evidenced before this traumatic period.

Adan Galicia Lopez, 3, was separated from his mother for four months. [Victor J. Blue, NY Times]

His human face tells a story.  His human face both reveals and conceals a mystery.  It’s a mystery that will be unveiled in some measure over the years of his life.  But the mystery will remain.  This face of mine, like all 7,000,000,000 human faces,  reveals and conceals its own mystery too.   Even I do not comprehend it.  In the face of this truth, I can only bow before the mystery of this tiny boy.

Lord, help me to see.

Light and Air

cropped-img_0806.jpgThere is a man I know

Though not as well

As people think. And so

It was an unexpected moment

in the middle of an ordinary day,

when he came and said,

“I have many great friends.

I have so much to be grateful for.

I just have so much.

But I am…”

I looked up as he paused

His face was filled with an emotion hard to place, and then he finished,

“… lonely.

You could have driven

An 18 wheeler packed with regret

Between the beginning and the conclusion of that sentence.

And tears rolled down his face and onto the desk

I saw, I felt, though I did not know what to say.

How rarely these things deep inside are released

Into light and air.