I would rather act.
It seems better, almost, to do anything
That moves me toward the goal
Than to hesitate.
I suppose that I say this to remind myself,
For there were so many years
When I could not see clearly enough
To move anywhere but out.
And since the only out is death,
I move back in.
And I suppose I do so
Because I have something to say before I go,
And because there are those
Who depend upon me for support.
And finally, the thing I am
Is the thing I do.
What a comfort!
So dear God, please help me act today.
Help me to keep on moving toward the goal.
Help me to do the thing in the world
That I am called to do,
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,
Half-way between South America and South Africa
Is a Little Island called Tristan Da Cunha.
It is the most remote inhabited island in the world.
Only about 250 people live on the Island
And they rarely see anyone from the outside world.
Since they live so close,
And everyone knows everybody,
They are like a family.
And they share everything,
Well, perhaps not everything,
But they share.
It's a way of life.
And that is how it's always been, they say.
Many of the older folk remember the lean days
When ships would not come for months.
If one person got a bag of sugar,
They all had sugar.
If someone caught a bunch of fish,
Or slaughtered a beef,
They all had fish, or beef.
And supposing an old woman
Was headed to the cemetery
To visit her husband's grave,
She didn't call the florist.
She simply asked a neighbor
If she might cut a few flowers from her garden.
I suppose that such a way of life
Seems backward to those living
In the "get for yourself" world.
It did to some who visited there.
Long ago, a visiting sailor was remembered to have said,
"They are like a bunch of grown-up children."
I think he meant it as a slight.
But I believe it was the best compliment
He could have given them.
God help me to grow up
To be so childish.
You want to change the world.
And you believe that you can do so
Through a change in policy.
But you are mistaken.
Your doctrine is something like:
If only those in power
Could use their power
To profit me and those I love,
Then we would be free.
But such thoughts reveal a misunderstanding
Of both power and freedom.
Power resides in the ability to suffer well,
And freedom is its consequence.
The man who complains
Because he's being denied his rights
Has lost his rights already.
The man who knows his rights
Quietly lives by them.
He does not complain
When the powers that be
Don't acknowledge his work,
Nor does he use their rejection or disregard
As an excuse to not show up for work.
For he does not work for them.
And if, in the end,
His labors buy him no more
Than a seat in the gas chambers,
He dies a free man.
Release into the acceptance
Of what you are so far,
For who knows what is good, but God.
And who knows how many revolutions must come
Before we are perfected.
Like clay upon the wheel, we turn
Round and round.
And he loves us where we are.
He loves the bright and burning
Coals within the flame.
And he loves the cold, the lost,
The hungry traveler
Far from home.
We are the same to him: beloved, cherished,
In the bosom of his deepest
And most holy intent.
For when it comes to the things of the Spirit,
Not all that glitters is gold.
Sometimes, the pearl of great price
Is found in the deepest, darkest,
Hours of our wayward, fearful, flights
Into the thing that we despise.
One thing for sure:
We will never find our way back home
By turning away in shame.
And so, let go...
Let God decide what is good.
Peace is a gift, however it comes.
And thank God for it.
But today, I would like to rock your boat a little
By saying that not all peace
Is God's peace.
And not all peace will lead to Him.
For there is a kind of peace that leads one to trust
In earthbound hopes.
And this peace is called carnal security.
And it is fine as far as it goes.
After all, is it not good to be content and grateful...
For the job, the social status, the wife, the children, the car, the house?
Surely! And ingratitude is far worse.
But what happens when these are stripped away?
Only then do we discover that perhaps our peace
Was less founded upon the infinite
And more upon the finite.
And only when we are thrown
Upon the naked hand of providence
Do we know whether our peace was eternal rest
Or carnal security.
And only through pain
Can the lesser peace be sifted out
Till nothing but that peace which surpasses understanding remains.
And as for love,
God's love is no less elusive.
For only in betrayal do we discover
Whether our love remains when theirs dissolves.
For there is but one peace, one hope, one love
That is eternal.
And the path to obtaining it is a winding upward road
To the hill of a tailor-made Golgotha,
Tailor-made for each of us.
And isn't it terrible to say it outright like that?
I feel as if I have broken
With some unspoken societal contract.
But isn't that what we always said we wanted
When we sang:
I have decided to follow Jesus...
The world behind me,
The cross before me,
No turning back...
No turning back...
The time has come for each person
To traverse their own wilderness path,
And through that experience
To create their own sacred remembrances,
And thus keep alive the truth,
Not of what God did for a people far distant
And far removed by time and culture,
But of what he did for each of us.
And just as the children of Israel observed the Passover,
We too will remember, from moment to moment,
How God spared us
While thousands around us were slain
Because they would not suffer themselves
To be led out of what they thought they were.
And this is the Last Great Exodus
That Jeremiah was talking about
When he said:
The days come, saith the Lord,
That it shall no more be said,
The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel
Out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel
From the land of the north,
And from all the lands whither he had driven them:
And I will bring them again into their land
That I gave unto their fathers."
And this Last Exodus
Will change the hearts of the people.
It will bring them to have hearts of flesh, and not hearts of Stone
Because it is not only a journey into a geographical place
But a journey into the very heart of God.
I move forward toward the horizon of my tomorrows,
Not looking back upon what might have been
If I were something more, something different.
And I trust that the path that I have chosen
Is one eternal round,
And that, somehow, In the grand economy of God’s providence,
I will find each one that I have lost,
And that I love,
In the bright new hope
Of unseen futures.
For I have put my trust
In the promises of God,
Spoken at diverse times
And through unearthly means
To the marrow of my soul.
And the promises of God are real.
They can be banked upon
As surely as the revolutions of the cosmos.
So, come 'round, old fate.
I do not fear you.
I welcome the new
As it, surely as the rising of the sun,
Brings round the old renewed.
I reap today the results of thoughts
Sown in the field of my consciousness
Days, or weeks, or months, or even years ago.
There is little that can be done
To stem the tide of such harvests
Once they have taken root
And been allowed to grow through repetition and neglect
In the unseen field of the things that I secretly believe.
To tear them up once they manifest themselves in outward things
Is tantamount to an attempt to turn back nature.
So instead, I will accept the bitter harvest
Sown in my ignorant youth,
And sow better and more deliberate thoughts
Into the field of my consciousness today,
So that they may grow up unseen
And manifest themselves,
Through passage of time,
In better tomorrows.
When we suffer well,
The angry, hurtful words
Can become embedded in our flesh.
They search out pockets of sensitivity
And lodge themselves in unsuspecting organs and tissues.
These must be washed away with love.
And love is a river that flows through the soul.
In everyday life,
The river constricts and narrows down
To something more like a stream.
But, through purposeful imagination,
You can swell the stream
So try this.
Lie down and relax.
Let go of every muscle.
And feel yourself sink down.
Then imagine yourself as a river.
Actually picture in your mind the banks
Of the river - wide and spanning some great distance
On either side of you.
Feel yourself deep and low,
Low enough to hold the great mass of water
Flowing through you.
Then imagine the banks of the river extending
To some impossible distance,
Perhaps as wide as the state you live in.
Since you are the bed of the river,
As you do, you will feel yourself relax even more.
You will feel a deepening
In order to hold that much water.
And then do it again...and again,
Until the water stands on either side
To some distance which you can only comprehend
Through your imagination.
Were you to sit in a boat in the middle of this river,
You would be in the midst of an ocean.
And now feel the great mass of water
Pouring through you,
Continually emptying itself out upon
The arid land which is your body.
Let it flow over and cool
Every fevered part.
As you do, you may feel
You may feel an actual cleansing
Of the cells of your body.
As you let this great mass of water flow through you,
See it heal your soul.
See the desert begin to bloom
With every kind of vegetation.
See each tree and flower shooting upward
Toward God in joy and gratitude.
And then as you heal
And as the river moves on,
Picture it flowing out of you
And emptying itself into the arid lands
Of those whom you love
Many of whom, perhaps, were the cause
Of your suffering.
See their deserts heal.
As you do this,
You may discover
That you need to sleep afterwards.
That's ok. Let yourself sleep.
You may also wake up
With new answers
As to what you need to do
To help heal those relationships.
A WARNING: This mediation may be difficult
If you have not been doing your best
To suffer well.
If so, repent.
Seek to carry the cross
Of other's anger and betrayal
Without reviling back.
Seek to love as He loved,
And to forgive.
The real work happens
In the field of your consciousness.
So that, the things you do
And the things that come to you
Are an outward manifestation
Of an inward work.
We are like birds
And gratitude is the wind beneath our wings.
Where are you?
Are you riding high on life?
Or are you low?
Do you stand upon the factory floor
Loathing your place in life
And wondering: "Is this all I'm good for?"
If so, then there is a better job for you.
Leave your present employer today
And begin work immediately for the King of Unseen Things.
And when you show up on the factory floor tomorrow,
Choose to be grateful.
It's hell. I know.
It is so much harder than just showing up.
But it is the only way to brighter tomorrows.
And the only pay you'll receive
Is to know that you are good for something more.
For surely someone there will feel it,
And though they'll never know that it was you,
They will look upward and wonder
If it was God.
There are many books and teachings
That expound the art
Of accomplishing your dreams.
Some focus on hard work and skill.
Others take a spiritual approach,
Encouraging one to imagine the desired outcome.
And many of these are helpful.
But they do not ensure
That your dreams are in alignment
With the highest good.
And out of this mistaken pursuit of lesser dreams
Spring misery and disenchantment.
And so, I would like to examine dreams.
On the very bottom rung of dreams
Is that dream which serves the outcome.
Such dreamers play the game
Solely for the sake
Of personal profit.
Higher up, are dreamers
Who play the game of profit
For the love of the game.
These can turn a dollar
And they enjoy doing so.
They find it fun.
This is a key difference between them
And those on the bottom rung.
And often you will find them far more willing
To part with their winnings.
Next up are those who do a thing
Because they love the thing they do.
These can be truly beautiful.
And they are rare.
And much of the best
And most glorious work
The world has produced
Has come from these.
But they can also be ugly
Wherein their love is misplaced or warped
But the highest on the ladder of dreams
Are those whose dream
Has been transformed
Into the image of that One Desire
Which lifts the world
From all it thinks it wants
To the very thing it does want
But cannot see.
Such dreamers have been stripped
Of earthbound hopes.
Their desire, their dream,
Is for the fulfillment of unseen promises,
Spoken in whispers
By the voice of angels.
For these have been listening
Not to the pulsing of their own impassioned wish,
But to a still small voice.
And having slain
That part of themselves
That seeks it’s own,
They are finally free
To desire the thing
Which is best for all.
In the kingdom of light
There are fountains of living water
That even the most fevered brow
Cannot help but find relief.
I open my mind, my heart,
To receive such refreshment.
I see it in my mind's eye
Pouring out, like a great flood, over me,
Filling the parched ground,
Binding up the limb
And healing every lost
And languishing corner of my soul.
And then, like the heaving of the sea,
It overflows and pours downstream
To fill the arid lands of the lost souls
Still knit up within my flesh.
And as it does,
Around about me springs
Flowers of every kind and shape
Each in its own likeness.
And the world of unyielding heat
Gives way to paradise.
It's just a change, that's all.
And the end of one thing
Is always the beginning of another.
And this time, something better's coming
If you have eyes to see: a new world.
But in order for this great and last change
To be absolute,
We had to grow fat on lesser things -
Not just as a nation,
But as a world.
So that when it falls,
It will be complete.
And that is perfect.
For the thing that awaits
Is the very thing we were longing for
With all of our devices.
And early in the morning
On the day after it all comes down,
On a street corner perhaps
Before the sun is fully up,
There will stand someone selling something.
And somewhere else,
Someone will be giving something away.
Or trading for the thing he needs.
And the world will go on living, breathing, interacting.
For economy is an eternal part of existence.
It goes on, to spite the fall of nations,
To spite the end of worlds.
But this time, the winds of fortune have changed.
Already, they blow in the direction of those
Who work in the service
Of something more
Than the pursuit of personal profit.
So don't lose heart when the towers fall.
It's only the beginning of something better
Than all that we thought we served
When first we set our hands to the plow
And decided that we were man enough
To look out for number one.
Our work is faith
So do not be disheartened
When all that you can do is not enough.
The answer lies, not in your own capacity,
To think, to act, to be enough.
But in the unseen portals of divine providence.
So let all you do be done,
Not with the thought
That you will move the mountain,
But as tokens of belief.
I act today
In this small way
Because I trust that these actions, small and few,
Are the earnest for unseen rivers
Of divine deliverance.
In SPIRIT and in truth -
That seems to be the message of the age!
It is finally time to look past the outward
To the inward thing that binds,
To forget the thing we thought we knew
And to grow bright in the love of all that warms us.
And it is a comfort to me
To know that I can’t convince you.
The convincing time is past,
When the heavens roar
And the tempest heaves the sea…perhaps,
But only that.
Until then, it is for the few
With eyes low enough to see
That all their claims are emptiness, unless,
They worship Him
In SPIRIT and in Truth.
A friend of mine shared with me these three couplets:
Go SLOW in order to go fast.
Go LOW in order to go high.
Appear FOOLISH if you would be wise.
Today, I had the thought to add two more:
Focus on the ONE in order to reach many.
Do LITTLE in order to do much.
Here is his website: www.getmorejesus.com
When I fell into poverty,
It came upon me by forces which I did not understand.
I felt sure that it was due to mismanagement of my affairs.
And in retrospect, it still appears that way.
But at the time, I was told that it was not -
I was told that the field needed to go fallow.
I have the feeling
That when wealth comes
It will come in the same way,
By forces which I do not understand.
Of course, that’s not to say I haven’t changed.
And all along, I’ve been asking questions
Of the maker of the universe.
But after all, I still do not feel smart enough,
Or strong enough.
But it seems that it must come,
Not because wealth, in and of itself,
Is better than poverty,
But because He said so.
And when it does, I think,
That it will seem, like a divinely orchestrated accident,
Or like the culmination of a paradox
Written in my flesh.
And it makes me wonder
How much of all our pride
And our self-loathing
Are ill placed.
It is said that we must learn
Both to give and to receive.
And that is true.
But to ask is a bitter pill.
And when it comes to earthly things
It is avoided by the faithful.
For somewhere along the way ,
We came to believe that taking care of ourselves
Was equal with righteousness.
And so we have reserved our desperate pleadings
For the solitude of our closets.
And for the time being,
We are permitted
To do our begging in private.
But the time is coming
When the best among us
Will be broken down to begging,
And that before the world.
And that’s ok.
It is part of the deep magic
That will change this world into something higher.
For we thought that the highest good
Was to need nothing of nobody.
But there is a higher good:
To give freely
And to receive freely
And to ask when we're in need.
These three comprise a key
That will unlock the gate
To a world without strife.
And together they will lay to rest
The miser and the pauper.
They will tear down
The high look
And raise the godly poor
To once again look us in the eye.
And all those who will not come
To this last leveling
Will be crushed
By their own obstinance.
It is inescapable.
The first building block for a secure housing future
Is a van - if it is paid for.
Or a car.
Or a very cheap trailer.
Or even perhaps a tent if you live in Arizona.
But not a bicycle - It will not keep the rain off.
And almost anyone can own a van.
And I mean really own it -
Not pretend to own it
As mortgage payers do.
For once you own your housing,
A world of possibility awaits.
And more than that,
It sets a precedent of contentment.
And to be content with little
Is the position of greatest power,
For it enables a person to say no
But there is one more reason
That I like a van to start.
It is a reminder
That the new and more abundant life
Is moving, ever moving.
So that, even if fate lands you
In a castle by the sea,
With foundations 20 feet deep,
You will not be fooled into staying
When the cloud and pillar
Have moved on.