Time, Space and Silence

Having little time, needing more space, and craving deep silence. There, I’ve said what was on my heart. But this is bigger than personal. It’s an age old human dilemma.

Time to think, space to explore and fill with beauty, and silence to mend the soul.

The ever-expanding complexities of our world, coupled with the daily assault of tragedy, disasters, and violence upon the senses create such a turbulence in the soul (being tossed about by every wind and wave of media’s opinionated response)

We can immunize ourselves, build a shell of indifference, pretend there’s nothing we can do, or be gut-wrenched, unbelieving, and despairing of humanity’s redemption, and the future of the planet we call home for now.

Which brings me to reflect on two powerful movies, “Gravity” and “Captain Philips” John and I saw recently.

“Gravity” takes place in space where there is none. The earthly pull is gone, absent. So it’s important to be tethered, and be connected. The breath is absolutely sacred in space where there is none. You count each one and practice silence to survive.Weightlessness is a heavy burden to the soul when there is no landing place.

Losing control of one’s movements is terrifying. The immense darkness, the bone-chilling cold is crushing. You know you don’t belong there. So you must inhabit a shell of metal, glass and air that only allows you a very short journey. But the rare privilege you have gained, seeing the shining blue earth so illuminated, so impossibly beautiful from this elevated viewpoint makes you feel like an alien visitor. Yet you cannot forget the places you have walked, buried by majestic clouds and pulsing light. You yearn to see them close and feel the weight of your feet stuck to the earth again, connected, and belonging.

“Captain Philips” commands an immense tanker loaded with the artifacts of a culture driven by money-making schemes. He is confronted by an enemy who has nothing but fear driving him.  This man he calls “Irish”  has everything, looks into eyes wild with envy. The enemy speaks in a savvy language but the words passing between them are empty of trust and honor.Then there are two captains, each one beholden to very different bosses. At the end only the guns will speak. “Irish” is blindfolded, a witness to his own rescue, but covered by the blood of their wasted lives. He screams with the agony of their death, and how close he himself came to a violent end.

In this digital age we cannot escape these images, either of beauty or violence. It is overwhelming! What can one person do? Is there such a thing as the “power of one”?

In the opening of our eyes and ears, may we see God always at work, receive the Mercy he extends, and live as faithful witnesses to the Grace he offers every human being, through the Power of the One who paid the price for our redemption, JESUS.









Can Poetry Survive a Tweeting World?


A Plea for Poetry to be Learned by Heart and Read Aloud

Why? because voice is spirit. The human voice, hammered out by the human tongue, is the physical expression of the human spirit. Someone once called the tongue “the tail of the heart”.

Language is a complex pattern of symbols to which we have assigned sounds. Words are abstractions, but when fleshed out by the voice, nuanced with emotions, they create meaningful sounds akin to musical compositions. The effect of one person’s voice upon another soul is profound.

Through the power of spoken words, we interpret meaning through emotion and are able to impact someone’s imagination much like heated patterns make an impression on wax. The creative force of the imagination can transport us to new worlds, freeing us from the confines of physical space and time, and carry us to realms of terrifying beauty or gut-wrenching degradation, to something or someone beyond ourselves.

There is an inner voice always speaking to us, reflecting, questioning, assigning value, judging, and deciding our actions. This spiritual voice must break the sound barrier and eventually be heard. Those who cannot speak will find other ways to communicate because the desires to be heard and to be known are as strong in us as the desire to live.

We long to reveal what lies within us, to build a bridge strong enough to cross the chasm of separation, in order to be understood and accepted by another human being.

Fabric 015Because poetry is “polysemous” (having multiple meanings) it causes a fight or flight reaction in the linear mind. Poetry wants to rumble on through, overturn timetables, and upset the way we do life’s business. Saying poems aloud, letting sound and rhythm penetrate the layers of the brain will recharge the spiritual senses, and change our perception of reality.

Poetry always seeks to lift the veil a little, and resurrect our imaginations from the cold death zone of dullness and sleep. A small flame of a poem can do it! We are startled awake and our spiritual senses are opened.The soul leaps up with joy in discovering new meanings, making new connections, and gaining new insights into our relationship with external reality.

To learn a poem or prayer by heart means you have made it a part of your being. It becomes a spiritual treasure, a resource you may call upon anytime, or share with others to enrich their lives.

May Love be the only language that we speak, and the only voice we hear. Don’t forget to read some poem, recite a prayer, or a work of literature aloud to someone you love and wish to bless. It will be music to their ears, and food for their souls.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, I have become as sounding brass, and a clanging cymbal”. (ICor.13)