Thursday, February 13, 2014

The difficult music of your life

In case you don’t know the poet, Ted Kooser, I would like to introduce you to him.  He was born in Iowa and now lives in Nebraska.  Go to his official website;  Ted Kooser  If you like poetry you won’t be disappointed.  And if you think you don’t like poetry, you may be pleasantly surprised.  

The poem below is one that I love.  It is from his book, Delights and Shadows.  
Try to see the poem as  you read it. 

A Rainy Morning

A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain,
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.

—Ted Kooser

One sentence from the poem that lingers with me is this:   “So expertly she plays the chords/ of this difficult music she has mastered.”  The words, “difficult music” linger in my heart.  I am in awe of the courage of so many people (you may be among them) who are daily mastering the “difficult music” of their lives.   I am constantly amazed at the courage portrayed in people's lives.  That same courage is in each of us.  And so, to discover it!

Sometimes just sitting with a poem can be a prayer.  As you sit with this poem,  bring to your mind people you know who are struggling with the “difficult music” of their lives.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wisdom is knocking at your door

Those of you who have my 2014 calendar will know that WISDOM is the  word I chose for us to focus on for the month of February.  It would, of course, be a wonderful gift for us to be conscious of  at any moment of the day.  Wisdom need not be something we think about only on Pentecost though many of us  will recognize it as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I chose wisdom for February because here in Arkansas it is a time when (especially toward the end of the month)  we are likely to see little faces of green growing things trying to lift their faces out of the frozen earth.

This miracle of life pushing through what looks like death is beautifully metaphoric for our lives.  It is valuable to remember that in our desperate/lonely moments when no teacher is in sight, there is always a teacher within.   Are we able to learn the patience of waiting beside the sorrow?  Waiting with the sorrow?   Can we sit with the death we are experiencing and just listen to the wound?  Life is a wisdom school, yet  there are times when we have to do our grief work before the wisdom shows her face.

Spend some time getting acquainted with your inner teacher.  What pieces of wisdom will you gather during the month of February?  Wisdom is knocking at your door!

Here is a small wisdom poem I wrote many moons ago.

Again and again
the words washed over my soul
bathing me in truth.
-words from Terry Tempest Williams:
"The most radical thing you can do
is to stay where you are."

[..and by those words I do not believe she is asking us not to grow;
or to remain in our sorrow forever; we must take the words deeper.
Eat them.  Taste the wisdom within.  Live with them for a few days.
I think she is referring to our modern day restlessness that takes us
away from the wisdom of NOW]

My restless, wandering spirit
stood beside those words for days.
Ate them for dessert
went to bed with them at night
and rose with the taste of them in my heart.

And what about you?
Where are the words that linger?
                          -Macrina Wiederkehr

What have you discovered in the middle of your living that could serve as a resource for your own wisdom poem?
At the end of the day ask yourself this question:  What pieces of wisdom from this day's journey,  linger?