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On the Beginning

When Aslan sang the world into being
Durga rode on his back
Breathing through labor pangs

Aaaaaaah
Oooooooo
Mmmmmmmm

Her OM resonated
Rippled out
As Nammu
Lost to time
Source and Creative One
Exhaled divine sounds
Birthing primordial being

Waves expanding
Pouring out and over
Filling
Saturating
Particles, atoms
Organized by their vibrations

Spinning launched dancing
Molecules clustered
Into cells
Forming drums
Receiving
Channeling
Reverberating
Interpreting

In the beginning
Was a sound
That became flesh

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I Am Not Ruined

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I am not ruined and you are not either
They lied when they told us
Our most precious part was our purity
That never having been touched
Guarding our hearts and our bodies
Was the Most Important Thing
Our bodies and our purity
Were own honor
And the honor of our families as well

I am not ruined and you are not either
The most precious part of us
Is untouchable essence
Made in the image of the divine

I am not ruined and you are not either
It did not ruin us
When we gave ourselves to them
When they took things
To which they were not entitled
To which we never consented
They did not ruin us
When we were groped
Or assaulted
Or raped
Or consented to make out
Or have sex
Or have everything except technically sex
With those we loved
Or those we liked
Or those we wanted in that moment and never again

I am not ruined and you are not either
Sex does not ruin us
Pleasure does not define us
Violence does not reach our core
Honor is more than what our bodies do
Or do not do
Far more than what is done to us

I am not ruined and you are not either
They do not have the power to ruin us
They do not have the power to stop us from rising up
They do not have the power to prevent us
From owning our power
From making our own choices
From overcoming our mistakes
And theirs
From living into and through
Our choices and their choices
The choices that are taken from us
The choices they make for us
The choices we make for ourselves
The choices we are never allowed to even consider

I am not ruined and you are not either
We are on a constant trajectory
Toward growth
And hope
And love
And learning
And forgiveness of ourselves
Sometimes even of them
Every day we choose that trajectory

I am not ruined and you are not either
By the days we choose a different path
By the days the depth
Of depravity
Of humanity
Pulls us down
And we sink into the mire

I am not ruined and you are not either
We rise again
We pull each other up
We find our way forward

I am not ruined and you are not either
Despite the sins committed against us
When we were 20 or 15 or 10
When they took what we did not choose to give
Took more than we offered
Took what we had been told
Was our most precious part

We are not ruined
You and I
Our survival testifies to our own power
Our strength proclaims the meaning of Love
Our vitality demonstrates how healing is possible
And that we are not ruined
Excuses nothing
Those who abused us
Who stole from us
Who raped us
Their crimes are not less
Because we have become more

I am not ruined and you are not either
We refuse to shrug off their hands
We turn and point
We name their crimes
We proclaim ever more loudly
Our disgust, our disdain
With their malfeasance
With their excuses about the nature of testosterone
Of the minds of men and boys
With their false notions of masculinity

I am not ruined and you are not either
They cannot ruin us
The spark of the divine within us is feminine
Is Wisdom shouting aloud in the streets
Insisting she will be heard
We add our voices
To the cacophony of the ages
Of the quiet voices
Of the punished voices
Of the voices called liars
Of the voices muted entirely
Their stories are the bass note
And we reverberate with their truth

I am not ruined and you are not either
We speak and sing and pray our truth
Reverberating together
Together our starlight
Joins our darkness
Our bodies stand up
And march
And dance
We become one with each other

We are not ruined
We are made in the image of the divine
We are one
We are healed and healing
We are whole
We stand on the ruins of their honor
And proclaim our victory over their lies
I am not ruined
And you are not either

God,

The world is full of such suffering and so much beauty

We so want to decrease the former and expand the latter

It is so hard to know what is ours to do

And what we can leave to others

It is hard to sleep some nights

Knowing how much there is left to do

How many there are

Still suffering

Still hungry

Still imprisoned

Still separated from family and home and peace

But we know the Scriptures include this about Jesus:

When it got to be too much
He got into a boat
And sailed away
And the crowds followed Him with their eyes
Hundreds of them
Thousands
Hungry for more
They would have wrung Him out entirely
They hung on his every word
Drained Him dry
Absorbed anything?
Hard to say how much
They were waiting for Him to act
To make their lives better
He pulled away
Escaped
To sleep
To relax
To be renewed
With a few friends in a boat
A meal and conversation
He explained
I do only what I see
My Father doing
Even with the ability to work miracles
He didn’t heal all of them
He didn’t speak to everyone
He didn’t touch each one who pressed in close
He walked through towns and the countryside
He chose some
But not others
Were these boundaries?
Practicalities born of humanity?
An example for those of us coming later?
What was that withdrawal?
Because in the end…
In the end there were no boundaries
In the end, every person He hadn’t healed
Every person who waited for His words
Every person He hadn’t touched
Received His ultimate sacrifice
Maybe, partially, uncomfortably
What it means
Is that we can’t just connect the dots
Follow the rules
We can’t simultaneously withdraw
And give everything we have
Maybe it only makes sense
While we do this part in the middle
Watch for what the Father is doing
Reach out in tandem with Him
Join in His program already in progress
Otherwise, we’ll never know
When to walk away from the crowd
And when to lay our lives down
For our friends

So may we watch

May we find the places to work

May we find the silence to connect with the divine

May we work for justice and mercy and beauty and grace

Amen

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One for Home and Love

This time of year

No matter where I am

I am homesick

Wrestling with staying present

And making room for the ache

So, today, I am praying

For all of us

For those whose people

Are scattered far and wide

For those who are far from home

In service or adventure

For those missing loved ones

Newly gone this year or

Long absent from holiday tables

For those whose people are a little too close

And have a little too much togetherness

May we look for the silver lining

Searching for the best

Giving the benefit of the doubt

Even when it seems so unlikely deserved

May we work through the moments of awkwardness

And imperfect relationships

Disappointment and pain

May we notice the moments

Of grace and peace and mercy

May we create those moments ourselves

And recognize the efforts of others to create them

May we treasure them deeply in our hearts

May we remember the suffering

May our eyes open to new ways

To bring healing and light and joy

May we remember the baby born in Bethlehem

The One who held together humanity and divinity—

The One who always was and always is and ever shall be

Love come down

The One who calls us to be Love as well

May we recognize every opportunity

To wrestle well with the hard things

To find the best way forward

To honor and love and trust and hope

May we live our way ever more deeply

Into the Way of the One
That has come and keeps coming

Our senses ever more aware of the thin places

Where heaven meets earth

And we are home

One for Jen

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We were Florida girls
That Maine water cold on our feet
We hesitated to fully immerse
But we recounted the story of Edith
Like fiction
She, with her New England grit,
Plunged in daily
Stroked across to the far shore’s tree line
Strong in the waves and current
Conquering the elements
There and back again
Safe and stronger
Her blood runs in your veins

Jen.jpg

One on standing up

trump

These words today
On my way back from
A meeting in Chapel Hill
On a wall on a Chinese restaurant
Near one of my favorite bookstores

I’m not sure about the graffiti on top
Echoed on the dumpster of the gas station
Across the street
But “Kill Trump” reads clearly
Wrong-headed and unAmerican
(A label I generally despise)

Oppose Trump, yes.
March in the streets, if that’s your thing.
Protest his every action, if you must.
Hold him accountable to the constitution
He has not yet sworn to uphold
By whose authority we elected him.

But do not threaten violence.
Do not deface property.
Do no harm, and permit no harm to be done.

 

Remember Keisha Thomas
Who used her black body like a shield
Protecting a man wearing a symbol
Of oppressing black bodies
Refusing to allow violence against him
Even from – especially from – those on her side.

keisha-thomas

 

Remember Amina Amdeen
Who proudly wore her hijab
As she stood up between attackers
And a giant protester carrying a sign
Declaring himself “Proud to be Deplorable”
Protected by her loud voice and her tiny body

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Take them as your example.
Protest, yes. But do it peacefully.
Disagree loudly and proudly and insistently
But do it without violence.

And if others refuse to do so,
Put yourself in harms’ way to
Insist on peace and nonviolence.

Stay on the high road.
Cling to the right way.
Scream and yell your anger.
Lament and wail your sadness.
Speak up and speak out and
Stand up tall – get in the way.

But every time
Go high when others go low.
Even when those others
Are on your “side.”
Especially then.
Stand tall. Stand up.
Every time.

Deplorable photo credit: 
http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/lt/lt_cache/thumbnail/728/img/photos/2016/11/14/59/dd/Joseph-Weidknecht.jpg