Friday, October 2, 2015

I Want to Remind You


I look at you as I ride the metro, hair shaved down the middle, reading Crime and Punishment, and I want to tell you that I’m also reading Dostoyevsky, and that you are loved.

I walk alongside you in the blustery wind as you yell out random phrases to passerby, and I want to give you an umbrella, and to tell you that you are loved.

I stop next to you on the street corner, and look into your foggy cataract covered eyes, and I begin a conversation with you, but forget to tell you that you are loved.

I want to tell all of you the truth. That you are made in infinite love, to be infinitely loved, meant to return to infinite love. 

The world you’ve been born into tells you otherwise. You watch the news and think this cannot be so. You look into the mirror and forget to infinitely love yourself. The people around you fail you, and so you believe you are not meant to be infinitely loved. You settle for tarnished love, overshadowed love, broken love. 

Do not settle. You are worthy of the infinite. Your brothers and sisters have forgotten, because they too have experienced diminished love. They’re out of practice. Many have never even seen or felt infinitely loved. Show them.  

Remember that you, too, are out of practice. Start practicing. In so doing, you will begin to rouse your brothers and sisters from the slumber of self-defense, indifference, numbness. But you yourself must first awaken. Open your eyes. 

This is a vocation we are all called to. If we are called to love humanity as a whole—an easy and inspiring vow we all secretly make—it begins with the person next to you. 

Mother Teresa said, “Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families. 

Home is the hardest to love. Those around you are the hardest to love. They have imperfections, after all, annoying habits, cracks, creases and brokenness. It’s not pretty. It’s much easier to love the orphan in Rwanda, the refugee from Syria, the immigrant from Mexico—in theory. What about the co-worker who talks too much? The parent that nags? The roommate that doesn’t do the dishes? The cab driver that cut you off? 

Let us love first those around us so that our love can come to embrace all of humanity. 

Let us remind one another of the truth.

You are loved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Come




“They were terrified.”

“Be not afraid, it is I.”

“Come.”

“Save me, Lord”

“Immediately, Jesus reached”

“Why did you doubt?”





We often fail to recognize Christ in fear and darkness, surrounded as we are by the chaos of a storm. His appearance, or our realization of his Eternal Presence, frightens us in the distance because we perceive him to be far away. We squint through the gray skies and pounding rain at the shadowy figure in the distance. The storm distorts our perception.

He draws near to us, in spite of our blurred vision, his first words being words of comfort.

He does not say, “Be not afraid, I can calm the storm,” but “Be not afraid, it is I.”

He alone is enough.

Are we calm enough to perceive him? Are we bold enough to find him in the gray skies, pounding rain and chaos? Are we strong enough to echo the words of Peter, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you”?

“Come.”

It is the same response, the same invitation given to us. He does not hesitate; he longs for his children to do the impossible, the unimaginable, the great. But we must first ask this of him.

Again, “come.”

Come to me in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Come, see what I can do in your life.

Come, love my people.

Come, walk on water.


How long does it take us to turn our gaze away? Five minutes? A day? A month? We are more fickle than our brother Peter, who we often chide for his fear. Our boldness, “command me,” begins to drown so quickly. We cannot live up to the weight of Christ's response. We cannot imagine our own greatness. We fail to trust. We look away. The waves lap up around our ankles, already our clothes are splashed. The boat we so boldly stepped out of is now so far away. We are drowning.

“Save me, Lord!” we cry out with Peter.

A hand.

Immediately.

The soft words: oh little one “why did you doubt?”

Why did we doubt?

The invitation remains: 

"Come."

Matthew 14:25-31

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

false reflections





We walk amidst the shadows and call them life. We’re so accustomed now to the dimness that light is too abrasive. It burns rather than warms, offends rather than illuminating. So we stumble around in the fog, thinking we are dancing. It’s like looking in the mirror and confusing the reflection with the person. Only now, we've even made the reflection unclear. The mirror has a layer of steam, blurring the image. And many of our backs are turned. And sometimes, even the light is off. Many things prevent us from truly seeing ourselves, from knowing who we are, from where we’ve come, and to what we are going. But we’ve convinced ourselves that we are comfortable. “Comfortable” is our best friend. It doesn’t demand much of us, doesn't pry, doesn’t ask us to change. It leaves us quite alone, minds its own business. Comfortable—a makeshift refuge amidst the vast discomfort of the world we face each day. Comfortable—the often elusive goal of our lives. Comfortable—the fog on the mirror. Comfortable is not evil. I’m not suggesting a life of suffering and misery as a suitable alternative. We’ve just limited ourselves to something far below us, something that isn’t our true end, though many of us have come to think so. We’ve deluded ourselves into thinking that comfort is the epitome of life. The thing that will bring us joy.

Why is comfortable not enough? Because it’s not what we were made for. We were made for greatness, for excellence, even amidst the discomfort of our world. We were never made to settle, just as we were never made for the fog, or the darkness, or the failure. What will wipe away the steam, turn us around, flip on the light, allow us to face ourselves? Love. Uncomfortable love. Love that demands all of who we are. Love that evaporates our egoism. Love that hurts. Love that is real. Love that pushes us out of ourselves and into the lives and well-being of others. Love that we have to practice, and will fail at, again and again. Love that doesn't judge. Love that is hard. 

But love that is worth it. Love that reminds us who we are and why we’re here. Love that takes us from the shadows and actually calls us to dance. Love that breaks through the fog. Love that never diminishes. Love that is the true light. Love that is our true reflection.

Monday, April 7, 2014

glimpses



We have an unquenchable thirst for love. Oftentimes, it remains buried in cavernous places we rather not acknowledge. Then certain moments arise, or people step into your day, or conversations are had, or life is simply lived, and you realize how deep that longing is: the longing for love. It seeps in when the last dregs of light filter into the room. Your heart aches at another day ending. Or the yearning awakens after seeing a movie or reading a book about another place and time. Or while a friend reads poetry, and line by line you fall deeper into the human soul. Or a statement is made and you recognize yourself in the eyes of another.

These moments are always unexpected. They peek shyly like stolen secrets; dance slyly like whispers in the wind. We are caught wholly unprepared for the ache they leave within our soul that awakes ravenous, longing to be satisfied. They leave their residue on a heart now burning, fainting, panting. You want to lie on the ground with your arms outstretched looking up at the sky, close your eyes and melt into the feeling. Breathe it in. Gulp it down. Grasp it.

But nothing fully satisfies.

We are comfortable and restless. The in-between leaves us torn, for these glimpses of love do not satiate the soul. In the meantime, we drink poetry; we inhale nature; we disappear in art; we laugh. We distract ourselves with beauty and chase after truth. Or we wait for the unexpected moments with no name. It is on these glimpses of love that we build our hope. They sustain us as we bustle around this waiting room, awaiting the day when we are ravished by Eternal Love–sighing for that moment in exasperation and contentment.

Monday, February 17, 2014

rejuvenation


breathe in

inhale
blue sky
crisp air
bright sun
jagged rocks
frosty trees

held breath
too long

forgotten
mystery
of sacred alcoves

now
breathe all in
deeply

the rhythm
of routine

the radiance
of faces

the elegance
of habits

the whispers
in trees

watch
they enter
two by two
somber and majestic
like queens

try not
to stare
though they
contradict
all reason

how is it
that in black
they radiate
light

how
in black
do they scream
joy

give peace

are they not
dead
to the world

is not
black
for mourning

heart aches
as it reawakens
stretching
for you
oh simple life

too clear
a mirror
of paradise

held up
against me
reveals me
to myself

bearing traces
of the world
outside

within you
oh cloister
i am but
a pauper

i drop
to my knees
amidst your
treasure

take me to
transcendent
heights
where you sing
with choirs
of angels

let me dance
in your hay
cattle lulling

let me bow
and rise
in sacred time

fill my
inhaling lungs
with sweetness

stock my shelf
with memories

for the world
outside
awaits