Power Outage

Dear Ones:

I am sorry to vanish for three weeks running.  I know you will understand when you read this week’s post.

Much love to all of you.

Rev. Leisa

 

For a month we have had electricity
only intermittently
which is a problem
when you rely on a well
with an electric pump
for water
and you can’t charge your devices
so you can’t keep up with the outside world
which seems to exist
only at a distant remove.

They have said the reason is to protect us
but if they wanted that
they would have maintained the lines
instead of paying giant bonuses
to the executives.

And even with all the outages
the lines have started fires
not in our neighborhood this time
but in the neighborhoods
of people I love
and it is tinder dry all around us
and any minute now it could all go up
in smoke.

We have our evacuation supplies packed
and the cars pointed out
not that that would help if the tunnel of trees
over our driveway
were on fire.

What is it like?
people ask.

What is it like to live with
the constant threat of fire
magnified by negligence
and not just the threat
but the actuality
when people you love
cannot charge their medical devices
and you can’t breathe
because the smoke
is so thick?

and the power company’s response is
“If you are dependent upon
medical devices that require electricity,
use your own resources
to relocate.”

What resources?
Relocate where, and how?
We are so bewildered.  And angry.

What is it like? people ask.
Fascinated by the disasters of others.

It is like this:
One part of my brain is planning
as if everything will be fine
while another is planning
which photos to take when we evacuate
and where to go
and a third
is exercising constant vigilance.
Between the demands of all three
there is no capacity
to remember details
like where I left my keys so

I have spent hours
searching for  little things
I have lost.

And it is also like this:

I am in the middle of a bad dream
in which the world is coming to an end
because the people in power
refuse to pay attention
to the evidence
right before their noses
The air is thick like molasses
and I can’t get through it
I can’t run
so I try to yell
but my voice won’t come out

You know that kind of dream?  It is like that.
Everything is on fire and I have no power.

It wasn’t always this way,
I try to say.
Yes, there has always been fire
but not on this scale.
It was never this hot
or this dry
for so long.
And the first peoples knew
how to manage fire
and they knew how to manage forests
and they didn’t
run electrical wires
right through tangles of trees
and pay each other bonuses
when the wires
started a conflagration.

I try to say these things
but no one hears
except God

And no one is listening, it seems,
even to God.

 

You… Shining (A Prayer for Yom Kippur)

Great Spirit of Life, Mysterious energy
that moves in and through all things:

Our old unwanted thoughts and habits
lie underfoot like the old leaves
that now begin to fall
on your hillsides.
We may have needed them once,
but no more.

Send the sweet rain
of Your love and compassion
that these old things
may be transformed
into rich soil for new growth.

And as feathery moss awakens
to the touch of rain,
and sends out new, seeking tendrils,
may we be made so fresh, and alive, and alert,
that when we look into each other’s faces
we see… You, shining.

Amen.

The Children Speak of their Dreams

The children speak of their dreams.
They are not of money or power or stardom;
no, this generation dreams of something entirely different.
They want only for life to continue on,
but with justice.
They long for restoration
and peace.

A boy with pale skin and glasses
speaks of his dream
of being a father
and standing under an oak tree that he loves
with his children
and knowing that both will outlast him.

A girl with cocoa brown skin and upswept hair
speaks of her dream
of growing old
and having her skin get wrinkled
and her hair turn gray
and her hands look well used
because she has lived a long life
of love and service.

An Indigenous boy with shiny black hair
speaks of plant medicine
and of restoring what has been lost
and also of bringing the movie theater
and the skate park
back to downtown
so kids will have something better to do
than drugs.

A Latinx girl with hoop earrings and impregnable dignity
speaks of how hard her parents work
to give her what they never had
and how she wants to honor
their sacrifices.
Citizenship for Dreamers,
she says, is only possible
and only worthwhile
if there is a living green place
for citizens.

At the end of each impassioned declaration,
Asian teens with buckets and trash cans
strapped to their bodies
beat their impromptu drums
in agreement.

These young humans know
what many of their elders do not:

That the world as we know it
is ending
and something new is coming
and we have to dream what we want
into being.

And all they want
is to restore the community of life
to which they know ALL belong

—ALL—

so they can love
and live
and raise healthy children
in a healthy community
on a healthy planet
in peace.

Adults:  Let us make it so.

Let This Be The Day: A Prayer For The Global Climate Strike

Photo by Mel Evans, AP

Spirit of Life,
You who body forth as our starry universe
and this luminous, blue-green planet:

Today you shine forth from the faces of the children
who are taking to the streets,
clear-headed and clear-eyed,
to demand that adults act like adults
and take responsibility
for the mess we have made.

Children of all colors and all genders
all ethnicities and all nations
all cultures and all creeds—ALL—
are rising up
together.

They hear Your urgent call
to protect life
and they are acting on it.

May we adults gather our own strength
and our own courage
and do likewise.

Let this be the day everything changes.

Blessed be.

Rage and Love and Songs of Praise

Great Spirit of Life,

I confess that in these past weeks I have been angry.
No, not angry. ENRAGED.
Like a dragon with a belly full of flame
I long to torch everything filthy and grotesque
with my breath.
I would take one vast breath in
and then roar with all my might
and the structures of evil
would become
nothing but cinders
and ash.

The problem with fire
is that it burns everything
indiscriminately.
Once you let it loose,
you have no more say
in what stays
and what goes.

So it might be better
To take as my model
the California buckeye.
Never was there a plant
more lovely
or more perfectly adapted
to a harsh reality.

In early spring it is the first to show new leaves
holding candelabra of green flames
up to the light.
Then in June
it explodes into long showy spikes
of fragrant creamy flowers
rivaling any you might see
in the tropics.
Bees and butterflies
and all manner of pollinators
hover among the flowers
singing praises with their wings.

Then when the season grows dry
the leaves begin to wither
and by August they are brown
and dropping off the branches
and people think the trees
are dying.

But in fact they are merely conserving water.
In fact they are making secret plans
for regenerating.

If, in late summer,  you look up at a hillside
on which there are buckeyes
all you can see is dead branches.
Not until October do you see
the giant seeds
hanging down from long stems
in green cases,
sometimes in pairs
that prompt some people to snicker.

In November
the cases split,
and vast numbers of shiny dark globes
fall onto the ground
and the minute the first rain comes
each sends a white root poking down
into the soil.
Many more fall than actually grow
into new trees.

Yes, I think the California buckeye
is a good model.

Enjoy the times of plenty
but when things get hard and dry
and it seems that life is impossible
drop everything unnecessary
and focus on regeneration.
Make secret plans
for doing what is needed
to birth the next world.
Plant seeds profligately.

Then when things get better,
have a big party.
Wear your fanciest clothes
and invite all beings in close
for love, and songs of praise.

Blessed be.

We Need Only Be

Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love in which
we live and move and have our being:

Sometimes words fail.
Sometimes the catastrophe is so great
and the pain and fear and bewilderment
are so overwhelming
that we run out of things to say.
It feels impossible to pray.

In those times help us remember
that it is not our words
that connect us to you,
though they can help.
It is not our deeds
that connect us to you,
though they can help too.

No, it is rather that
we can never become disconnected.
Like a bird soaring on an updraft,
we need only be
and we are held in you.
We need only breathe,
and we breathe in you.

I breathe in God,
God breathes in me.
I breathe in Love,
Love breathes in me.

I rest in God,
God rests in me.
I rest in Love,
Love rests in me.

I move in God,
God moves in me.
I move in Love,
Love moves in me.

Help us remember:
we need only be,
and we are held in infinite love.

Blessed be.

The Change That Is Our Life

Spirit of Life, moving source of all we know,
Summer begins now to draw to a close:
the unrelenting heat has subsided,
a cool breeze sings in the trees,
and the smoke is giving way to blue sky.
Change is in the air.

Some change is catastrophic:
illness and divorce and death,
fire and war and storm.

Other change is ordinary
and yet no less enormous in our hearts:
children beginning kindergarten,
teens beginning high school,
young adults fledging the nest.

Even as parents give thanks
that their children are making these beginnings,
they also sob for the times that are ending,
for their fears of what their children may face,
and for the beauty of the whole that is unfolding.

This is what it means to be alive
on this small blue planet
orbiting an ordinary star
in a spiral galaxy
in this vast expanding universe:
Change is the one thing
of which we can be
absolutely certain.

Spirit of Life, Source of all change:
Help us know that
whatever change we are experiencing,
whether catastrophic or ordinary
or somewhere in between,
You are with us.
Your love and your presence
they comfort us.
You are the whole
of which we are the parts
and we can never fall outside
of Your love.

Blessed be.

God’s Porch

If you just lost everything in a fire
If the floods have taken it all away
If the diagnosis is worse
than anything you imagined
If the pain just won’t let up

If you are afraid for the life
of your grown-up child
If you can’t keep a baby growing
If your failing parent is far far away
And you can’t afford to travel

If you spend every day in the car outside
the worksite of your toddler’s father
singing to the baby and praying each moment
that ICE won’t come today

If you are hiding in the hills with no place to go
because the trailers for the workers
burned down

If you can’t go outside
without some jerk shouting comments
about every aspect of your body

If you fear for your life
when you see a police car
If you fear for the life of your son

If you worry every day
about what kind of world
this is for raising your children
If you’re scared of the man
with his hand on the button
If you’re afraid of what’s happening
to your marriage

Come to my house.

Come sit on the porch a while.

Look up at the trees. Listen to the quiet.
Allow peace to enter your heart.
A dragonfly darts to and fro above the yard
and butterflies silently flutter.
Hummingbirds drink from the feeders
and bees work in the clover.

There are wind chimes of metal
and one of bamboo
and they sway
sometimes sounding
in the breeze.

Come sit on the porch,
or lie down if you prefer.
We have many different kinds of chairs.
Breathe in the sweet air.
Gaze up into blue sky.
See the bright colors of the zinnias.

I will bring you something
delicious to drink
and if it is cool I will tuck you in
with a blanket

You can lie back and rest and relax
And just leave it all to me.

My love will wrap around you
and you will know you are safe
and nothing will ever hurt you
again.

Come sit on the porch a while.
Come on up and rest.

I am here waiting
just
for you.

Behold!

Behold!  From before the dawn of time I have been here
waiting
for you…
I gave birth to stars that swirled away
into spiral galaxies
forming and reforming the molecules of me
into new stars
that died and were born again;
I grew larger and larger, and the stars of me
burst and joined again and again
and their partings and joinings made new elements
that danced toward each other,
and caught, and held on,
and my love made them alive.

Behold! This is all alive and dancing here together
in intricate motion:
a luminous blue-green ball whirling in space
filled with starfish and bats
and grains of sand that once were mountains
and belly-laughing babies and rivers and trains
and eagles and cats
and little buildings filled with people who love me.

Behold! From the dust of long-ago stars
I formed your ancestors
who died and returned unto me to be re-formed
into trees and rocks and soil and grass and YOU.

From air and fire and water and earth
I ripen into fruit that drops into your waiting hands.
I feed you and clothe you and shelter you
with my body,
I quench your thirst with my water,
my blood.

Behold! This is my body, grown here for you:
See, my round purple eggplants,
my many colored tomatoes,
my fuzzy rosy peaches, my little perfect grapes,
my juicy melons, my vigorous zucchini,
my beans and grains, my leafy greens,
my alluring herbs and spices.

Behold!  I have set your table with good things!
Now—this is what I want from you:

Learn to share.
Clean up your mess.
Say thank you.

Blessed be.

Be Like The River

Spirit of Life, source of all love,
this is my prayer today:

It is high summer and the air is hot and still
dry leaves crackle overhead
and cicadas buzz in my ears.
Fires rage out of control in the mountains
and cruelty rages out of control in the nation.
I weep with anger and with sorrow.

In times such as these
let me go down to the river.
The water is a blessing
so cool and clear,
so delicious on my skin,
I can let go of all I carry
and let the water hold me
and soothe me
and wash away my tears.

The river slides over rocks,
sculpting them as it goes:
all in its path is made more beautiful.
If the rocks stand in its way
it finds another way
under or over or around or through:
it will not be stopped.

The river will not be stopped.

Spirit of Life,
Help me be like the river.
Help me be a blessing
that soothes away pain
Help me be a coolness and a clarity
that dissolve cruelty and hatred.
Help me join with others
to become unstoppable.

Help our love change
all whom we touch.

Help us be like the river.

Amen.  Blessed be.