This Being Human


Spirit of Life, Source and Sustainer of all:

Now is the time of brilliant leaves against blue sky,
scudding clouds on the horizon,
shortening days.

As leaves fall, we become aware
of how temporary all things are,
and how beautiful.

We realize how small we are
in the face of the great mystery
that is life and death.

This being human is not easy:
being alive and knowing we have to die,
loving our world and knowing
its terrible pain.

How can we cope?

Perhaps if we breathe.
Perhaps if we lean a little
toward someone sitting next to us.

Perhaps if we think of a brilliant red maple leaf,
twirling down from the very top of a tall tree,
all the way to the ground.

Perhaps if we remember that this brief time
of being alive
is our one chance
to really love,
and our one chance
to heal what is wrong here.

Perhaps if we remember
that when we are finished,
we are gathered back into You–
like the leaf that lives
and then falls in a flash of scarlet
to become part of the whole again,
and nourish new life.

Blessed be.

These Clouds, That Color

Spirit of Life, Source of all love,
You who rise in our hearts
as the impulse toward equality and justice:

In the winter here, clouds and fog
often obscure the long range view.
When we are inside the gray mist
it seems to go on forever:
we cannot see out.

But if we keep going—
if we keep rolling our wheels along
or putting one foot in front of the other—

we reach the edge.

We arrive at a point above the fog
or at the end of the cloud
and we marvel:

Look at how sharply defined
that edge is!
Look how much more we can see now!
That cloud seemed like our whole world,
but it was only a small part,
and now the way shines clear.
Look at all the glorious color!

Spirit of Life, you who rise up in us
as the impulse toward equality and justice:

Help us keep going through these clouds;
guide us through the gray mist to its edge
where the path to healing shines
in clear and glorious color
and we can roll there
and walk there

Blessed be.

Something, Shining

Spirit of Life, breath of our breath,
moving source of all we know:

The season is changing.

Clouds scud along on gusting winds
pouring rain onto a thirsty land,
cooling and perfuming the air.

Just when we get used to rain
there is the sun
making leaves glisten
like polished gold
and raindrops glow
like pearls
in the pines.

There are glints through the trees
of something, shining brightly—
something, shining—
and then it’s gone
and there is more rain.

All is change, and change is fast…
the shining moments go
as quickly as they come

but once we’ve seen one
we know
more are possible

and then O
how we shine.

Blessed be.


Sometimes it is Necessary

Sometimes it is necessary
to lie on your back
upon the face of the earth
and look up at the sky.

There might be clouds
or there might not.
There might be a bird
or a whole flock of birds
or there might not.

What is important is looking up.

Today I watched wisps of cirrus clouds moving fast
across a field of ultramarine blue
framed all around by the tops of trees:

a pine, sighing in the breeze
the cone shapes of cedars and firs
bare branches of oaks in the spaces between.

All winter long I have lain on my back
and watched the trees move against the sky,
wanting to know what they were writing there.

Today there were leaf buds on the oaks.

(March 2016)

Passover Prayer

Spirit of Life,
Source and Sustainer of all:

It is hard to tell that spring has arrived.
White ice floats on the dark lake
and swans graze by the shore.

But then sunlight streams down
in sudden shafts through clouds,
lighting up circles of restless water
in brilliant blue.

May we be stopped in our tracks by this beauty.

May it open our hearts so that
we hear the cries
of all those who are suffering
and can’t help but respond–
even when it is hard–
even when we feel we are not up to the task.

May we keep one another company
in the work of liberation, saying
“Go, now. I will be with you.”

May we remember always
that here, together,
we are standing on holy ground.

Blessed be.