It has been an unusual Lent
to say the least
The devotional has been an old one I came across
of Henri Nouwen’s from Mt Vernon
on the Prodigal Son
I am broken open
by this old story, this parable of a wayward child
and his truculent brother and loving father
I think of his mother and her fear for her younger son
and the weariness of that sad fear.
The relief and busy-ness of killing
the fabled fatted calf for a celebration and readying for guests,
trying to assuage her eldest sons pouts and consternation,
when all she wants to do is sit quietly
in her chair and be happy her son is home.
And I wonder if those thirty six righteous men are working
their asses off researching the vaccine to save humanity.
Or if they are wandering from place to stay-in-place,
just trying to find a soft chair to sit in
and a cold glass of water to drink.
Its all that ‘second loneliness’ that broke my chest open.
All that second loneliness for the world in all its pain and beauty
All that second loneliness in isolation
All this second loneliness, Lent 2020
Sometimes, without noticing,
I nudge the lid open
and out spills
those sadnesses, deep and heavy.
Regrets, not so much of things
I didn’t have,
but conduct and words I wish
I had done or not
Small things that I remember,
disappointments I could have changed
into morning glories,
bright blue and heavenly
as the Madonna’s cloak.
***First Sunday of Lent 2019
You are the parable:
the lost lamb, the goat amongst sheep,
a mustard seed, the feast
and the dinner guests,
a fig tree, barren and budding.
All these stories are your story-
Don’t you remember that time when you fought
and said things you shouldn’t have
and all that stuff was so unforgivable.
But it wasn’t.
And now here you are with a family and children
of your own and you are cherished beyond
Or you are the eldest, the good girl that never
gave them a minutes worry. And you had to welcome
that no good son of bitch back
after he climbed out of the pig sty and cleaned himself up.
But now you know,
’cause you have been the prodigal too.
A parable, a pearl of great price, a seed sown in good soil,
a wise servant, a friend at midnight.
One who was lost
is it irony
this leaving of cold dark winter
into the light of spring
just as he learns of the darkness in his body
and the radiation that will slow its journey
and his lessened future.
is it mercy
this praying for his life, his light
we have nothing to sacrifice other
than the burnt offering that he will become
under the merciless eye of
the ticking machine
and his lessoned future
love and friendship are our only traveling mercies
as he journeys into the spring of his foreseeable future
Psalm 51:15-17 Lent 2019
A good friend begins his journey. We are walking with him on his path as far as we can. We love him so and ask for mercy.
Unconsciously, I think my husband knows its Ash Wednesday,
the beginning of Lent.
He is busy arranging things on the table top
and the smell of bleach cleaner is coming from the bathroom
where he has sprayed down the shower stall.
I need to dust, our prescribed arrangement of household chores,
he vacuums, I dust.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, I sing song to myself
as I look for the Murphy’s Oil Soap.
I tear an old towel into pieces-
Rend not your clothing, but your heart, the prophet tells us.
My heart has had enough rending, thank you very much, and
I think it is high time to darn the pieces together again.
So this is my Ash Wednesday prayer, this beginning of Lent,
that my heart be stitched back into place, that
its brokenness is plastered over and smoothed.
That the grief of the past long years be no longer bright flames
but ash and dust,
ashes to ashes,
dust to dust.
Joel 2:12-13 Ash Wednesday 2019
sweeping the kitchen floor –
the remnants of living –
rushing to work –
contemplation takes a backseat-
scattered in the last autumn leaves –
flock of small brown sparrows take wing –
Our Lenten season continues.
Daily rituals of sacrifice and penance are observed
as we struggle with the mysteries of life.
This life filled with –
well, with those things life is filled with –
things that we love and suffer-
faces of loved ones, song, sun and moon,
food and warmth, the aching of need
We hold fast to breath
and heartbeat, far past the time our legs
and body have become undone.
I repent of all the sins I have committed
Just as each child is guilty and must be forgiven,
I also forgive her
for all those common sins that mothers commit
against their children
out of habit
We both repent
and with ashes marked on our foreheads
continue on with her morning ablutions
and daily baptism of water