Autumnal Graces

msffall14 026
Photo by Joe Grant © 2018

Very truly, I say to you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears abundant fruit. John 12:24

Seeker,
Have you heeded the beckon of the fall?

If you happen to live
along the northern curve of our planet,
you get to watch as we wobble into winter.

And with each autumn come lessons;
a harvest of graces
to color our lives and carpet the ground.

Let sky be glad. Let earth rejoice.
Let the seas and all that fills them roar.
Let the fields and everything within them exult.
Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy… Psalm 96:11-12

As trees turn to fire,
Nature announces her blazing revolution,
in showers ocher and orange gold.

If ever were offered three wishes—
as in the tales of children—
then my desire would be for autumn’s golden graces.

Three unexpected gateways to wholeness,
revealed in letting-go,
falling-down and giving-back.

What return shall I offer the Holy One
for all the goodness given to me? Psalm 116:12

If I could wish three graces for those I dearly love,
it would be these alone:
gratitude, tenderness and humility.

Fruit of wonder,
gratitude is gateway to joy,
turning lack, loss and letting-go into gilded gift.

Fruit of forgiveness,
tenderness opens the way to healing,
transfiguring pain into passion—love’s long shadow.

Fruit of failure,
humility is the low door to wisdom
growing us back down to earth.

Mirroring the setting sun,
these autumnal lessons are poured out
in resplendent hues, for us to pore over.

Like all presents, they come to life in the give-away.
For every golden gift withheld surely turns to lead
and weighs us down with worry or woe.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise…
We are prophets of a future not our own. Ken Untener

Perhaps there is a burden you are carrying.
Perhaps someone worries you.
Perhaps a situation weighs heavily upon you.

Welcome then, autumn’s invitation
to grow by smallness and surrender,
by putting down, by giving away, by letting go.

There is no happiness without thankfulness,
no healing without hurt,
no wisdom without diminishment.

In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not. T. S. Eliot

As this season slowly strips the landscape bare,
to surrounds us
in stark splendid death,

may we in thanksgiving
share the harvest, 
and scatter the seeds of dreams to come.

And savoring the bounty of sunshine, showers,
soil and sweat, may you seed peace, sow forgiveness,
leave the leaves and let go!

joe

Choose Tenderness

18 April 2014_backyardspring 14 012 (2)
Photo by Joe Grant © 2018

My servant will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick until justice reigns.
And in this name will the nations hope. Matthew 12:20-21

Seeker,
Can you envision the world that could be?

Another week, another season,
on our quest for rhyme and reason
while another day breaks that many did not see.

As hours and eons run their course,
we make our spinning pilgrimage
and worry as we wonder:

Where are we all headed,
with such haste and fury?
What good newness needs to be ushered in?

Spirituality is about seeing.
It is not about earning or achieving.
It is about relationships rather than results or requirements. Richard Rohr

Can we visualize a more loving global community,
peace-filled and forgiving?
Such re-visioning begs courageous imagination.

Imagination precedes realization,
for each fantastic new creation
is first conceived by imagining.

No longer need we resign ourselves
to self–fulfilling prophecies
that diminish care and damage life’s fragile fabric.

No more must we glamorize violence,
glorify gain or sacrifice God’s precious children
to martial idols that manufacture death.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
1 John 3:2

If we could just see
family in every face,
we might even love other children as our own dear ones.

Then, doubtless, the crying needs
of the Living, in myriad form,
would trump the mongering and monetizing of fearfulness.

From fear springs violence – yes, not the other way around.
Fear invented wars, weapons, and all the violence weapons can cause.                David Steindl-Rast

It is love alone, and love alone,
that casts out fear.
And only deeper-wider belonging disarms hearts.

In the days yet to come,
each time Life affords you the opportunity,
may you take the tender way.

May you speak with gutsy love,
from heart to heart;
choosing to forgive more readily, holding onto hurt lightly.

Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns.
Now you have realized how precious your time here is.  John O’Donohue

In the brief, bright remaining moments,
with the limited breath you’ve been given,
may you speak your truth gently and forgive freely.

May you say “Yes!” to kin and kindness,
and to listening, and listening more,
as you incline toward Nature’s meekness.

May tears tender you
as you tend
to your patch of fragility.

So, with the shine in your eyes,
may you bestow blessings unspoken
upon all you survey.

More love, more love alone by its power
the world we will conquer, for true love is God.
If ye love one another then God dwelleth in you,
and ye are made strong to live by the word. Shaker Hymn

joe