Feeding the soul...

"The danger," wrote Simone Weil, "is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry." Brilliant - and a good summary of how I think about theology, spirituality and all the rest. On this increasingly grey Berkshire morning filled with bluegrass guitar licks in my head and breakfast with my soul mate on my mind, I keep going back to a new poem I discovered last week by Mary Karr. She calls it "Disgraceland" and it goes...

Before my first communion at 40, I clung
to doubt as Satan spider-like stalked
the orb of dark surrounding Eden
for a wormhole into paradise.

God had first formed me in the womb
small as a bite of burger.
Once my lungs were done
He sailed a soul like a lit arrow

to inflame me. Maybe that piercing
made me howl at birth,
or the masked creatures
whose scalpel cut a lightning bolt to free me -

I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed
and hauled through rooms. Time-lapse photos show
my fingers grew past crayon outlines,
my feet came to fill spike heels.

Eventually, I lurched out to kiss the wrong mouths,
get stewed, and sulk around. Christ always stood
to one side with a glass of water.
I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough
to ask, a stream welled up inside;
some jade wave buoyed me forward;
and I found myself upright

in the instant, with a garden
inside my own ribs aflourish. There, the arbor leafs.
The vines push out plump grapes.
You are loved, someone said. Take that

and eat it.

As this Sabbath day dawns for me, I think: Blessed are you, Gracious One of renewal and presence, for bringing another day of rest. May it be so within and among us. Amen.

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