There are burning bushes everywhere...

For the last year or so one of my secret prayers has been, "When I grow up I want to be like Carrie Newcomer."  She is one of my favorite performers and artists.  I cherish her songs not only because they are wise and witty, but also because they bring awe, tenderness and passion together in ways that deepen my soul.  And as much as love the bold bravura of the Boss - and have seen him a number of times in concert - Carrie is the person I would want to hang with for a walk through the woods or a lazy afternoon at tea.
Her new CD, A Permeable Life, arrived today along with a companion book of poems and essays. Upon opening this slim volume, the first poem set the stage for what follows:

I want to leave enough room in my heart
For the unexpected,
For the mistake that becomes knowing,
For wonder that makes everything porous,
Allowing in and out
All available light.

An impermeable life is full to the edges,
But only to the edges.
It is a limited thing.
Like the pause at the center of the breath,
Neither releasing or inviting,
With no hollow spaces
For longing and possibility,

I would rather live unlocked,
And more often than not astonished,
Which is possible
If I am willing to surrender
What I already think I know.
So I will stay open
And companionably friendly,
With all that presses out from the heart
And comes in at a slant
And shimmers just below
The surface of things.

Damn - me too! I've been thinking this way for decades - and slowly ripening into such a spirituality - but it always seems to take too long.  But then yesterday, at dusk, I took Lucie out for a walk in the fields. I love to watch her run.  It is pure joy and an embodied poem albeit in the form of a 67 pound shepherd/hound mutt with more energy than she knows what to do with. As the sun set and Lucie hauled ass one more time around the tall grass, I found myself laughing out loud at the sacred wonder of it all and I realized I was living into this long coveted space naturally.  As I will tell my people in worship tomorrow:  the call of the gospel is NOT to become like Jesus - or anyone else for that matter (including Carrie Newcomer) - but to become fully yourself.  Jesus is Messiah - Lord and Savior - a pattern for seeing as much of the Sacred in our ordinary existence as we can handle. But we are not called to be him - or replicate him. Rather we are invited by God to experience his loving grace from the inside out so that we can become us.
This morning after tea and English muffins, I read these words as they popped up on Face Book.  It was yet another clue to stay on this path:Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. (Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B, A Tree Full of Angels)


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