Wolf Moon

I wrestle with this God,
translated
into male words,
interpreted as male.

Half of everyone
excluded,
while everyone pretends
it had to be this way
until everyone believes
it’s always been this way.

Better to teach people to worship a god
made in man’s image
so men in charge can have their way.

Here I am,
not a man
so not like God,
unable to find myself
anywhere other than
on the outside.

I lie awake
on nights I can’t pretend
I don’t care
and think about not belonging.

A few nights ago I slipped out of bed
and pulled back the curtains
to see the winter night and full-moon light.

I stood there
in my not-man body,
cold air raising goosebumps on bare legs,
and leaned my head against the window glass,
looking up
to see the Wolf Moon
in a veil of clouds.

I always marvel at the moon,
her waxing, waning,
rhythmic revelation,
dancing with oceans
from afar.

That night, watching silvery reflections of a star
blending light and shadow
across a frosty landscape,
I think moonlight knows
the truest words for God.

Morning Prayer

For months now, I’ve felt ill at ease reading the morning office. I had a sense of why—mainly the overtly male language for God—but not clarity. So I continued, as I have for years, all the while noticing and honoring the discomfort. This week, clarity came in the form of questions: “Is there space for me here? Is there room for my becoming, when everything is father and he and him and lord?”

Meanwhile, I’d taken on the practice of praying hand-over-sternum, to remind me that the Divine is within, part of me.

This morning, while silently praying the confession and also practicing my reminder of the Divine within, the word “we” became “I” and “you” became “us” and suddenly I sense there may be space for me after all.

This is what I love about liturgy. It gives us a reservoir within which we can wrestle and flounder and question, all while being held and buoyed and never alone.

Here is how it sounded this morning:

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against us
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved us with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbors as myself.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of our Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in our will,
and walk in our ways,
to the glory of your Name.
Amen.

Poison Fruit

We’re not absolved
just because we’re
not on the side
of the ones we see as
worst.

Lulled into the
laziness
of giving allegiance
willy-nilly,
based on label,
assigning morality
by default
instead of seeing
morality
is not innate,
invariable,
indelible,
in each
person.

The rightness
or wrongness of an action
depends on many factors,
but a wrong is not
magically a right
when committed by
one of ours.

What may seem like a tree
we want to stand in the shade of,
tend, and nurture,
could be a danger,
bearing
poison fruit.

And so.

It is on each of us
to consider
our alliances,
to evaluate
words and actions,
to look around at
those attracted to
align with us
as we follow.

If the fruit is
often rotten,
sometimes poison,
spreading more harm
than good,
we ourselves
will eventually succumb.

Better to withdraw allegiance,
dancing alone in the wilderness
if necessary,
than stay planted,
growing roots,
in an orchard of
poison fruit.

Unity: The state of being united or joined as a whole

[Image description: water cascading over a short rock ledge into a pool of water, rocks along the banks of the stream, bare winter trees and cloudy sky in the background]

I see myself divided, dividing.
Ruptured, unleashing a torrent,
thoughts cascading one over another
at images I abhor.

Flooded,
current ever outward,
all reaction,
counteraction,
oppositional,
all or nothing,
with or against,
how could you,
dueling calls for unity or division,
backlash into the void.

Visceral,
swirling
chaos,
overtaking.

Nearly
carried away,
then clarity.
Take a long breath
and dive deep.

Remember.

I can roll back
the tide of my own chaos,
the crashing wave after wave
clamoring noise in every second.

I can stem
the barrage of endless opinions
from ego unchecked.

I can gather in the deluge
of outward-flooding emotions
into a reservoir
of my own making.

I can calm them,
sitting in stillness,
allowing silence to flow in.

I can see where
light and shadow
within me co-mingle,
hear each other out,
acknowledge my own inconsistencies,
what troubles me about my own beliefs,
how far I am from the standards
I apply to others.

And I can hold these contradictions
gently
until the clashing parts become
letting go,
letting go,
letting go.

Myself distilled
to deepest truths
until all of it is loved,
is love.

Finally,
reservoir to the brim,
flowing over
creating tide pools of compassion,
invitations
for others to look deep
and see that they,
too,
are love.

And in the
depths it’s clear
true unity
begins
within my own
united heart.

Reflection

[Image Description: evening sun shining from behind bare trees in winter, reflecting brilliantly from a small stream]

What is the truest,
most beautiful truth you
know for yourself
right now?

Not the “truth,”
external,
imposed,
from out there.

No.

I want to know
the deep, quiet beauty
that is so lovely it seems
impossible,
the truth that whispers
in those quiet moments when
there is no droning
of pundits
or parroters
or pontificators.

The truth that glimmers,
otherworldly,
resplendent,
abundant,
beckoning
from the realest
part of you.

The one that is
so warm,
so healing,
if it spilled over
it could change
the world.

When you glimpse it
again
and sit silent,
remembering,
let it tease the threads
of your imagination
long enough to
coax it into knowing
less ephemeral.

Let its
golden radience
permeate
your awareness
and then nurture it,
returning to the silence,
whenever it feels dim.

You need this now,
your deepest truth,
when external “truth” is
pulled taut between
two extremes
and one is clamoring
even more violently
for your allegiance.

You need
the touchstone
of the beauty of
your inner mooring
to untangle the lies,
to see clearly,
to set us all free.

The Meadow

[Image description: winter meadow in the morning light]

I want to be a whole person.

I said this while sitting on my
therapist’s couch
one clear, autumn day.
I couldn’t explain to her
exactly what I meant,
only this was the
truest
expression of my
insides
in words.

That was several years ago.
I haven’t seen her in a long time.

What is my truest expression now?

I’m certain it still has to do with wholeness.

We are taught we can
divide our way to wholeness.

Sheer off the undesirable parts of ourselves,
the ones that cause discomfort with their
messy, messy truth.

Divide ourselves from others who don’t
look like us
or think like us
or fall in line like we were taught.

Divide, segregate, deny, shun.

And if we do, if we listen to the external,
self-appointed authorities
out there,
we will possibly,
one day,
attain the ideal.

The ideal what?

The ideal
cookie-cutter,
uniform vision
of success,
spiritual or otherwise,
as they define it.

Then we will be wholesome,
acceptable,
holy in their eyes.

All that’s required is to ignore
that still,
small,
voice,
deep within,
whispering:
wholeness
can’t be found out there,
can’t be defined by them.

You cannot divide your way to wholeness.

Turn and listen to that voice.
Gather up the discarded petals
you dutifully left trailing
behind you as they watched.

Push through the double-dividing doors
and run,
hair-in-the-wind,
into the meadow of your own
knowing,
arms wide-stretched,
heart echoing:

You already know,
you already are.