Monday, March 2, 2015

The Write Moment


I can remember pretending my pen was a magic wand when I was a child. I was well aware that I couldn't really make anything disappear or multiply in number, but nonetheless, I had a knowing that what I held was a capable tool and it could make things happen. I felt secure if I had a pen: I could go somewhere else, could connect with a larger world, and always, I had a place to put things and a voice, a way to express myself in my own way, at my own pace.
I express it differently now that I am an adult, but the foundation is shared with my youth as far as why I continue to write, why I continue to feel better if I know that I have at least one pen and a pad of paper with me.
Writing is one way I push back with light when darkness encroaches. Word for me is very much alive and if it is alive, is has being-ness and things that "be" have energy and energy begets light. And, I believe that "light shines in the darkness and darkness will not overcome it."
And that Word shines brightly when I use writing to voice, to summon forth, a truth that lies within me. Perhaps that truth is on a gentle wander and I might not yet be aware of its company, or perhaps it is a truth seeking its own release, a truth needing to be freed so I can either breathe more freely without the burden--a recognized anger, or resentment of old that has mossed over my heart, or embrace it, welcome it, accept it, understand it--and allow it to find its place within me among the other truths that abide in my being.
This might end up looking like a poem or a letter or or a journal. It might read like a story or a prayer or detailed observations of what I sense in a given moment on the space-time continuum...
Whatever the shape it takes, whatever the sound it makes, for me, writing loosens the clench of emotion, confusion, and the sometimes "too muchness," allowing light to flow more freely so that I see more clearly all that surrounds within and without and recognize the face of God.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Where I am Home

I have had reason of late to think a lot about home...about where I live...about feeling like I fit here...about my lifelong pattern of moving...
 

 

Where I am Home

There are times I want to ask, God,

why you gave me wings if

I am meant to stay and why

you let me love so deeply

if I am to be

called to the edge

of precipice or path, called

to give myself over

to the buoyancy of wonder,

yes, and ah! and on

a flight of so much more than fancy go.

 

Though, in the twining moments

of freely winding grace

I know why I do not ask:

 

The invitation is

neither to stay

nor to go.

 

The call is

to be

at home

in you

The call is

to rise

with the sun

to rest

with the stars

to let your love

move my heart.

 

Kimberly M. King, rscj

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Hemorrhaging Of Being

statue by Angela Johnson

I have to share a thought about a woman I know well and whom I have never encountered. She is a woman of my own time and part of a story begun long ago. I think of her regularly and have spent today in her company.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years...She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, 'If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.' Immediately, her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who has touched my clothes?' ...The woman, realizing what had happened, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.' (From today's Gospel--Mark 5:21-43)

The story indicates that this woman was hemorrhaging blood...glory, do I know what that is like. It is awful, embarrassing, immobilizing, and a potentially grave health concern. But on a less literal note, I also think of her as a woman who was losing herself, if blood is the stuff of "being." The symbol of losing blood so freely speaks to me of a woman who is wounded, whose self is fading, whose spiritual being is wasting away via old wounds that no one as yet has been able to heal. I know something of that too.

But she made a choice. She did not let go completely, or allow the final threads to fray.

The woman believed that touch would heal her, intimate encounter with God, would heal her... And Jesus knew when someone sought him for fear of losing herself. To her, his power went out and he felt it. She was losing herself, her being, and reached for Jesus--a connect, a touch, that becomes an encounter of healing and of reconciliation. The touch becomes a prayer of salvation. The woman is drawn back to herself, made whole, and again able to embody her "being-ness."

I can not help but recall the friend who held me when I had few words to explain a difficult situation in high school, the hands that have laid themselves upon my head when I have sought the sacrament of reconciliation...my rscj sister who tethered me to the here and now by keeping her hand on my arm when I was coming out of anesthesia...the massage after surgery...and again years later after returning from tearing my ACL..the friend who listens, who looks with love, who asks questions or is quiet...who offers a shoulder, a hand... so many times...

I can not help but recall the people who allowed my reach and who have touched me in holy welcome...

Like the knowing welcome of Jesus...who stays with and does not leave...who does not chastise reaching out but feels it for what it is at its most aching core: a pushing back against the darkness of despair and loss of being-ness, a cry of re-membering and healing, a desire for encounter where what is most fully human meets what is most gloriously divine and we are recognized, honored, held in love, and sent forth anew.

 

 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Celebrating Grace

7:19 AM

I am in the rocker at the window with a glorious mug of caffeinated goodness...the proportions fell just so and settled into a fullness beyond the average...A nice morning for that to have happened, too--today is the fourth anniversary of my final vows.

And here I am, celebrating this life in Canada...who'd have known? When I think of all that has happened since then...how that moment--or period--was a time of conversion and coming together and moving forward all wrapped up into your absolute grace... Thank you for that. Thank you for This.

Four years ago, I made "final vows"--but now, as I look back and look in a mirror and look ahead, it could be that they weren't "final" in the conventional sense...but rather a lifelong commitment to Beginning. Beginning with Yes. Beginning where I am with the cumulation of experiences that have brought me there. Beginning, setting out, open and free and curious. Beginning, attentive and 'lista' (ready and intelligent)... Beginning kindly, with compassion and understanding and "alegria profunda" (deep joy)...open to my own humanity and responding to what and to whom I encounter as you would have me and inspire me to respond...

Beginning while promising to follow Jesus Christ more closely in the Society of the Sacred Heart... Vowed to simplicity...vowed to "...letting go enough, loosening until/ it no longer matters or is possible to know/ spark from fire from sunrise/ and whether the glow is inside or out." (from Chastity Oct. 2010) Vowed to "love that frees me and compels me/ to choose you again and yet again.../ that I might respond as I wish to respond.../ openly, knowingly, even a little mysteriously.../ as the bush in the desert responded to flame." (from Obedience, published in The Review for Religious, January 2012.)

The commitment is with my life and with my sisters and with the people of God...the living of it is ever new, ever alive, with each rising sun. The commitment is with you and to you and grace upon grace, world without end. Amen.

 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Extraordinary Measures

The Measure of Extraordinary

 

Must I settle for only sipping

at the depth of the poured coffee

quotidian adventure of life?

Must I die my last death before

walking the ribbon of wonder

you weave throughout my days?

What restraint must I show? What awe

not proclaim, what passion temper

for the nearness of you?

Or, may I say simply as I stir to blend

your revelations in my years,

and I marvel in no small measure,

and have to put down my pen,

because even that, even

that, feels entirely close,

"This life you have offered

is extraordinary?"

What say you?

 

Move with me, let me

speak through you, let me listen

through you, labor through you...

and as you allow me in, I

will be the strength you need, I

will be your courage, I will

bear the grace with you and the hurt

with you--because what I offer and what I ask

will ache within you and

free you.

It will be glorious and beautiful and messy

and draw you close to the edge.

Go there, if you will...

That is extraordinary, my love...

and there is where we meet.

 

--Kimberly M. King, rscj---

 

 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Emily and Isaiah Meet in Paris

8 January, 2015

From Isaiah...via the Gospel of Luke in today's readings--

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

10:37 AM Halifax Public Library 4th Floor

I am once again able to feel my thighs--thanks be to God--as it is a surreal sensation to be aware of feet and little again until you hit the waist. It was a cold walk between home and here today. What a feast I have found, though, to spread upon my one-person-sized table that is scootched right up to a plexiglass wall-edge, affording me a grand, sweeping view...augh, the open feel, the lines of the architecture and the way the sun stripes through the windows, slicing and gridding patches of wall and staircase throughout. I have the book I came here seeking so I could look at it for ideas to use with the kids next week--A Poke in the I is a great collection of concrete poetry for children. But, augh...such a bonus--I also have The Gorgeous Nothings, a coffee table sized collection of full color replicas of Emily Dickinson's drafts that she wrote in pencil on slit-open envelopes.

For some reason, I find that pleasing...the image and idea of her roaming Amherst and her home with a pocket of folded envelope writings and a stub of pencil... Makes me think back to my cottage in Maine with carpets of purple iris and daffodils between the edge of the house and the rocky ocean coast...the reading chair in the kitchen, the accommodating kitchen meant to be lived and worked in for it to truly Be. And that, in turn, has me thinking back to what I wrote earlier about the opportunity to experience a taste of that grand, modest, imaginary, cottage, through the gift of living here, in this setting of place, time, and circumstance. It has me think about what I wrote about the chance to spend some days with friends near Antigonish last weekend, too...the landscape, sharing in the quiet of a house that knows of love.

At the same time this silvery-iridescent thread is wending through me, so too is the stark, frayed reality of what happened yesterday at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the bounce-spring of what happened in the lesson I had with the 5th class yesterday when, perhaps for the first time, the students began to think about the effect of the sound of language used to render accessible to the senses the Words that fill our realities and imaginations. What will those Words be for today's youth, given the violence and tragedy of the world's reality? How will they be able to hang on to warm beauty AND be in solidarity with the increasingly bare and angular wounds of creation? How will they believe it possible, even a calling, to discover and reveal You as they work to heal those wounds in ways great and small?

Hm--perhaps, in fact, that is precisely where I and so many other educators come in... to help them believe that they can hold both realities...to hold fast to the love that casts out fear and to not be afraid to ache with the neighbor...and not just ache, but to work along side the neighbor toward change or in outrage at injustice or in protest or silent witness, to help them find ways that work for them of seeing into the life of things, of sensing you, of holding light in an open-palmed hand and allowing the light to lead them and to call to others along the journey.

A252

In this short life

that only [merely] lasts an hour

How much- how

little-is

within our

power.

 

--Emily Dickinson--

 

 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Divine Attribute of Subtlety

5:37 pm. 1 January, 2015

The house is quiet...the kitchen smells like butter, cinnamon, and toasting walnuts...there is a cool draft coming in the window to counter the heat of the oven...all is well. Thank you for the gifts of flavor and spice and my senses that teach me so much about who you are and the love you have for your creation.

7:15 pm

The bread is done and came out beautifully! I so enjoy being with you, being of a quiet mind with you and doing something creative...cooking, baking, writing...When I watch the pan with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts and all of a sudden bonds are broken and the ingredients melt and come together, I simply marvel at the science--which is no different than marveling at you, or at least, an aspect of you.

The subtle flavors that layer, that are necessary, that remain in a state of hint and suggestion until they come forward to tap you on the shoulder--these tastes call to mind one of your 99 beautiful names in the Muslim tradition--one of my favorites as I read of them in a lovely small book in Indonesia...name #30...Al-Latif, the Subtle One.

I love that name for you...That aspect of you brings me such joy--deep joy--time and again. You, in the first sip of coffee in the morning. You--in the warm nest of my blankets. You--in the bend of the offering tree as she greets the sun and the moon alike with stayed out branches. You--between the notes, syllables, flavors, colors, You, the sensing itself...the invitation to pay attention, to look long and believe that it might just be possible to "see into the life of things," as Wordsworth put it.

It is the discovery aspect of subtlety that I find attractive. I love that you tuck into spaces, are not only obvious and exclamatory--though that piece of you, too, is something I admire...the way you ways of proclaiming your story so boldly in the waves against the breakers in Ocean Beach, the plant that pushes up the sidewalk crack and claims its space and being-ness. At once' you are stunningly unavoidable and exceptionally patient and subtle...

Somewhere in that is the deeper answer to S's question about why I have a jar of pepper flakes and a jar of cinnamon on my desk. I too wish to be both bold in my being as well as subtle, tucking into places, an open decided presence that is using the layers of experiences that don't necessarily spell themselves out externally in order to better serve those around me.

There is a difference I have learned over time...that is the difference between being subtle and holding back. I wish to be subtle and hold nothing back. Thank you for showing me how...by being such a glorious fullness in every atom, cell, molecule, and mote of your creation.

The cinnamon and chile are spices that act that way--or can have those attributes--subtlety and fullness of being. And I like the reminder that I wish to be like that too.

Thank you for this day, for your love, infusing and enthralling creation.