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.

 

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Utter Godsense

 

The desk in my bedroom has a squared-u on top of the back part of it. There is a wide flat top to the u that up until several days ago held most of my books. There was a pile at one end...a line of books...and a pile at the other. Since putting volumes up there, I rather enjoyed the idea that I had end books instead of book ends.

I loved having my books up there. When I sat at the desk, I felt surrounded by them--because aside from being overhead, inevitably, there is a book or three on the desk surface itself and an assortment of dictionaries in the small cubbies of the u. But, the top was beginning to bow slightly and would probably only get worse so I found a book case in another part of the house and it fit just outside my door...and my books fit perfectly. Now, books welcome me when I enter this room. And, they keep watch when I leave, wrapping me in the memory of certain passages or stanzas or lines. I crave the free and creative space to which books and language lead me...And that space moves with me throughout the day and the places I occupy.

And while books and writing are things I enjoy, I know too that they are but one way to learn of the wonder that is the Origin of all that Is, the Creator, the Impetus, I AM. They are one way of entering into and sensing the presence of God.

Hearing the sounds of language when I read and bringing what is inside of it into being in voice or imagination is a profound experience of God for me. In some wondrous and mystical way, the story or image that rises is also what lifts notes of music into a cradle of air and what happens between them to make sound and it is the overlapping edge between light, shadow, colors and texture and pattern in painting.

God is the space between and in the sensing itself and in the whole come together.

I think I have read something of God in lines of the poems on my shelves, in Isaiah, the Gospels, the Psalms...And I have seen something of God in the works of Matisse and Van Gogh, students I have taught, and the movements of sun and moon....I have heard something of God in laughter on the playground and in the notes that hang at the center of the ceiling at the Church of Saint Francis Xavier in NYC.

And today... Today I have tasted something of God...

I made ancho chile-cinnamon-chocolate crackle cookies and they were amazing.

All of the flavors were huddled together and yet, each could be discerned, each waited its turn for revelation. The chocolate was up front, but you could tell that cinnamon was teasing for attention. Then...just when you think you are done, there is a tap on the shoulder and chile is there, claiming its role in the whole overall, drawing the cinnamon and chocolate back for an encore. What happens between the layers of flavor is not at all unlike what happens in the other sensory experiences...

And I believe it is God to whom I draw close in each sensory act of creativity. God in the sound, in the Word, in the coming together of color, line, contrast, texture, and in the thoughtful interplay of flavor...

Glory, that thrills me.

 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent III, 2014


Advent III, 2014


My counter-weight,
my center down,
my metronome, my joy,
my song, my strength,
my fascination,
my hope, my help,
my rumination,
my wonder, awe, best inclination,
grace, cry, laugh, word,
moving me out to the neighborhood;
Born a baby, born of yes,
born to journey, born to bless.

Joy to the world, parumpapumpum,
Hark, herald, welcome,

COME!

Kimberly M. King, rscj


image: c. Natesh Ramasamy

Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent II, 2014

ADVENT II, 2014

 

Where the voice cries, plaintive or piercing,

at the bend of becoming and no return, I am

watchful for the low words

that draw me down center,

that humble me, impassion me,

steady me, move me,

move my light, move my being,

into the here and the now of

the still and the fray of the world,

to proclaim the time

of Love's incarnation.

 

Kimberly M. King, rscj

 

(words in italics are from Janet Erskine Stuart,

Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart, 1911-1914)

 

image: c. Mosi Lager, 2008

 

 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Advent I, 2014

Advent I, 2014

 

With bare spread arms and fullness of being

I ache for your coming and praise you already

in the becoming colors where night awakens the sun

with stories and visions and hope.

Where day bows to starlight and promises tales

when next they meet to dance

on the edge of Mystery's vastness.

 

--Kimberly M. King, rscj--