The Hollow in our Hearts

Petals on cobblestones Pixabay

Here we are on the edge of Holy Week.  The parade is over; wrappers and tattered banners still blow down the empty streets.  Some have stuck their palm fronds in the planters round the lamp posts. Some have forgotten their coats and there is a tiny sneaker on the curb.  The air has caught silence like the vibrations of a soundless bell.   Something is upon us.  We are called to make space, a home in us, which becomes, as this One is, for the world.


Under all our attempts at triumph
You have found us Love.
Ridden through our small glories
On a thick-haunched colt

In our particulars
Our skin, our bone
Our fading memories, our sprung hopes

You have come out to find us.

Lent Five: Hearts Looking


This week we gathered around the story of Zacchaeus, another story of heart and seeing. We reflected on a Zacchaeus sermon Seeing Saints which you can find in an earlier blog post.  And we drew close to the Compassionate One as we reminded ourselves of that gospel we often forget, that we are not alone in our looking.  Rather, as Francis of Assisi tells us,

The one you are looking for is the one who is looking.  

We gathered ourselves with these words

work your hands
in the warm clay of your heart

Feel its press on your lids

And under them, light.

Shape of it longing;
an ancient stream,
a new-fledged bird,
a star.

Pause to honour your fear:
sharp as moon’s crescent
the blade of grass
the tight press of lips.

Then climb –
into the rough-barked moment
the fragile limb of this life
the leafy tangle of days.

and breathless
the One who is looking for you.

Come ~

The Eyes of the Heart



Last week we practiced Visio Divina, Sacred Seeing, allowing ourselves to be called through a curve or a cloud or a colour deep into memory and silence;  to allow the press of the divine on our lids, to receive new sight.  I remembered the sacred seeing of the man whose lids Jesus touched.  I thought of the realities of terror and indifference and hunger that so often fill our sight.  And I thought of the Compassionate One who pulls the yearning cosmos through his body, crying, “stay awake with me”.  We have this Lent practiced response to this cry, offering our hearts: their beating, their breaking and now their seeing.  This Lent our senses instruct us.  This Lent we make of our bodies, prayer.


A Fragment

Walking along, Jesus sees someone ready for healing.
His disciples see a chance for technical questions.
They are still unaccustomed to the answer who walks beside them

 Jesus sees a man whose eyes are cloudy and whose heart is open,
a heart waiting for new words to fall into it,
a heart waiting for the Word who will set him free.

Jesus sees a man who stays still,
a beggar’s bowl beside him,
acutely aware of the buzz of the crowd.

One feeling the space before him filling up with heat and heft of body,
feeling the movement of air as Jesus crouches down to spit in the dirt
and drag his thumbs through the paste.

There was no way to anticipate the feel of those thumbs
drawn across his lids,
tender and confident.

Though he could feel the air move,

no way to anticipate that someone who spoke words of light out of darkness
would be anything but a trickster.
No way for this one to be certain of anything but his longing.
This one was still open,
accustomed to longing so great
and hope so resilient
it didn’t question the efficacy of mud
or the power of water.

 And so he goes, down to the pool, the one born blind
the one who had never become so accustomed to who he was
that he was unable to move toward the waters
in which he would become all he could be.

The one not so accustomed to who he was
that he couldn’t hear the voice that would tell him who he was becoming.

The one not so accustomed to his infirmity
that he wouldn’t risk embarrassment or hope or credibility
to live healed,
to be changed.

 It may not have been easy for him to get to the pool,
wandering around blind with a muddy paste on his eyes.
We don’t hear that he has help – he just goes –
he just finds a way.
He washes
and as he washes the paste runs in rivulets down his cheeks.

And what do you imagine –

does he open his eyes right away with complete confidence?
Does he shade his eyes and look downward,
the first thing seen the miracle of the water.
Does he open one eye to test things out,
afraid of crushing disappointment or foolishness?   

What do you imagine?

 When he sees, it must have been overwhelming.
A fifth sense added to four already honed to an exquisite edge?
Can you imagine opening eyes on a world you’d never seen before?
Can you imagine light when you had known nothing but darkness,
The curve and line of shape
when it had only ever before been felt.
Other eyes looking into yours.

 The man came back transformed,
Back to the folks that often gathered round the pool,
back to the neighbours
and those who had put coins in his beggar’s cup.
Back to all those who aren’t touched with the blessing of new sight,
who haven’t had blind eyes opened,
who haven’t recognized the light in their midst.

The man comes back just a few steps
and he must be so bedazzled he can hardly breathe.
It is wonderful to witness such delight. 

 Can you see him right in our midst,
twirling and leaping,
drops from the pool spraying off him
caught in the net of the air
like tiny rainbow fish.
Can you see him?

 Could we have seen him?
Do we still know how to hope for transformation.
to feel tender hands on our faces
to feel our sight changing under closed lids
to really long to be healed.





Heartbreak: Lent Two


Our small Lenten community this week sought to accompany the Compassionate One through heartbreak that is ours and his.  We considered the words of poet David Whyte on Heartbreak, (read below) and laid our ear against the heart of Jesus.  We could hear it beat, we could hear it break.

We know heartbreak in our own life but can we imagine the great break in the heart of Jesus, the break into which we ourselves are poured?  Can we bear this quality of Love?  Can we be vulnerable to it?  Can we attend the One who follows the path of our lives and takes that path into his heart so that whereever we find ourselves on the road we know ourselves in the heart of Love.

We listened to this breaking through the words of Matthew 26:36 -40.   As we found ourselves committed to the Lenten Journey, we sought this text of heartbreak near the end of its path in order to draw us closer, heart to heart, to Compassion.

You can read Matthew 26: 36-40 in the Revised Standard Version here at

You can enter it more deeply through this guided meditation.

Heartbreak, says poet David Whyte, is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control. [ . . .] heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life.  [. . .]  Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong; [ . . . ] Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, [ . . .] but heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way. [. . . ] Realizing its inescapable nature, we can see heartbreak not as the end of the road or the cessation of hope but as the close embrace of the essence of what we have wanted or are about to lose. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is not alternative path.  It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.   (Whyte, Consolations).