That door

I’ve watched that locked wooden door for decades. Today on a walk, imagining, I step closer. It is tall, and deep crimson.

Painted slowly.

Its round brass doorknob begs to be turned, and its keyhole is big enough to look through. 

I kneel to look, and I see cold spring grass, green as only California hills can green it. Lilacs and daffodils, sprung wild from bulbs even the squirrels forgot. Live oaks and laurels; wild-rye and trillium; rare pallid manzanitas that grow only between here and El Sobrante. 

I stumble back, stand, blink.

Good God, it’s not what I thought.

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Acts 1:9–11 Jesus rose from the dead (Easter), appeared to various people over the course of forty-plus days (the Easter season), ascended into heaven (Ascension), then sent the Holy Spirit to those he had left behind (Pentecost)—a series of terrifying, beautiful surprises. Today is the sixth Saturday of Easter; Thursday was Ascension Day; Pentecost is in eight days. We’re in the middle of all this crazy new life. The bulbs I planted in December put up a few flowers and are now reduced to drooping green stalks, but … the wild irises outside my office window are rioting. There are six flowers out there this morning. Go figure.

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A scrappy, messy affair

I’m grateful that the Easter season lasts for 50 days. I didn’t go to church on Easter—I wouldn’t have been able to take it all in. (Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel like going this year. Too big a disconnect: the agonizingly slow growth of rooted faith on one hand, and the fast-blooming cheerfulness of an Easter Sunday church service on the other.) Some of the bulbs I planted are flowering. It’s a scrappy, messy affair; unpredictable, earthy, and with mixed results. But maybe that’s how faith is anyway.

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Lent and repentance

Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. In The People’s Companion to the Breviary, Psalm 51 comes up not only on days like Ash Wednesday, but every Friday morning, rain or shine. The Carmelites of Indianapolis, who created the People’s Companion, phrase verse 6 like this: “For you desire truth in my innermost being; teach me wisdom in the depths of my heart.” I have prayed this prayer many, many times. As I figure it, because God desires truth in my innermost being, God is willing to teach me wisdom. This is a prayer I would expect God to answer. Am I any closer to an answer? I don’t know, but I do continue to see my need to make the request. To see and act on deep truths that are revealed by growing self-awareness and awakeness—this […]

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The breath of God: new life

John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. I planted bulbs about a month ago, and this photo shows four tiny shoots above the ground. Can you see them? I can, but only because I have felt them with my fingertips. It dropped below freezing last week, which is rare for us, and I worried. But then I remembered that bulbs can survive much worse.  

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