Showing posts from March, 2011

What Anne Lamott has to say

I have not been a huge reader, which embarrasses me a bit, coming from what it's probably fair to say is a literary family. I have savored a relatively small number of works and authors instead of devouring large numbers.

Anne Lamott has been one of my all-time favorite authors since I read her famous 1993 best-seller, Operating Instructions.  In this work, poignant and raw depictions of her struggles as a single, not-so-together new mom are offset by all the wickedly self-deprecating humor.  As in all her books I've read, it could all be hopeless, were it not for the fact that she always manages to find some scrap of spiritual hope and truth to hang the mess of the story on. This theme does not feel contrived or born out of conceptual understandings, and it isn't used to sugar-coat the struggle, but she seems to turn all the lost-ness and teeth-gnashing into something touchable and helpful for us all.  I think she writes her self down, as honestly as she can.

I found some…


Thank you, Friend.

You are my Path.
Without You, how could I ever find my Self in this dream?

When I see that I judge you, You show me how I crucify my Self.
When I see that I have believed you judge me, You gently show me the insanity of fearing my Father.
When I step out of Stillness and try to "teach" you something, You only quietly laugh
and remind me "i" know no-thing.


When I look at You with gentle, eager eyes
like I have been wandering for many lifetimes in a desert alone
and I have never met a Friend before You --

Or like I am uncontainable Mother Joy
holding a sleeping newborn baby for the first time
-- I must be so warm and Still for You --
Your Light pierces my darkness and my fences crumble.
I am blissfully unleashed into You.

How can I extend my gratitude to You?
I could kiss Your feet a thousand times,
Or write You a hundred poems.

You are to me what I made of my Self.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Through Your eyes, made Loving
first, by my Wan…

The inner monastery

I've been reading Monica Furlong's biography on the writer and famous Trappist monk, Thomas Merton.  Her story reveals an intensely vibrant man with a burning passion for the spiritual search, who also lived with a painful, black crippling despair that seems always to be nipping at his heels. I don't think that's an accident. Who but the suffering of us would want to do the undoing work necessary to enlighten our minds?

This sophisticated, artistic, intellectually-gifted man, chose in his early 20's to join the most extreme ascetic Catholic tradition as a way to give his life meaning and stability in devotion to God.  Although he was a prolific and talented writer throughout his life, he struggled with this aspect of himself and continually debated whether keeping this part of "Thomas" was an unhelpful indulgence or not. I find a bit of solace in the fact that a part of him remained suspicious about his own impulses to express, even after so much experie…