Can You Spread Out the Sky?

            When I do even a small task with success, every so often I secretly salute myself for being so smart, so capable and clever, and it’s then that I wish someone would show me the sky, like this one, which was above us this morning around sunrise.

“Can you spread out the sky like this?” they might ask, or “Can you carry ships on your back like the sea?” There’s nothing wrong with being happy to have the ability to get a few things done, but when I start slapping myself on the back and beaming with puffed-up self-importance, I need a friend to find me the right path again. I need someone to say, once again, that I am simply a breeze in the boundless wind of the universe, just a small shaft of light in the limitless light of eternity. That doesn’t mean I’m not skillful – just no more skillful than the smallest house wren or the sea that supports massive ships. When I start thinking I’m something extra-special, a friend could find me a stone that’s been around for billions of years and say, “You’ve been here how long, Ham – 70-some years? And you think you’re extra-special? This stone has survived dinosaurs, the Middle Ages, and millions of mighty storms, and what have you done? Yes, you’re special, but so are all stones and blades of grass and drifting winds and lights in sunsets.”  That would put me in my place – an extraordinary place, for sure, in a universe where all things have been extraordinary right from the start.    

+ + + + +

LOOKING FOR SUNRISES

(what Sandra, age 51, Blessings, CT, said)
"The only original sin 
is thinking we're sinful. 
The sun doesn't sin 
by being behind clouds,
rivers shouldn't be ashamed 
for flooding places, 
and I'm not ashamed 
to be Sandra,
an unfussy, sincere person 
who makes many mistakes 
but makes them in honest 
and sometimes wonderful ways. 
Birds don't sin by being 
their on-the-loose selves, 
and I don't sin by being 
sometimes ridiculous, 
like when I walk three miles 
to McQuades simply to buy 
a bag of Archway ginger cookies. 
I love living. 
I look for sunrises 
inside sorrow. 
I give thanks for failure, 
for thunder and lightning, 
for the light of both love
and loneliness, 
and for the gifts I get 
every moment in this sinless, 
shameless life 
I'm lucky to be living."

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