WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, August 18, 2021

SACRED

            When I was a boy and a member of a Catholic community, certain days were labeled as ‘holy days of obligation’, but now, many decades later, I understand that every day – every hour, every moment – is hallowed and should be devotedly honored. As a young Catholic, on those special days I was ‘obligated’ to attend mass and take communion, but now, at 79, I feel obligated – and happily so – to ardently worship every single moment, since each of them is surrounded by – and filled with – a sacred and boundless light. I sometimes feel like falling to my knees in adoration, as I used to do as a boy in Holy Redeemer Church, but now this feeling can come to me as I’m sitting at my desk doing some writing in the early morning, or walking across the grass in our yard, or washing some bowls and spoons in the sink.  I see now that everything is blessed. Every rise of my lungs is somehow sanctified, and even the simplest thought is sacred. I should be worshiping all day long! I’m always in the presence of the sanctified mystery known as ‘life’, so perhaps I should occasionally bow my head in reverence, even after a sip of steaming coffee at 4:53 a.m.  

IN WORSHIP

In Worship, West Virginia, USA, 
even the smallest word -
even 'like' or 'love' - 
is spoken with special reverence. 
Citizens of this serene town
see holy mystery everywhere - 
in water flowing from faucets, 
in hands that shine after washing, 
on the shore of each arising moment. 
You'll see expressions of consecration in faces 
in the cereal section of grocery stores,
and the prayer-like look of mechanics
making their sacred cars run smoothly.
Just a little silence 
can make folks fall into prayer, 
and the sound of warm air 
flowing from a furnace 
is like sacred hymns
 in reverential Worship, West Virginia.

 

WORDS THAT AWAKEN 

Friday , June 18, 2021

BLESS

         I should bless this day – all of it. Each moment should be a moment of celebration, a time to stand still in thoughtful appreciation. It should be a day of constant praise, when even the slightest sway of tree limbs and the smallest, most transitory thought should be honored. Today, I hope I can remember to pay tribute to every occurrence – the whispering of our car’s tires as we drive to the put-in place for our kayak float on the Wood River, the first feel of the kayaks as we slide them into the river, the words the water seems to speak as our paddles softly shove it along. Like every day, this is a day for adoration. When I was a boy, I was taught that our church was sacred, but now, at 79, I know that everything is sacred – every room in our house, every aisle in McQuade’s grocery store, every waft of wind on the river today, even every setback and sorrow – and therefore everything should be honored. I should silently glorify the way the river flows in its wavering way, the way my elderly, valiant hands smoothly move the paddles, the way winds know precisely how to drift among the riverside trees, the way our car carries us gracefully to the river and back home, and the way all obstacles can show me the trail to wisdom. I should be in awe throughout this day, for all of it – each minute – will be blessed with amazing marvels. 

         I should make my own bumper sticker: BLESS THIS DAY!

PRAISE

Let the pencil praise 
the paper it writes on. 
Let the paper praise 
the desk it rests on
as the pencil sets out 
its glossy words. 
Let the table sing praises 
to the floor 
that prays to be solid and steady 
for the trustworthy table 
and its paper 
with the lustrous house of words
rising upon it.