The Unseen Guest

How easy it is
to live on the busy surface of things
mind scattered and forgetful
of the heart’s guest 
glowing within 

Let me be silent enough
to hear the comforting crackles 
of the inner fire

Open my eyes to see
Your light flooding out
from my soul
as from a lantern 
in a dark forest 

You are with me
in each step
each movement infused with You 
each work I do in harmony with You
a work of God 
walking with me
lighting my path

I carry my heart up to You
as I carry the laundry up the stairs
bearing this mortal weight
on its journey to Heaven

How humble You are, Lord
choosing to dwell among us
filling our souls with Your fire
never leaving us alone
if only we can remember
to silently seek You and discover anew
that we are ever encompassed by Your love 

Habit Building: How always is easier than sometimes…

So I’ve been pondering the virtue of order again, as I always seem to be, because I’m not what the homemaking guru the Flylady calls a B.O. (born organized). So this Lent, more than focusing on giving up something, I’ve been focussing on aquiring something, namely the virtue of order. I’m hoping to bring more rhythm and smoothness to my week, so that certain things can happen more naturally, because that’s now simply when we do them, rather than waiting for them to happen in a fragmented and haphazard way…

So this scatterbrained poet is cleaning bathrooms on certain days, and doing laundry on certain days, and things like this. But how did this come about? Moving and Lent. Moving was a great way to have a fresh start…to hit the reset button and begin again. And this happened to coincide with a great spiritual impetus for interior growth and change for the better, which is the season of preparation for the joy of Easter. 

These things complement each other well, because as when more things are planned (like meals, daily topics for homeschool, some daily and weekly chores) my mind is freed up to be more contemplative. I can read or pray without being quite as distracted by my revolving to-do list spinning about my head. I find those tiny household decisions take up a lot of brain power, and prevent me from being as peaceful as I’d like. (Who feels peaceful at 4:45 pm if you don’t know what’s for dinner and the kids are gnawing on your ankles?) So in this sense, knowing when I’m going to do certain things, rather than restricting me, has actually made me more free. 

 
One of the things I’ve been trying to do this Lent is do the dishes right after each meal, instead of getting distracted by the kids, phone, next project (squirrel!) and letting them pile up. I’m actually generally doing better with them than I did when I had a dishwasher! And often it’s over the kitchen sink that I think of new blog posts…my little reward!

Both the routine and a spiritual motive make it easier to do my work promptly. Somehow it’s easier to make myself do certain things when they are simply part of the routine, instead of something I might do now…or maybe later…when I feel like it (because honestly, when will I feel like cleaning a toilet?). 

The kids agree that stuff you do always is easier than stuff you do sometimes. My 9 year old told me, “It’s like making my bed…when I do it every day, it’s easy, but when I used to just do it sometimes, it was really hard each time.” So each week I am trying to add just a few more little things that we do on scheduled days. I don’t have really specific times for each thing, because too many details would set me up for failure…and be too much pressure. But little by little, I’m hoping to make this ship run more smoothly, with the idea that more pirate adventures can be had with mended sails and a swabbed deck!   

Human Heart Divine

Tonight,after another long day of unpacking
and sorting the mismatched socks which mysteriously followed us
to the new house (how? how?),
we walk the two blocks to church—so close!—
and attend the Mass of the Sacred Heart.

Jesus awaits us. 
And amidst the glow of candles
and the flowing melody of chant
my spirit begins to breathe again,
having been slightly suffocated 
by walls of cardboard boxes.
In this open space, my heart expands.

The silence is pregnant with poetry—
the words which have been bottled up inside,
which my hands have longed to release,
begin to emerge and the urge to write grows stronger. 

My little ones are sleepy
the baby dream chuckles and snores somnolently in the snugly
cosy and safe as in God’s pocket. 

My toddler clutches his toy car,
which is always magically in his hands
no matter where we go,
until sleep releases it from his grip
with a small clatter.

  
 
My five year old slides over 
with her stuffy peaking out of her coat,
her eyes wide open and insistent,
as she asks me a pressing question 
“Do bunnies eat petals?”
“Yes!”

“I know,” whispers my four year old,
Let’s pretend we’re in a movie theatre.”
I grin and breathe in deeply to let the incense fill my lungs 
as the shimmer of golden vestments brightens my eyes. 

Under the everyday human humdrum,
runs the divine,
like blood under skin—
hidden, life giving, essential. 
The heart of God
pierced with the sorrow of love for us
stoops down to touch us gently…
an embrace filled with yearning. 

Rain drums on the roof 
and we are cradled inside the cosy wooden church
as if in the ark,
riding the waves of our life
to the shore beyond…
seekers listening for the gentle sound of a dove
as the Holy Spirit leads us forward.