Monday, December 29, 2008

A little doodling

Jesus doodles in the dirt as the Pharisees bring a woman accused of adultery, a capital offense, to get Jesus opinion. Lives hang in the balance here. The woman's life of course, but Jesus life too in a manner of speaking. This is a test, and if Jesus assents to the Pharisee's verdict, things will go much easier for him. If not, they have evidence against him.

No wonder Jesus starts to doodle in the dirt. Was he giving himself time to think? The Pharisees time to reconsider?

Whatever Jesus was doing, it worked. Jesus arrived at the perfect answer. And, he gave the Pharisees time. To their great credit, they dropped their stones and walked away. Other mobs have not.

Be conscious about how you reach decisions today. Is there space built into the process for the Holy Spirit? Truth seldom arrives on a time table. If you're not sure, maybe a little doodling is in order?

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The season's first snow

It’s starting to snow here. The first predicted snow of any appreciable amount this season. I am sitting in the kitchen by the window with my coffee, watching the tiny flakes dropping from the sky between the winter-stripped forsythia. Falling with a certain urgency in light of the forecast of up to six inches of accumulation.

It’s strange how quiet everything suddenly becomes now that I am aware of the snow. As though some small wheel of the cosmos is back on its rail. The snow will continue to fall, regardless of how I conduct my day, just as it arrived of its own accord. The snow falling never lets me get too far away from now and the accumulations of the present moment. We are on two parallel tracks, companions and adversaries at the same time. We share this day, whatever this day brings. It’s challenges and its blessings are happening at this very moment. I am content to see how it will all unfold.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

GM exec makes more than the top 37 Toyota execs combined

We've been hearing about the UAW auto workers needing to take a pay cut to help out GM. The Republicans have laid a large share of the responsibility for GM's trouble at the feet of the UAW. And yet the difference between the hourly wage of the average GM auto worker's wage and the average Toyota (and Honda and Nissan for that matter) is negligible.

However, the combined wages of Toyota's top 37 executives is 121 million... or, to put it another way, the equivalent of the yearly salary of GM's CEO. One GM exec gets paid as much as 37 Toyota execs.

Clearly, the UAW and the GM autoworker is NOT the problem here...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Smiling banned in Indiana

Whatever you do, don't say CHEEEZ!


My father is singing
in the photo on the refrigerator.
It’s an impromptu portrait,
the last time the family was together
and, as is almost always the case,
no one knew it at the time,
but you know it now
so you feel like God
when you look at it
on your way to a midnight snack.

There are dishes waiting to be cleared
from the table in front of them
empty glasses, glittering forks.
My father’s hand rests on the shoulder
of the sister who took him in at 14.
She is not singing,
she is almost smiling
gazing off to the left.

My father’s younger brother
and an older sister
are singing with him.
Their arms are linked
at the elbows,
mouths in perfect O’s.

My mother and my aunt are smiling
standing by their husbands
as though they’d just decided
at that very moment
their lives had been good.

Rudy is dead now,
Lois (the one smiling) is dead,
Uncle Chickie is dead,
two of the sisters
dissolving into laughter; dead
and the one still singing; dead.

My father is dead too.

There is this terrible line between
is and was
and it moves so swiftly
you can barely see it
and maybe that’s why
we love photos like this
why we plaster them on our refrigerators
and invent ingenious things with magnets
to hold them there.
They are emblems of what could not be spoken
and what should not be forgotten
they are talismans of the sacred
wadded in the pocket of an old coat.

A family
standing shoulder to shoulder
side by side
hands tentatively resting on each other
like small blessings,
singing a German song
from the immigrant childhood
that marked each of them
in different ways
and there is a sense of reconciliation
you come to see in time
that thing which comes after hope
the moment someone sings the first bar
of something
and the rest join in.
In photos
as in the heart that cherishes them
they do not stop singing
until the song is finally done.