That I may be the soil
Always ready to receive
The planted seed.
Let the seed germinate,
Sprout and grow into a
Large flowering plant;
Providing beauty to
Shade to weary travelers;
Bearing fruit to
Nourish the hungry
I am dust of earth
A vessel composed
My soul is the
Neurons firing in
Holy places; the
Space between Heaven
And Earth. My hope is
Set on compassion to
Propel desire toward
Your throne. A shadow
Cast upon my soul,
You remind me of my
Heavenly home. Your
Covenant cuts into
My flesh. Etched upon
My mind; engraved
Upon my heart is
Your precious Law.
One of the greatest challenges to finding your creative, artistic voice is to overcome perfectionism. As a professor of art I see an epidemic of the disease of perfectionism. I want my students to know that perfectionism keeps them from giving themselves permission to make the art of their heart. So I wrote this blessing for them. And you, if you feel like applying it to yourself. I certainly need this reminder for myself.
You are at the threshold of artistic exploration.
The Spirit of creativity calls out from the caverns of your soul.
Your heart is thrilled at the possibilities for novelty and newness.
But there is another voice whispering from somewhere in the back of your mind.
It is the voice of perfectionism.
Suddenly something black shrouds the presence of possibility.
Suddenly your body begins to beckon backward, while your soul
Reaches for the grace of creative impulse.
In this moment your body requires permission to return to the soul.
May your heart be filled with freedom to grant the permission your soul needs.
May you escape the chains that hold you in the prison of self imposed expectations;
And your soul soar into the landscape of artistic expression
Where the Spirit is allowed to shape the art residing in you;
The art that sets free those in bondage to fear and brokenness.
Permission brings forth possibility.
Perfectionism stifles your power.
May you find within yourself the power to push back perfectionism.
May you find yourself free.
Let the blessing of God be our fashion.
Clothed in poverty;
We wear mourning
Covered in hunger
We wear thirst,
Mercy and purity of heart.
Covered in these we will see God.
May peace be the vesture on our heart
While persecution covers our body.
Let this be our apparel;
For it is the very kingdom of God.
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Inspired by this scripture, I wrote the following prayer and the haiku that follows it…
My lips are a door;
The words I speak today
Will exit my soul and find
Place in soil of another soul.
May they be words of life;
Like a breath of air to the
Dying soul. Like healing
Balm to the wounded heart.
Like bread to the hungry one
Providing strength for their
Way. To the one whose way
Is death, they will be bitter;
To the one whose way is life,
They will be sweet.
To the one who feels hopeless
Let them bring hope; to the
One who is comforted by sin,
Let them bring conviction.
To the one who is lost, let them
Give direction; may they be light
On the dark path. To the one
Whose heart has grown hard
Let them bring warmth to soften.
Oh Lord, let my words be your
Words today; for you know the
Heart of every living creature
And you know the words they
Need to hear. I ask, this day,
For you to give me a Word in season.
Your lips are a door
Opening into my soul
So speak words of life
I believe that the realization of my death ought always be kept before my eyes.
I believe that the arts are indispensable to the full appreciation of life,
I believe there are lots of good books to read,
But only a few should be read more than once.
I believe I should listen more than I speak.
Silence and solitude are necessary to sanity.
I believe the present has not necessarily improved upon the past;
So l take particular note of history.
I believe I need a spiritual companion for guidance along the way.
I cannot dispense with the church, I need the body of Christ;
There are no Lone Ranger Christians.
I believe scripture reading and prayer are to the soul as food and water to the body.
I believe there is a real heaven and a real hell.
I believe that Satan is a real evil presence;
That he is, indeed a foe, but an ultimately defeated foe
Because of the work of Christ on the cross.
I believe that my battle in life it’s not against other people
But against the demonic world system,
My own selfish flesh and the devil.
I believe that Jesus died for all the human race,
He lives to bring abundant life;
His grace is real and transforming.
I believe Christ is the origin of my life;
When I see him face-to-face I will see my true self.
This I believe.
Benedict is at the front door welcoming guests;
Francis is in the garden preaching to the birds.
Teresa is descending the stairs from the attic;
Ignatius is doing exercises on the living room floor.
I’m sitting on the couch watching a reality TV show.
It’s the one where people are left
To live alone in a cave in the middle of the desert;
They must survive only on prayer and meditation.
Praise the Lord with the mown lawn; dishes dried and put away.
Praise the Lord with the made bed;
Clothes folded, neatly placed in drawers.
Praise the Lord with the daily commute; parked car, clean desk.
Praise the Lord with the swept floor; the dog fed and watered.
Praise the Lord with a good night’s rest; prayers prayed- day well spent.
My Lord and my God,
I am a victory you have won in woundedness;
I am a life redeemed by death.
I am raw material transformed by incarnation; a soul made new by resurrection.
A body You have prepared for me;
Make it Yours;
I give my all to you in sacrificial love for the good of this world.
Through me Your breath flows out into the atmosphere.
Through my lips, speak forth words of life;
Sing salvation’s song,
To make dry bones live.
With my feet walk toward those in need of salvation.
Through me serve the broken and poor;
Heal the hurting and lame.
You, Lord Jesus, have already given your all for me, how can my response be any different?
I only ask for your grace.