Fading Light

You want to see the sun kiss the water

I want to see the night kiss the last of the light goodbye.

That’s the real beauty.

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December Thirty-First

I’ve been thinking about today’s Word of the Day prompt: Traditions

When it comes to celebrating the New Year, there is always a trend to want to reinvent ourselves: resolutions, we call them. Maybe to be tongue-in-cheek non-conformists, we will call them “Goals.” Either way, you know the litany: Exercise more. Eat better. Lose weight. Drink less. Quit smoking.

We do this because 1) society expects us to publicly declare the various ways in which we are going to reinvent ourselves, perhaps the largest group pressure anywhere, ever; 2) we honestly hope, believe, that we can be better people.

What frustrates us more than the pressure to reinvent is the looming sense of failure; we believe more fully that we won’t achieve re-invention or the monumental improvements that are expected by millions of strangers.

It’s not that I’m hopeless about improvement on an individual or societal level. If I am hopeless about anything, it’s in how hopeful I am–a hopeless optimist, maybe. or a hopeless hoper. I want to see the best in people; I have this sad habit of looking at decrepit buildings, houses, boats, people, and seeing all the potential that’s wrapped up in them.

When it comes to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, though, I just don’t do it. I’m not even a huge fan of the semantic game of New Year Goals.  I think we should be resolute in self-improvement and communal improvement all the time. Not just at a the shifting of an arbitrary temporal moment.

A friend of mine doesn’t do NYE because their New Year happens with Rosh Hashanah; many liturgical churches mark New Year and the beginning of the Church year at the start of Advent; spiritual new years happen all around the calendar, and maybe that’s a great way of remembering that we’re constantly invited to make ourselves and our communities “more perfect in love.”

Tonight I’ll be sipping some “new to me” red wine and watching Phish ring in the New Year at Madison Square Garden (via the InterWebz, not in person.) At some point I will fall asleep and the new calendar year will begin.

Frost_patterns_2

I will still be me and you will still be you.

We will struggle with writing correct dates for a few days or weeks, as always.

2019 will have moments of bliss and moments of anguish just like 2018.

I hope that you (whoever you are) soak in the bliss, and even the mundane, so those memories and that energy can carry you through the moments of frustration and anguish.

May we all be more present with one another.

May we live in tune with Wheaton’s Law and work harder at not being dicks to one another.

And as the wise sages said: May we strive to “be excellent to one another.”

Every

Damn

Day

Not just because it’s December 31st.

 

 

 

 

 

…And Beyond

There was a be-yoo-tiful sunrise this morning.

I say that with frequency, but this morning was truly exceptional. I’ve not seen that shade of red for a morning sky…….ever.

I tried to capture it with my phone, but there was just enough ambient light pollution that I knew I would never properly capture that particular moment.

I’m starting to be okay with that, too.

When we capture a moment with our phone’s camera, perhaps we do it with the intention of sharing that beauty with others, but then we get so wrapped up in making sure it’s just right that we miss the beauty ourselves.

A photo may make us imagine that we are capturing a moment and that the moment is somehow now eternal because it’s on our camera roll. But those moments, those infinite moments we are offered, even though they aren’t eternal, they invite to to explore the infinite ways the universe, the cosmos, the Divine, touches our lives with beauty. And it’s a gift meant just for us.

The reason sunrises, sunsets, moon rises, full moons–all those things–are so gorgeous, is because we can collect all those individual moments as a community and add to their beauty with compassionate living.

 

From Word of the Day: Infinity

Wild #AdventWord2018

Call me crazy but I will never pass up the chance to grasp some branches of Rosemary. I love the way it’s scent lingers.

I wonder if the scent of the Holy lingers on us when we meet people in our day to day living. Are we attracted to wild expressions of the Holy in same way we’re attracted to smelling flowers or grasping rosemary?

Night #AdventWord2018

This is from a few weeks ago. There was a full moon rising behind a bank of clouds.

We tried getting better pictures, but there was too much ambient light.

An author I read recently talked about how we love to fill up the night with light because we’re inclined to associate darkness with bad things.

But night lets us see stars, constellations, and planets. When we get to places where there’s very little ambient light, we can see stars upon stars upon stars.

Night is when we are aware of how much even a little bit of light can make a difference.

Focus #AdventWord2018

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The Insta-Picture-App has this cool little feature called tilt shift–imitating a feature you used to only be able to do in the dark room. You can select a portion of your photo and draw attention to it.

Above, I wanted to draw attention to mini Funko Gandalf hanging out in the midst of all my Grateful Dead Beanie Bears. You can still see the bears, but the focus, plus the vignette feature–HOPEFULLY–draws the eye to the mini Gandalf.

Advent invites us to shift our focus as well. The focus I feel is more important in this season is that of Incarnation; we could ask, “How do we set about making the concept of Love real?”

Many folks believe in the idea of love–not just romantic love, but love that empathizes, love that attempts suffer with (has compassion), love that feels on behalf of the other.

Many folks believe in it, not as many make that love real, or experience that idea of love as real.

Maybe that’s why we latch on to the notion of gift giving. We want to demonstrate our love for others, so we give them gifts. Tiny gifts and extravagant gifts.

What if we thought of our day to day actions as tiny gifts, or extravagant gifts, that embodied love, compassion, and empathy? Would that be an accurate depiction of the focus of Advent?

Watch #Adventword2018

I’ve always enjoyed people-watching. Sometimes imagining their live’s narratives, sometimes wondering what caused them to be where they are.

One of the things I notice though (as I sit in a restaurant having dinner and writing on my phone) is how many people don’t watch.

What I mean by watch is being present. That’s why I pointed out that I’m sitting here writing on my phone. Even I am not fully present right now.

Advent calls us to be aware of the Holy breaking into moments we least expect to find the Holy.

Holiness in pain.

Holiness in poverty.

Holiness in refugees.

Holiness in the ones whose eyes we would rather not meet.

We aren’t called to watchfulness in this season alone, though.

This season invites us to practice things so that we put them into “practice” all the time.

Ever watchful for moments to let the Holy break into the world.

Every day.

Every season.

Be present.

Watch.