Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


When do I round the corner and start finding that I have fewer things to do...or is death what happens when your body just can't keep up with the continually increasing number of tasks at hand? My body is ready for the tasks to lighten up, but my ego isn't. I am home after a whirlwind 3 day business trip to Carmel, Indiana which included, at the hotel where I was staying, the arrest last Friday morning of someone for allegedly being a pimp for an Indianapolis woman. Amazing.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I had lunch with Rick, one of the fellas from the Male Spirit group I belong to that is led by Brother Joe. Rick isn't going to this weekend's retreat but he is thinking of going to the Cleveland retreat in January (as I am). It was a good time being with Rick. We formed a very quick bond about 6 years ago at the first retreat I attended. Even though months can go by without contact with one another, when we DO hook up, it is as if we'd just seen each other the day before. Rick is a really sweet gentle guy who is a wonderful listener. I think I serve the same role for him. It’s good.

Sunday was a strange day. Very overcast and about 15 degrees cooler than Saturday. I think my seasonal affected disorder kicked in and it took me forever to get motivated. I had about 9 loads of laundry to get done and I wanted it done as quickly as possible so I took everything to the Laundromat. Laundromats are always a depressing place for me. After I had all my machines loaded, I began people watching. There was a large young Hispanic mother sitting with her 8 year old son as he was practicing his reading. Apparently he wasn't doing all that well because I saw his mom all up in his face which he refused to lift up as he was crying so hard his shoulders were shaking. This took me back to some painful moments in my childhood and remembering what it felt like to not be able to do something your parents thought you should have been able to do. In a few moments I saw the boy lift his head as he saw a glimmer of hope that there was something he could say or do that would redeem him in his mother's eyes. I remember well grasping at those straws. They just reinforced a sense of hopelessness and futility. Fortunately, I was near the end of my time at the Laundromat and I got to escape fairly quickly, but not without seeing the title of the book that caused the tears. It was "Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets." My God, I couldn't get to my car quickly enough.

So, I got home and started putting the clean laundry away. Then I sat and mindlessly watched some television. I have no idea what shows were on. All I remember is that within a 10 minute period there were 3 IAMS pet food commercials with incredibly cute dogs and cats doing incredibly cute things that brought tears to my eyes once again. A phone call from a not-quite-so-sympathetic friend confirmed by misogynistic sense of being menopausal. And then it hit me. Due to rushing out of the house on Saturday morning for breakfast and a lazy Sunday morning, I had inadvertently forgotten to take my medications (which include an anti-depressant). I quickly reached for the pillbox and went to lie in bed. I woke up an hour later and found that the train to Weepyville had apparently taken off without me. I was feeling much better.

It kind of felt good to be able to cry. I wasn't ashamed by it. I just didn't like the sense of feeling sad. I'm at work now. Sad, but in a different way. That's OK.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 18, 2008


A stone falls
on the ground
at my feet.
Unsure of its source,
I pick it up
and hold it
in my hand.
Rounded, grey and white
with specks of pink and black,
I roll it around,
feeling its smooth surface
well-worn by rain.
Even as I toss it in my hand
to gauge its heft,
I feel connected to the earth.
Rubbing it against my face
the coolness soothes me.
Lost boy home
dances in his barefeet.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


For a while now I’ve been convinced that somewhere in the ether is a constantly playing soundtrack that, if we’re lucky, we get to tune it to every once in a while. There is a particular well-known singer whose performance I was fortunate enough to catch on television about 10 years ago. When she completed singing, despite my being home alone, I spoke aloud the words: “That, is the Voice of God.” The singer was Aretha Franklin. She had just finished singing “Nessun Dorma,” a short operatic piece at the Grammy awards. Ms. Franklin was asked, at the last minute, to step in for Luciano Pavarotti who, as he did so many times in his life, cancelled his appearance. The Queen of Soul serenely walked on stage, captivated and stunned the world with her incredible talent, bowed and gracefully walked off to riotous applause.

But, there are other times when I’m sure I’ve also tuned in to
the eternal soundtrack. They are bittersweet moments when I am in awe of beauty and the sound of music feels as if a horsehair bow is being drawn across my heart. Usually, there is no voice; there is simply the sense that what I am hearing is a gift from a perfect world. Perhaps I am fortunate enough to be in one of those “thin places” where the sacred easily comes to us.

I just used the word “awe.” In current world politics, this word has been stolen and its meaning twisted, but I redeem the word now and restore it to its proper context. A couple of weekends ago, I was blessed to attend a concert of Sacred Music. The event was held at Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL, a beautiful standing tribute to the work and life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This special night began with a short introduction spoken by author, Caroline Myss. During the introduction, Caroline explained the reasons for her involvement with the Bellissima Opera Troupe who were performing this concert. During this brief talk, she offered the explanation that there is a unique quality in humans that drives us to search for awe. These were the perfect words to lead us into the evening’s music. But, they have stayed with me as I revelled in their gift.

Mystics are well-acquainted with awe resulting from their direct
personal experiences of God. However, awe is not reserved for a chosen few. It is available to all of us. Through the gift of recognizing the presence of God within each other, we are prepared to be awed by one another, when we pay attention.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I don't usually post entries of material from other sources, but I feel the need to make an exception. It's been a darkly overcast, soggy, humid weekend. For some time now, my moods have been highly influenced by the weather and so sleep came fitfully last night. I couldn't take lying in the bed sleeplessly much longer, so at 1:34am, I got out of bed and searched for some reading material. I didn't want to dive back into a novel so I sought out a journal or magazine. I came across my last copy of Alive Now, an anthology published by The Upper Room Ministries. This is the last copy in my subscription. I found the articles a little too "light" for my spiritual reading. HA! Maybe it was the time of the day, maybe it was the weather, maybe it was my weary state - whatever it was, I found words that pierced my heart:


I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou whilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, or let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I will sit here
and you will stay
behind your solid door.
I will wait for you patiently,
sure that you cannot see
my eager eyes, hear
my pounding heartbeat, taste
my anticipation, feel
my trembling legs.
The doorknob turns slowly
and I hear you speak:
“C’mon, let’s go for a walk.”
You are my Master
and You always know
the words I long to hear.

(poem inspired by photo taken by and used with permission of
Christine Valters Paintner of www.abbeyofthearts.com.)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


And so, as the gentle waters call me
I shall not look back.
Through fading light I struggle
to keep my spent heart focused
on holy reunion with my soul
and those with whom I’ll spend
eternity in song and praise.
Darkness holds no terror
for he shall be my friend in the deep
and when the time arrives,
he’ll hold me in his arms
and slowly rock me;
sweet solace at last.

Labels: , , ,