Learning Father (II): For Eli

…it was I who taught Ephraim to walk…
(Hosea 11:3)

In truth, I teach this child very little.
So much is sheer instinct, determination,
what HR would call “get up and go”.
But there’s little of HR, more of
the deep-sea diver
or the alchemist at his art,
to how this small enthusiast takes
to his knees, then feet, then –
where next?
I did not teach him this.
No, this has a deeper logic,
one taught to joints and sinews,
flowing in marrow, raising from soil
to soul, teaching the human spirit
to walk.
Best is the Father who says, Let it Be, and all Is.
Best the Father who teaches Baby Father me
to bounce the pensive child and sing
a song in the night for dreams.
For I too, often reduced to a crawl,
must also learn, down in the sinews and the marrows of the self
the truth that says, Rise up and walk.

L is for learning, L is for Lent

This year I do not so much
give up my temptations as
face the temptation to give up.

Perhaps it was so for the forty desert days
when stone may have seemed
a fair alternative to bread.

Yet stones, when given the chance,
can become a chorus of praise.
So this year I teach stone:

the stone of a heart that says,
“Don’t move me. I’m basking in the sun”;
the stone of fists refusing to open;

the stone of expectation:
“Here I dwell; here I remain”;
the stone that says, “Do not carve your laws in me.”

Can I give up stone?
Better, give up being stone?
Or in surrender change stone into flesh?

I learn again my ABCs.
In the desert, again, I learn to walk;
and then I learn to kneel.

Catechism 42

Van Gogh - Stillleben mit Bibel
Van Gogh – Stillleben mit Bibel

How is the Word of God to be read and heard? With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives. (New City Catechism)

And teach. Let us be ready:

the hands poised beneath the pages,

holding open, as in prayer;

the eyes attuned, the ears listening,

the spirit waiting,

the Spirit turning

hearts to hear and grow.

And store:

though minds are dull

and eyes may wander,

teach and hold

and store within

the mind’s recesses truths received.

Rebuke! Transform!

Let grace unfold

in pages turned in time, absorbed,

ingested, stored in minds and souls,

ready now to grow.