Before you go to bed,
shake the dust off your feet.
Open your front door and
–with a shoe in each hand–
smack those soles together.
Like a TV preacher,
tell those demons: “Be gone!”
Before you go to bed,
empty your pockets.
Pile up your
precious portfolio of plastic,
cell phone, cash, keys,
loose change, receipts, and Kleenex.
Pull your side pockets right out.
Flick those fabric ears clean of identity.
Before you turn back the sheets,
take off those dangly earrings, necklace, bracelet, watch.
Rub your wrist till it forgets what it lugged around all day.
Before you turn out the light,
take a warm, wet cloth,
close your eyes and wash your face.
Wipe away all you heard, all you saw, all you tasted.
Brush off every word you spoke, tooth by tooth.
Gargle, spit, smile.
Before you lay your head on the pillow,
grab your ankles,
flip your body upside down and give it a shake,
like your mother did when she brought washing in from the line.
Snap out that lingering thought, that clinging regret
till it falls to the floor and rolls under the bed.
When you are
pull the blankets up to your chin
and say goodnight to your life.
Go to sleep
filled with God.
Like a waterwheel of divine love, the Father empties all of himself into the Son. The Son receives and empties all of himself into the Spirit. The Spirit receives and empties all of himself /herself into the Father. The Father receives and the cycle continues. It’s no good telling people to let go if they can’t be assured they will be refilled, but the Trinity gives us a model for how that can happen. I can let go, because I trust I will always be filled up again.–Richard Rohr
Questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- How might the self-emptying/filling work of God be essential for us to love our neighbours?
- When you read the poem “Empty,” what images compelled or repelled you?
- Which letting go would you find most difficult? Which one most satisfying?
* * *
My St. Stephen’s friends, Colleen Butterley (left) and Roxee Forrest are up to some great love mischief. Once a week they read to children in Kindergarten-Grade 2 at Cameron Elementary school which is in the same neighbourhood as our church. Colleen’s involvement with Cameron began when when her children, now grown, attended the school. Roxee is a retired teacher. She said to me, “Teaching was my life; it’s great to be back in the classroom again as a volunteer. I just love it.”