Flies and Cold Fish

I’ve been doing too much, thinking too much. I’m so full of thoughts about what I have to do, my prayer times are inundated with them. I try to push them away, but each one promises to be the thought that will end all thoughts.

One of my doings landed me in a contemplative gathering on a Saturday night. Someone read Jan Richardson’s poem, “Stay: A Blessing for Ascension Day.” Together we listened for a word or phrase that drew our attention. Without fanfare or feeling, these words stood out for me.

Wait with your hands open
to receive what could never come
except to what is empty
and hollow.

The sentence sat on my lap like a cold fish while more thoughts buzzed and bumped against confines of the silence.

A few days later, I attended a one-day prayer retreat. Though I’d carefully guarded that time, I had to leave early to attend a memorial service.  For a couple of hours, I sat with more words, more dead fish on my lap.

Abide in us.
Holy God. . .
Mighty One. . .
Guiding One. . .

Then a thought emerged with a hint of a sob–not from the buzzing in my head but from the stillness of my heart: God is holy enough, mighty enough, present enough for me to let go of my thoughts and trust the hollow emptiness.

Just Sit There Right Now
–Hafiz

Just sit there right now.
Don’t do a thing.
Just rest.

For your separation from God,
From love,

Is the hardest work
In this
World.

Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to
Drink.

You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your
Head.

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Once when I was on a silent retreat, I feasted on the delicious poems of Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky (left). I felt so loved and God was so pleased. I often find myself quoting a Hafiz poem when speaking, directing or writing and smile inwardly in gratitude for Ladinsky and the permission he has given me to use these poems in blog posts. He commented, “You say, ‘I did a little dance,’ in reading something I sent, posted. That is really my sole care in the world now. . .  to help every creature boogie ever higher—become more free and safe.” Thank you, Daniel, for the love mischief you and God do for the world.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
“Another Foggy Morning” by Carlo Scherer. Used with permission.
Jan L. Richardson, from “Stay: A Blessing for Ascension Day”
“Alone in the Woods” by Carlo Scherer. Used with permission.
“Just Sit Right There Now” from 
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz  Translation by Daniel Ladinsky.
Photo of Daniel Ladinsky by Kevin D. Mann
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Prayer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s