Begin Here

Begin here, the mystics say.
Humbly and honestly,
name where you are,
what you love,
what you feel,
and wait there
until the eyes of your heart
adjust
to the dark.

God is right beside you,
in and around,
above and below.
You don’t need to go anywhere else
to find God,
to be loved,

to become good.

So I begin here
on this rainy day.
I want to feel passionate
about God.
I want to want only God,
but I don’t.
I want to be distracted,
entertained,
indulge my appetite.
It’s hard to be still
and trust that anything is happening
as I sit in the silence.

I feel restless, helpless, confused.
I want to think my way out of this place,
but an ache rises up in my throat
and says, No.
Stay here.
Keep watch. 

This is a holy place.
I am doing a new thing.

I remember my morning walk.
Part of a maple tree had fallen.
A branch over a foot thick
broke.
A branch as big as a tree itself
vibrant with green, yellow, and red leaves
lay across the path.

In summer’s drought, the tree must have grown weak.
When the heavy rains came,
the tree drank until it was too heavy to hold itself together.
What looked healthy fell away
with a loud crash.

Something in me is cracking.
Something dead is falling away.
Life isn’t in the branch.
I thought it was in the tree,
but when I went back to look,
it was dying too.

My head wants to figure it out,
know what this means.
My heart says, Of course, you do.
It’s okay not to know.

I reread, reshape this poem
until it says what it needs to,
what’s true

and then I see it.
I feel it.

God is the ache.

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
    you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’
–Isaiah 46:6b-7 (NIV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

These Sockeye salmon have travelled five hundred kilometres–from the Pacific Ocean to the Adams River–to spawn. Sometimes these courageous mothers need help to reach their destination. On a walk by a nearby salmon spawning stream, Fred and I met two women who told us where and when to see the Coho and Chum salmon swimming upstream to spawn. They told us how they look forward to this momentous yearly event. “One year, the water in the Brunette River was so low we found a number of salmon stranded and nearly dead,” said one of the women. “I’ll never forget picking up a huge salmon full of eggs. She was barely alive. Then I put her back in the river, and she swam away.” I loved the way these two friends witness, celebrate, and participate in the salmons’ epic journey.

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

Credits and References:
Photos of maple tree by Esther Hizsa.
Orange Maple Leaf” in banner by ☼☼Jo Zimny Photos☼☼. Used with permission.
“Sockeye Salmon in Adams” Theinterior, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  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 Creation, Poetry, Prayer, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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