a reminder to you, of you, for you…

your heart is an ocean.  vast, deep and beautiful.
teeming with life and giving of it’s self.
graceful and majestic,
it energizes the souls of those who witness it’s breadth,
and frightens those who know not the generosity of it’s nature.

like a child learning to swim, i’ve attempted to trust, to abandon
and to cast off into the depths without regard for security.
the stormy seas of my own heart have at times swayed my vision
and made my strokes turn to flailing.

these failings of my heart will continue to fade,
and as they do i set my compass to the deep, vast seas,
and i cast out an invitation in a bottle for you to join this child there.

Last Friday was a light practice for the track & field team.  We had a meet the day before and this was to be the last practice before Spring break (yes, I gave them workouts to do over the week).  So after we warmed up and stretched I gave them some unusual directions for our run together.  We were going to run through the cemetery right across the street.  Just a good tempo-run for about 15 minutes, but they weren’t allowed to talk to each other at all.  Instead I asked them to consider the meaning of the coming ‘Holy Week’ and their own mortality.

I explained that we’re doing this for a couple of reasons:  1) It will make you a better runner.  We take for granted so many things in our life and our health is one of those things until it is taken from us by disease, accident or death.  You won’t always be able to run.  Feel the joy of it now.  Today.  In this moment.  2)  More importantly, it will make you a better human being.  To consider your own mortality is not a morbid mental exercise but an essential to living life to the full now and maintaining spiritual vitality in the present.  There are ten trillion things that could happen to us in the next 30 seconds let alone the next day, month or year.  Which of us “by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

It was a great, peace-filled run.  Even the teenage girls refrained from talking!  And I got more feedback from the students and parents than I had on anything to date.  There is something equalizing about the grave.  Considering the end of our earthly tent we are freed to live a life of gratitude for the time we have today and the wonder of now.

Good Friday is a time to lament and consider the depth of meaning in what is perhaps the pinnacle chapter of God’s story of redemption.  I’m thinking I’ll go for a run today and hope to consider my mortality and “look on him whom they have pierced” for us and our salvation. 

“O Divine Peacemaker,

you know the rising of passion at all that is not just.

You know that peace comes, not sweet-faced and false, but with a sword.  

Come with your sword of justice and cut away all that beguiles me

and keeps me from seeing the truth.  

Cut away the layers I create so I can avoid relating.  

Cut away my shame when it blinds me to another’s power to humiliate

and does not belong to me.  

Cut away the anxieties that prevent me from looking towards the world.  

Cut away all the tasks I invent to shore up kin and kind,

so I may remember my unknown family, who will go without today.  

Cut away the complexity of my daily doing so I may love simply.  

O Divine One bring me your peace as I set forth this day.”

 -“The Celtic Wheel of the Year: Celtic and Christian Season Prayers” by Tess Ward.