Standing here, at the heart of matter,
I long for stillness,
All too aware that when I am shaken,
The rest of those whose lives I touch
Are profoundly rattled and stirred.

And so I seek that centered calm I feel
When I connect with You
And though I know it flows through me
To many other lives –
Some part of me still wonders
if it might be perceived as selfish,
To reach for that oxygen mask,
And put it on my own face first,
And so, enguilted, I neither delegate,
Nor ask for help;
Only give; make no time to receive,
and fail to find my link with You,
But churn instead in ceaseless busy-ness,
drowning in this chaotic sea
Of people, plans, and promises I’ve made.

Were I to pause and listen to the waves,
I’d hear your essence,
A lifeline’s slap across the water.
And if I were to stop and take a breath,
I’d feel your love
In the warm and liquid wash of a morning shower,
Or flowing o’er my hands in the kitchen sink;
In the delicate scent of a candle,
Or shampooing my daughter’s hair;
In the taste of fresh fall-ripened corn
Or a leftover grape, unpacked from yesterday’s lunch;
In the music of a chance-heard song on the radio of my car,
While driving in to work;
In the colorful splash of autumn's first leaves,
Or the twinkling spark in a friend or lover’s eye:
Each calls me home to you
If I but pay attention.

Remind me, Lord, to watch for you;
To create a space where thought will not intrude –
If only for a moment –
So I might hear and see; taste, smell, and even touch
The sounds and sights; the flavor, scent and feel
Of You.

Words and Image by Diane Walker

Do You See?

The Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe

Well worth a visit to Episcopal Cafe, the image above and a few words about contemplation.

Image: Untitled, by D. Davis. As seen in the "Los Angeles Visual Preludes 2009," presented to The General Convention of The Episcopal Church, July 2009, in Anaheim. The Rev. Gabriel Ferrer, Producer.


"Humility can also mean ... a profound recognition of the limits of what we 'know.' Such humility requires a real caution about generalizing what we think we know of others' situations. Such humility also requires a deep awareness of how our biographies affect our knowledge and biases.

Our gender, culture, ethnicity, and personal and collective histories all profoundly shape how we know and what we know, and in ways that are often difficult to bring to consciousness. Humility calls us, then, to a deep appreciation for and openness to others' realities and to new revelations."

Words: Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Contemplative Photography
Image: Diane Walker

Perfect Peace

"Where is silence? Where is solitude? Where is love?

Ultimately, these cannot be found anywhere except in the ground of our own being. There in the silent depths, there is no more distinction between the I and the Not-I. There is perfect peace, because we are grounded in infinite creative and redemptive Love."

Words: Thomas Merton. Love and Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Br. Patrick Hart, editors (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Inc., 1979): 20.

Image: Woodblock by Connie Butler

The Sound of Solitude

Wake up
and feel the sound of solitude
playing its melody
Harmonizing with the dance of your new life
Play them softly
Play them loud
Be the player
Be the listener
Be awake
Be aware

Words and Image by Joyce Wycoff

Sky Declares

The heavens tell God’s glory,
       and His handiwork sky declares.

Day to day breathes utterance
       and night to night pronounces knowledge.
There is no utterance and there no words,
       their voice is never heard.
Through all the earth their voice goes out,
       to the world’s edge, their words.
For the sun He set up a tent in them –
       and he like a groom from his canopy comes,
              exults like a warrior running his course.
From the ends of the heavens his going out
       And his circuit to their ends,
              And nothing can hide from his heat.

Words: Psalm 19:2–7 from The Book of Psalms: a translation with commentary, by Robert Alter

Image: Simonsons Meadow by Robert Epley

For Angels

Spirited light! on the edge
of the Presence your yearning
burns in the secret darkness,
O angels, insatiably
into God’s gaze.

Words: Hildegard of Bingen

Image: "Knowing Lights" by C. Robin Janning

Keeping Our Balance

"Rabbi Simcha Bunam, one of the great Hasidic masters taught that each of us should have a scrap of paper in each one of our pockets. Upon one scrap of paper should be written the words taken from the Talmud: Bishvili nivra ha’olam – The world was created for my sake (Sanhedrin 37a) and on the other scrap of paper should be the words from Genesis (18:27), V’anochi afar va’ayfehr, – I am but dust and ashes."

"... Rabbi Bunam teaches us balance – balance between extreme humility which could literally leave us in the dust, and extreme ego-centrism which could lead us to believe we are the center of the universe. We live with this paradox: even though we will perish, the world was created for us. The idea that the world was created for us must underscore the questions that we pose to ourselves about our lives. For if we believe that the world was created for us, then we are charged with making a difference in this world."

Words: From
Kol Nidre 5767, by Rabbi Susan Leider

Image: Blue Music by Virginia Wieringa

Hail Mary

"They say it's your birthday...
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you."

Words: Birthday Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Image: Theotokos by Carole Baker (This image, though not a true icon in the canonical sense, nods to the rich tradition of iconography and was completed as part of her masters thesis. The research leading to the piece explored the role images of Mary played in the development of the Church's Christological doctrines.)


"The vocation for you is the one in which your deep gladness and the world's deep need meet -- something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done."

Frederick Buechner

Image: Woodblock by
Connie Butler

A Blessing

For a blessing upon all human labor, and for the right use of the riches of creation, that the world may be freed from poverty, famine, and disaster, we pray to you, O Lord.

Image: Sun Dancer by
Marty G. Two Bulls, Sr. (The Sun Dance is performed to "magnify the prayers of the people.")

Words: From the Book of Common Prayer, Form V, Prayers of the People, page 390