A Reflection from a Journal
Some years ago a book found its way into my life, "The Essential Rumi" translation by
Coleman Barks.  I found so much in that book of poetry
that related to my own faith, especially
around the theme of loving the Beloved.  
The Beloved could be the Lord, or my dear wife and lover, or a dear friend.
The words of his poetry found a way to enter my heart and open
my emotions to a fuller experience of love with the Lord and my wife.

Several years ago, I gathered a number of the verses of this poetry
and wrote a piece of prose, a prayer.  Here is it for you....

A Reflection from a Journal

These days, I have been crying out, Jesus, Jesus....  Jesus.... Jesus...
I softened and became more kindly.
The longing I expressed was immediately met.

The cry of my grief draws me towards You.
My sadness that wants help is a secret cup.
I once had a dog that moaned to be near me.  
His winning drew me to him.
There are some unknown parts of me that moan all the time.
I just can't hear them.
Grant me the grace to listen and be a part of that moan--
I immediately find You.

Crying out loud and weeping have much to offer me.
Patricia taught me that.  
As a nursing mother, all she did was wait to hear the cries of our daughters.
Just a little beginning whimper and she was there--
her milk came.
Lord, You put this crying in my soul so that it might find its voice and cry out---
so Your milk might come.

Lord, I tend to be so silent and stiff in my pain.  
I've been taught to quiet myself.
Yet, I hear Your gracious Spirit saying, "Cry out!"  "Lament!"
And when I have,
the milk of Your Love flows into me--everytime.

I give my weakness to the only One who can help.

I heard my wife's moan one evening.
She quietly lay in the dark.
Like Mercy itself, I ran toward that pain.
I couldn't sit still.  
I heard her helplessness--that cry always draws my heart.

I want to hear that sweet music that draws You to me.
Loosen the binds that tie up my soul.
The "control knot" is so tight around my neck.
Help me, Lord.  I cry out--and You are there.

God's merciful generosity is loosened...
I am sure He is always present...I am the one that is far away.

Crying out for help--that vulnerable breaking-open of my soul
is when the milk of grace starts to flow.
When I am empty, my tears come.
My stubbornness is dissolved.
When I am completely empty like a lute,
I can make the sweet music of "Lord...  Lord..."

My problem is that when my emptiness starts to get filled with something,
I lay down the lute and pick up something else.
To remain empty is a grace that is slowly dawning upon me.
It is surrender and yieldness.
My emptiness, my longing-cry contains what I need.

I have found when I (my ego-mind) sits in silence with my soul voice,
a language from beyond my joy and grief appears
and begins to pour out.
A window opens within me and the grace-milk flows.
A fountain-head, a well-spring is awakened.
I find the Beloved.  He opens to me...  She opens to me...

The scent of Joseph's shirt comes to Jacob...
Jacob, blind with grief and age, smells the shirt of Joseph,
his lost son, and can see again!

I feel as though I was an oyster that opened my mouth
to swallow one drop---
and received a grain of sand.
Now, there's a pearl.


Oh, for the grace of this continued love affair between falling and lifting--
contracting and expanding.  always weak and empty
and always feeding and being nurtured.

It is so difficult to let go and "be there."
Yet, I feel more softening happening in my life and a slow yielding
and "giving up" to that sweet grace.
There is a secret medicine given only to those who
hurt so much--having lost control.
The controllers would feel slighted if they knew.

I always need more grace that I thought.  His presence draws me.
He is salve.   It is so difficult to stay in the open, being that vulnerable.

I wish I could again cry as easily as I did when I was a little, little boy.
I see the clouds weep and the gardens sprout.  
I hear babies cry and the mother's milk flows.
I notice in my dreams I have deep and powerful times of weeping.
And this feels so good when I awake.  My sleep waters me.
When I am in this state of utter helplessness,
a table descends to my tent, Jesus' table.
It is spread with other food--better than steak and onions.
The older I become, I find I am so weak.
I need more help than I realized.
                                                                       ltm