land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

This is also the site where I will be updating and listing the schedule for my radio show, Words of the Morning, which can be heard on WRFR.org on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 am until 8 am.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why do we assume we all know

When it comes to sex and prayer, there seems to be an assumption that people somehow just know what to do.  Like these actions are as basic as breathing.  But they are not, and neither is breathing. All of these things are so much more fun, meaningful and enriching when we talk, ask, learn all we can and do not assume we really know what we are doing.  It is always a good thing to be open to surprise

Friday, March 20, 2015

the eyes have it

Once, while waiting at a red light, I noticed a good friend in the car next to mine, just a few feet away. I waved but he never looked my way. I started to make faces and gestures to get his attention but he just kept looking forward and then went his way. I was struck on how two people could be so close to each other and yet so     unaware. When I lived in a third floor apartment I enjoyed looking out the window. Occasionally I would shout a “hello” to someone I knew on the street, but almost always they would look left and right, but never up.         
I often wonder what I am missing around me, what are the amazing blessings and wondrous mysteries right before or around me that I act oblivious toward.  I also wonder sometimes what events happened just moments before I arrived somewhere or after I left a place, or pass a place. Might a very slow driver that might annoy me actually save me from an accident and I will never know how close I might have came to catastrophe.
Holy week is a deeply profound time we pass each year, sometimes we are aware of it, sometimes it just occurs. Yet in this period of time, I have discovered, God hides a myriad of blessings, mysteries, epiphanies, and deep truths to be discovered. Perhaps they are always there, but we are especially encouraged to look, be still, gaze in new directions, listen to different voices, and pray more mindfully during holy week and with such action we are able to discover these wonders.
It is the week in which we remember the journey of Jesus into Jerusalem, at the time when he was hailed as a messiah, and then betrayed and killed.  It was a journey he knew he had to make. From the time of his transfiguration on the mountain, when he met with Moses and Elijah, he began heading on this journey towards Jerusalem and his death.  He saw something larger, something more important to him than simply his safety, well-being, or reputation. The driving force for him was deeper than the fear of dying. It was profound enough for him to remain silent, even when people were lying about him and falsely accusing him. I can only imagine being in such a situation and how I would want to correct any false accusation. But Jesus was looking beyond, was aware in a most profound way of the present moment of his mortality, but also of a larger reality before, around and within himself.  Even as he was dying and faced with the utter desolation of being alone and abandoned his focus was able to be present and engaged enough to continue, and in doing so opened a door that he knew was before him, that we could only imagine.  He was able to open and enter onto a path not yet taken, yet by going through he would be able to somehow be connected in a deep love with me and you thousands of years later. Somehow he saw and knew that in the present and in the very human existence was something much larger.

And the door is all around us, sometimes wide open just inches away.   There is a love in light more intricate than our eyes can process, more nuanced than our minds can perceive, broader in wave length than our ears can fully hear, and more encompassing than the great cosmos beyond our understanding.  And yet in the holy stillness of prayer, as simple as a child’s gaze, it can be touched and known.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

preparing to reflect upon a life

My mother's funeral is coming up and my brother and I are scheduled to say a few words. In preparation for this I have found myself greatly moved. The mere act of summing up or putting together words that will somehow reflect the light of someone's life is daunting to say the least, let alone someone who has defined and made possible my own life.
I find that words do not even come close to being able to convey the thoughts, feelings, understandings and expressions I feel and the depth of her love. Simply waking this morning on a cold snowy day with the one I love, covered and kept warm by the quilt she so lovingly made is an amazing legacy of love she has left me. The sweaters and the worry that she has covered me with and the avalanche of memories that seem to bury me again and again these days is hard to shovel into any form of meaning, let alone allow me to dig a path out in order to look at her life from any perspective.
The power of love is beyond my comprehension. The breadth of love and connection is something I can touch and hold onto with items valued only by me because of the effects upon my life. The nuances of love create shadows and traces that give my life depth. Anything I imagine I could say always leaves more to be said, I suppose that is what we do as we carry on with the love that has been given us.


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