Two trees growing up in the garden…..

I’ve heard it told of two trees growing up in a garden,
two filters,  two perspectives,  two ways;
one a driven religion to be right and know,
to category and label living things.
Superiority feels like shelter in this system
and it demands that those who eat it’s fruit conform.

The second tree is freedom from this judgement,
instead it holds both the dark night cold and the clear sky blue
without fearing the colors and range.
Doesn’t demonize or categorize but
a spacious system supple enough to let people be where they are
until they aren’t.
This living-tree pulses powerful with compassion and grief
while the knowing tree draws from roots of punishment and shame.

These trees can be felt everywhere
like a river running through.
You can feel the slap and shove of the knowing tree when you
question,  when you try to listen open,
when you draw back from the fast food it’s selling.
It has no patience for growing and preparing food for thought,
no tolerance for the slowness of God.
There is a quietude to the living tree
because it doesn’t bristle,
controlling and scared.
 The knowing tree rages at this living tree’s generous way
because it fears the living,
doesn’t do the messy,
of living things.

And humans are hard to get to know
without a lot of time and trust and conversation,
especially if your goal is to narrow down the wide
into piles of evil and good.

Perhaps the human heart was never meant for dissecting at all.
Knowing someone can take a lifetime
and the knowing tree has no patience for this mystery.
It wants cliff notes filed through fast
instead of a novel to discover and digest.

Humans are bewildering to the knowing tree,
often simply problems to be solved.
So the way people are wired is a conundrum for the knowing tree
which likes to keep a tidy god,  well-managed and contained.
Left brained or right,
liberal or conservative,
religious or secular,
engineer or artist
– an impossibly ridiculous (and unnecessary) range.
This unholy mosh must be cooked down into a self-same stew
because there is no rest for those in the stranglehold of this system
if it can’t get a vice grip handle
on evil and good.

It has to be one or the other,
which is likely why the fruit from this tree
has such a harsh and bitter bite.

It will say,  with authority,  what it “knows”
as if it’s perfectly and positively true.
It scrambles to this knowing without question
and ascertains the motives of a heart,
what’s gonna happen next,
what someone meant by what they said or did,
and,  especially,
what God thinks and feels about
pretty much everything.

And this tree thrives because we humans have a powerful low tolerance
for looking stupid
so if we’re gonna live from a freer place
we have to make peace
with looking a fool.

Yeah,  the knowing tree has mastered the art of mocking.
Of the side-eye,  the eye roll,  the mic drop and the sneer.
And it offers up what Anne Lamott calls “snappy explanations for suffering.”
The knowing tree has it all figured out.
Oversimplified.
You can check your gut at the door and simply pick up your pre-approved script.
(to be continued…)

“There is nothing you can’t prove if only your outlook
is sufficiently limited.”
– Dorothy Sayers

(this feels like storytime with Jenny and I’m loving the telling,
my heart especially needs it now to hear.
I aim to come back next week with another portion;
I need to write this,
especially as I fall deeper in love with the living tree
and also grieve it out, all the unholy knowing that I’ve done.
~ thanks for your always generous patience
in my working it out.)

To celebrate the living in the tangle of these times,
I want to give away a bundle.
A signed book,  some art,  and some handwritten love
from me to you.
Leave a comment and your name goes into the drawing:)

Like sea glass on the sand…..thank you notes

Heart thumping grateful for the light bouncing potent off of these shards of beauty
like hard-buffed sea glass on the sand:
As the storm storms on….

~  Thank you farmers and makers and artists and shakers
for collaborating with God to keep us nourished body and soul.

~ Thank you,  creation,   for being beautiful in complexity and paradox.
You can be gorgeous beyond belief and also mean and merciless
and still
the realer reality
of strong Compassion
sweeps over you a healing tide
and restoration can happen like the morning

~ Thank you for “I wonder where the storm will take us.”
For those who can sit with the unknown.
I appreciate more than ever you who will hold space for uncertainty.

~For the stars and moon so talkative some nights that it’s hard to sleep
and for brand new days for our tired old ways,

~ For heart-claps and joy that gives mad strength,
joy that isn’t pissed away by “what about this.”
Joy that trusts defiant,
that prays brave and surrenders it fierce,
whatever can’t be fixed or found.

~For the just right blend of beauty and bounty and broken and wisdom and whiskey and weird
for my cup of tea.

~ Thank you,  those who release life-giving prayers into the heavens,
how those prayers rise the way the wind kisses dunes with salty breath,
or like the birds who seem to be born out of mist
and fly into the burning sun.

~ Thank you,  pain and pressure and perplexities.
For how “we never know the wine we are becoming while being crushed like grapes.”
(thanks,  Henri Nouwen)

~ Thank you paypal and Vinmo and all of the things;
you do make the clockwork run a little smoother.

~Thank you flowers and Spring bloomers for how ya’ll keep talking up a hopeful storm,
making music like the birds who just keep singing.

~ Thank you,  steep and slippery technical learning curves,  for being just barely do-able.
Eventually.  Like climbing a greased pole.  Or a violently swinging rope.
You’ve brought my jagged edges to the surface for some needed polishing.
And brought me to Pepcid AC.  And an entire box of cherry blow pops.    Thank and #@*~ you.
But mostly thank you.  Really.

~ Thank you, fluff on TV,  for not satisfying.
For leaving me feeling “meh” and hungry for the pure raw presence of realer things.

~ Thank you,  Amazon,  for bringing the supplies,
for helping makers make the things we’re making.
I’m thinking you were born for such a time as this.

~Thank you,  biased journalism,  for playing so openly the political blame game;
you’ve goaded us to deep-dive for wisdom and discernment
because sanity can’t thrive in the confusion you’re selling;
thanks for overplaying your hand.

~ thank you also to the orchestrators of conspiracy theories
for making the media’s agenda look,  well,  less crazy than the one you’re hocking.
For oversimplifying the complex by trying to sell us a house made of tinker toys
when we need to build safe shelter.

(You both make me appreciate the beauty in the gray – the strength of both wings spread strong)

~ Thank you to the builders to the ones who know they see only in part.
Who know that their knowledge is incomplete.
Thanks to you,  humble ones,  who get that their perspective may be off,
who listen deep and long and well.
Cheers to the listeners – I celebrate you.
You are bright beings in dark places
and we need you big.

~ And thanks to all the servant-leaders doing awesome jobs
in homes and communities,  taking initiative in beautiful and creative ways
– for listening and leading in Love,
for being stability
in this thing we’re all doing for the first. time. ever.
( whoever and wherever you are…in whatever capacity,
your influence is light).
To you,  gracious ones,
Thanks for the space you’re holding for our differing levels of fear and uncertainty,
for not being terrified into verbal violence.
Like one of my favorite hearts wrote,
“Moral outrage is the opposite of God.”
(Gregory Boyle)

Thank you for not demonizing human beings.
You help keep our sails mended so that when the wind rises
we all rise and meet the waves together.
You are our ticket for safe passage.
Healing balm for broken hearts.
And you make it safe to step into the arena
where solution gets born.

~ Thank you,  dear Comforter,  for drawing near to anyone who asks,
that your response to tragedy and loss is always to share the pain,
to offer deep friendship.
Tearful thanks for your sweet presence;
that we are held.

“What good is a half-lit life?
You can burn me to ashes as long as I know
we lived a life alight.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

Thanks for reading my thank you notes – it’s been a soothing way to process the
weight of the weeks.  And to draw out the bits I want to save forever
up against the warm thump of my heart.
Another giveaway again this week!
One of the art journals from my etsy shop on sidebar.
Whoever wins the drawing can choose:)
Next Thursday,  May22.  Leave a comment and you’re in the hat!