Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 31, 2012

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure.
2 Corinthians 4:17

I can feel the difference in the car as I pull into the parking lot. With a sigh of acquiescence I choose the space that is well lit. A teachable moment, I think as I enter the building to retrieve my daughters from their evening activity.  “Come on,” I tell them, “It’s time for you to learn how to change a flat tire.”

They enter into the project with good spirits as I explain and teach and supervise. I offer up thanks to my own father for teaching me this skill. And all at once I know that God is in our work together, in their willingness to put their strength to this task, to take on something new, to meet the difficulty with perseverance and optimism. My own spirit is renewed as I share in their sense of accomplishment.

“Now you know how,” I tell them as we put away the tools. And they do.

And I know as well that they have gained something even more valuable than a life skill: the lived experience of what it is like to overcome adversity.

It is only after we are long home that the rain comes in force.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 30, 2012

Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,
for I put my trust in you;
    show me the road that I must walk,
    for I lift up my soul to you. 
   Psalm 143:8

“Did you remember to pray about it?” my friend asks.

My expression answers the question--I don’t even have to voice the word “no.” How is it that I forget?

I went to bed with worries last night and they kept me good company, still there to greet me on my waking. I tried to set them aside, to ignore them, to slog my way through. But I didn’t think to pray.

“Do you reaffirm your promise to give yourself to prayer and study?” my Bishop asked me and my sister and brother clergy just yesterday as we stood in our Cathedral to renew our ordination vows.

Give myself to prayer. Offer myself. Surrender. Time and time again I try to walk the path alone when God has promised me, shown me, that this is not the way.

“Praying is a slow dying,” my friend Suzanne Guthrie writes. “In prayer you give up something of yourself and appropriate something of the sphere of the Divine in a continuous cycle of dying and resurrection. In prayer the growing soul leans toward the Light as a seedling leans toward the sun’s path.”

I begin again. I give myself to prayer. Listen for loving-kindness. Lift up my soul to God.

Suzanne Guthrie's quote comes from her meditation for Lent 5 at

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 29, 2012
When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path:
   in the way wherein I walk they have hidden traps for me.
  Psalm 142:3

Languish. To pine. To pine away. To fade away. To get weaker.

Languish. I linger on the word, the perfect verb for my day it seems. Because even as I keep on toward the resurrection, dull life seems more real than new. I hold the word in my mouth, taste its slightly bitter sorrow with just a hint of torpor. Then I swallow.

And I realize within the word itself lies one of the enemy’s deceptions. I am not getting weaker. Trudging on strengthens me. Stubborn determination will do, when inspiration is lost.

Because my feet know, even when my heart does not, to keep on walking. And God knows where I am.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 28, 2012

My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning
   more than watchmen for the morning. 
    Psalm 130:5

in the hesitation before greeting the day
while the tea is steeping
when searching for the misplaced book

in the quiet space of the first one to arrive
in the cacophony of too many voices
as the minutes move along

while waiting for the piano lesson to be finished
in the middle of a conversation
after turning off the light

in the midst of it all
I yearn for God

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 27, 2012

I lift up my eyes to the hills;
   from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord,
   the maker of heaven and earth.
  Psalm 121

I struggle to enter into the discipline of prayer and Lent today. It is not so much that I fear to go forward as it is that I am uncertain how much longer I can wander in the wilderness. I doubt my stamina.

Each time I labored with a daughter in the womb I met this wall. A place not where my strength failed as much as my courage. What if this soul-wrenching exertion will never end? What if the pain becomes unbearable? What if I cannot endure?

And so each time I threw myself on the mercy of those around me. And each time they were there, my husband most of all. To help me bear the pain. To help me find the way. To be the hands that held me and then reached to welcome each daughter.

I need not struggle alone in the desert. I can ask for and without doubt receive the succor I need. God’s mercy most of all.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent

March 26, 2012

You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy;
   you have set my feet in an open place.
   Psalm 31:8

I settle in to my drive through the early morning darkness. I have a ways to go to reach my destination, but I left the house in plenty of time. Besides, I know this route.

The day softly brightens as the road meanders through the small towns and woods of these gentle mountains. I inhale the beauty. Then my reverie is unexpectedly cut short by the detour sign and the orange cones that hustle me off onto a side road. I know one way to get to where I am going. This is not it.

My experience with detours along back roads is that the signage is much better suited to getting you off the beaten track than getting you back on. Even if I follow the signs, how will I know I am not driving miles through these woods in the wrong direction?

There was a time when such a moment would have trapped me in anxiety and second-guessing. But this morning it occurs to me that just because I don’t know this path does not mean my way is doomed. The pathways to my final destination must be many and various; it is only my understanding that is narrow.

The way opens before me. I can maneuver within this grace. And as I drive I cannot help but notice that along this unexpected route the forest is just as beautiful.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent

March 24, 2012

Jesus said to him, “All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”    Mark 9:23-24

I answer the ringing phone hesitantly, not sure the intrusion will be worthwhile. But the voice of a woman from the local second hand store presents a welcome opportunity. This thrift shop actually calls me to ask if I have anything to give away, and then sends someone to pick it up. Exactly what I need.

I have a hard time letting go of “stuff.” I am thrifty and sentimental: a dangerous combination. I am loath to discard something I might be able to use, reuse, or repurpose. When my girls were little, I hung on to every empty paper towel role because it could be useful for some art project. I think I saw one lingering in back of the kitchen cupboard just yesterday.

Sentimentality gets me too. I have held on to the crib both my daughters slept in for so long that I cannot even give it away. It doesn’t meet new safety standards.

Upon examination, I recognize a sinful lack of trust in my propensity for holding on to stuff. As if such accumulation will protect me from the emptiness of need and want.

I know the love of God; and each day I act as if I’m not sure it is sufficient. God help me.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent

March 23, 2012

Some wandered in desert wastes;
   they found no way to a city where they might dwell.
They were hungry and thirsty;
  their spirits languished within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.
  Psalm 107:4-6

As I finish my morning prayers, I open the book of David Whyte’s poetry that is my companion in this desert pilgrimage. “Waiting to Go On” is the title of the poem.  How fitting, I think.

As I enter into today, I find I am waiting to go on. Waiting to go on in my course through Lent. Waiting to go on in my search for new life. Waiting to go on, to get on, with the next step.

I hesitate; because this path is sometimes a trudge, a toil, an obscurity. Do I have what it takes to go on?

“All this continual practice,” the poet writes:

All this continual practice,
this sharpening
and attentive presence,
this daily fetching and gathering
this constant maturing
and getting ready

all this work to have one complete day
lived just as it should be     (David Whyte)

I remember this wilderness road is also the resurrection road. I am practicing life.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent

March 22, 2012

But as for me, this is my prayer to you,
   at  the time you have set, O Lord:
In your great mercy, O God,
   answer me with your unfailing hope.  Psalm 69:14-15

I unlock the door and step into an unexpectedly quiet house. I am the first one home today and I breathe in the stillness with relish.

I pick up the mail from the floor, sort through it, take a handful to the recycling bin, and then I just keep going. Stray dishes in the sink find the dishwasher. Clothes strewn across the floor make their way to the laundry room. Sweaters discarded after having surrendered to the unseasonable warmth are folded and put away.

As I tidy, I consider how to spend this unforeseen unhurried time. Read a chapter of the novel I am enjoying? Resolve unfinished household business?  Get a jump on tomorrow’s work?

Outside the afternoon clamors on, but here I settle deeper into the hush and continue my rounds. One task at a time I clear away the clutter and I realize it has become a dance, a prayer, a pilgrimage.

I give myself again to the will of the one on whose mercy I depend. Whose voice I have never heard, whose form I have never seen, who yet speaks tenderly to me and holds me fast.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent

March 21, 2012

Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?  Mark 8:19

“But will you help me?” my daughter cajoles as she balks at her turn to do the dishes. I survey the scene and realize it is a light dish night. Only one pot. I point this out to her and tell her to get on with it.

“Well, I’m going to be sulky about it all night.”

“You have the freedom to make that choice.”

“You do know it’s annoying when you do that, right?”

“Yes,” I smile. Of course I know. I have been practicing this parenting technique for years. Giving my children choices right along with responsibility.

And I know because I too have practiced the art of petulance thus adding unnecessary burden to a load. I know the path of seeing scarcity amidst abundance, of hearing condemnation where there is invitation. I too forget the miracle of the loaves.

As I hear the clank of dishes in the sink, I think back over my own work this day, how I labored diligently with purpose—and yet forgot to notice God. How could I choose such a thing?

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Tuesday on the Fourth Week of Lent

March 20, 2012

His disciples replied, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’    Mark 8:4-5

a spouse adept in the art of parenting
the forsythia just burst into bloom
a daughter attuned to justice
the “luv u!” that comes as a text
the grief that has encountered healing
the heart broken open—again

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent

March 19, 2012
Feast of St. Joseph

Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours;
   you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.   Psalm 89:11

I wake weary and disoriented. And in this waking I cannot find my way. I do not know the day, or place, or what lies ahead. I grope for some familiar footing. Some sign that will remind me where I am. Is it a day to be anxious? Is it a day for eager anticipation? I brush through wisps of drifting thought and vague sensation hoping to grasp something solid before bewilderment becomes distress.

Then I awake again to the familiar buzz of my alarm. I am in my own bed in my own house and today is not a lost day but a known day with a recognizable pattern. I am not adrift.

Neither am I safely through the wilderness of Lent, I acknowledge as I become more present to my surroundings. The wind blows in the desert lifting sand into a dance then discards the grains unthinking in some other place so that even standing still I can vanish.

But the wilderness belongs to God. Even missing in the desert I am yet in the hands of the One who has counted every grain.

I place my feet upon the floor and step into the day.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Saturday in the Third Week of Lent

March 17, 2012
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.    1 Corinthians 10:13

“OK, that is just wrong,” I say to my friend Jeremy as we walk down the city street.

I’m not sure what offends my sensibilities more, the plush turquoise and cotton-candy pink bunnies decorating the entrance to the restaurant, or the fact that they inhabit what is clearly a Christmas tree, tinsel still intact.

I’m trying to keep a holy Lent. I’m trying to walk with Jesus in the wilderness. Where Satan tempted him. Where he was with the wild beasts. And where angels came to minister to him.

The turquoise bunny is a cheat. It has neither the ferocity of the wild beast to try my strength, nor the power of one of God’s messengers to soothe and heal.

But perhaps it tests me despite my impulse to disregard it. It takes effort and a force of will to combat the empty and co-opted symbols that assault me daily. They seem innocuous. But therein lies their deceit.

I wrestle with the bunny after all. I fight to push beyond it and the detritus that chokes my way. I work to clear the clutter from my path, so I may fully face the cleansing sand that blows fiercely in the desert.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Friday in the Third Week of Lent

March 16, 2011

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord,
   and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;
To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning
   and of your faithfulness in the night season.
  Psalm 92:1-2

As I walk through the darkened house, I know my way. I carry my cup of tea from the kitchen through the dining room, avoiding the chair which I cannot see but I know is there. It is always there, and I always take the same path.

I settle in to my usual place with journal, prayer book, favorite pen. I open my book and open my lips to begin my morning litany of thanksgivings. I always begin in the same way.

I have learned it is the thankfulness that saves me every time.   Everyday is new and everyday is different and everyday is the same and into this paradox I lift my voice in gratitude. Because it is the best song that I know for carrying me through times carefree and horrific, and those uncertain too, for drawing me into the arms of the Holy One who loves me into being.

For when my always isn’t, even then God’s love is.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Thursday in the Third Week of Lent

March 15, 2012

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
   and bring me to your holy hill
   and to your dwelling.
    Psalm 43:3

I step out of the car into the flawless afternoon sunlight and head for the ball field thinking there might be nothing quite so perfect as softball practice on a warm spring day. I scan the scene for my daughter and smile as she walks to meet me. I anticipate with pleasure our intersection and reconnection.

“How was your day?” I offer in greeting.

“It was good. I had a really good day.”

She moves gracefully though draped with backpack, softball bag, and trumpet case along with other gear. I offer to ease her burden.

“Can I carry something for you?”

“Yes, please!” she smiles at me. But it is clear she has no burdens today, not even an unprepared for social studies quiz can bring her down. Her enthusiasm is outrageously abundant. It is the tempered exuberance of early adolescence, but full of joy nevertheless.

We both waft along on the energy she exudes and it is her buoyancy more than anything else that propels us into the car and across town and into the house where her father receives his blessing as well as she recounts again the day’s events.

“Today is such a good day!” she exclaims once more and gifts me with a hug as she moves on to the next thing.

I have no defenses against such joy. I give in to its tumult and let its rapids carry me along into some lake or ocean knowing I will be cast eventually upon a holy shore.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

March 14, 2012
You are my refuge and shield;
   my hope is in your word.
Psalm 119:114

As the morning brightens, the tree outside my window revels itself—branches first, then buds strewn almost haphazardly along slender twiggy fingers, and finally red filaments of beginning blossoms gain definition. More plenteous than yesterday, the buds and blossoms dance outside my window optimistically responding to the miracle of springtime sun.

This tree is not the same as yesterday and will be different still tomorrow. I note the empty spaces, left by branches lost to fall and winter storms and see too the gaps traversed by brave new shoots. Soon, green leaves will emerge from the refuge of the shielded buds to kiss morning breezes and slap the paws of playful squirrels.

Yet it is the same tree that has kept me company in my morning meditation for years.

I too have lost and gained. And I too will unfurl hopes well shielded through the winter. I will not emerge from the Lenten desert unchanged. But I will emerge: with light and life and love.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

March 13, 2012

That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn;
   that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God,
   and not forget the deeds of God,
   but keep his commandments;
     Psalm 78:6-7

I sit on the rug and tuck my feet up under me. The storyteller begins, and while it is a familiar tale, I am drawn in. I watch with fascination as with practiced expertise she moves the wooden figures, props that illustrate her narrative: the sheep, the wolf, the shepherd, the sheep pen with its gate.

When my children were small I sat on other rugs with them for story time—at school, at the library, at church, at home. Sometimes I was the storyteller, sometimes the mom with a toddler tucked safely in my lap.

Now I am the adult who is invited to take the weight off my feet and set aside for half an hour the cares I carried with me to this day. There are no children here this time—only grown-ups people this story rug. We gather for hospitality and conversation, planning and visioning, sustenance on our journey. We gather to carry on the narrative in which we live and move and have our being.

I listen to the story. And once again I name the wolf at my gate and once again I am brought up short by the love of the Good Shepherd and once again I set aside the doubts that assail me and remember where to put my trust.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Monday in the Third Week of Lent

March 12, 2012

Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:3

I sit outside soaking up the unexpected warmth. The winter has been mild, yet even so the early spring day carries in its breeze hope of new life and change. The light bears a different quality than it did only yesterday.

Amidst the tasks of the day, it is this unlooked for moment in the sun that ushers me into the presence of the holy.  An ordinary moment.

I had not thought it would be warm enough to leave my jacket behind in the house. Even as I went out, I expected cold spring air to drive me quickly back inside. Instead I stay and savor.

Once I moved from the Midwest forests to a desert clime. As fall came I despaired. The days seemed endlessly sunny and warm, as if time moved not at all.  Later I learned in that particular place the note the subtle shift of seasons. Even in the desert, the seasons change.

It is time to shed layers, to leave behind the burdens of winter, to lift my face to the light and be restored.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

March 10, 2012

One thing have I asked of the Lord;
one thing I seek;
   that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
   Psalm 27:5

The porch light offering its gentle glow to the street, the friendly greeting of a neighbor, the key in the front door.

The warmth filling the entryway, the smell of family dinner, the haphazard spread of everyday belongings.

The welcome at the end of the day, and the end of the travels, at the intersection of this moment and the next.

The dwelling place of love.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Friday in the Second Week of Lent

March 9, 2012

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
   and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
   Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
  Psalm 95:6-7

Sale on the stuff you love. Shop the Stuff You Love Sale. As I quickly scroll through my inbox in triage mode, the subject line of the store’s email arrests my exercise of the delete key.

There was a time when I had unsubscribed from all such promotions. Having recognized their siren call to lead me into treacherous waters of misplaced desire and distorted need, I found it best to banish them.  But somehow they crept back in, almost without my notice but assuredly by my invitation.

Sale on the stuff I love. Such a bold lie.

What I love is not stuff. What I love is not carried by this or any store. What I love is not a what at all.

Deflecting the deception propels me into different waters, where I am bathed anew in the voice of the one who loves me, who has taught me all I know of love and has more to teach me still.


copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

March 8, 2012
You strengthen me more and more;
   you enfold and comfort me.
Psalm 71:21

I start my computer anticipating the screen to display the familiar page of my writing. Only it doesn’t. I forgot I updated my software. So what greets me looks all wrong.

I have avoided this upgrade for so long that I am two versions behind. The update seemed like a good idea yesterday, when I confidently decided the only way to approach a learning curve is to just do it. What was I thinking?

I have hardly begun my Lenten journey through the wilderness and already I am weary. Weary of navigating through unknown territory. Weary of a daily need for finding resources in strange terrain.

I yearn for the coziness of the habitual, where problems fall into recognizable categories and solutions are readily at hand within a menu and custom formatted toolbar.

But now I am confronted with yet another crossroads that requires something more of me. The dialog box taunts me with risk.

“You are about to save your document in the super cool new format.”


“Doing so will give you lots of new features, but you will have to depart from the comfortable landscape you know.”


I can hesitate here for only so long. Have I so soon despaired of finding new life? Have I limited my vision and thus overlooked the balm that strengthens and enfolds me? I take a deep breath and click continue.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

March 7, 2012
Others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. Mark 4:18-19

The day stretches before me with possibility. So many choices to make.

Yesterday I wove my way among experiences looking for the perfect formula for satisfaction. I chose one place to settle, but saw one better. I chose again and then perceived the limitations of my selection. I chose a third time and still did not escape the desire for other things: different weather, richer accommodations, more fulfilling experiences.  You would think my familiarity with such lures would inure me to their silly sparkle, yet still I follow right along.

Now I hold still before today. I am almost startled as the door across from me sharpens into conscious focus and I notice for the first time the particular green of the valance across the white wood of the frame. I take in the beauty of their juxtaposition. The door itself offering unexpected possibilities for contemplation before I even open it to enter in to today.


copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

March 6, 2012

Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.    1 Corinthians 5:8

I sit in the front passenger seat, claiming the familiar position of the navigator and wielding the printed out directions to our unfamiliar destination. We have not been here before.

My husband drives the rented car; our daughters take in the new landscape from the novelty of a more expansive back seat than they are used to.

“What am I looking for again?”

“We need exit number 10,” I reply as I scan the signage along the nighttime highway, “It will be about nine more miles.”

I wait a beat before I speak again, “You’re in an exit only lane—you need to merge left.”

“I see that.” And then, “Thank you.”

Times past this would not have been a courteous conversation, but one accompanied by impatient accusation and pointed commentary. I confess some skill with adding caustic words to the mix.

But we have learned along the way to be more gentle with each other in our marriage. We know this navigation dance. We have been here before.

As we drive along in the darkness, I give thanks for our schooling—and the aftertaste of kindness.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Monday in the Second Week of Lent

March 5, 2012

Whenever I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3

I am first aware of the effort. Like an exasperated mother insisting to her wakeful child that naptime is not over, I try to will my conscious self to stay asleep. Despite my struggle to remain in the depths of slumber, I find myself waking to the darkened mid night room.

I shift my pillow, but do not drift back to sleep. With more intention, I resettle myself. But rest eludes me and I give in to being fully awake.

I lay the cause at the book I read before sleeping, an adventure with a young protagonist about to step into certain danger. But I know better. It is not some story that disturbs my rest, but a subtle taunt of the enemy in the desert. A whisper that I have left work undone, a foreshadowing of imagined stress to be found in the day to come, a nagging rumor of inadequacy.

I sigh. What trick will calm my body back to sleep? Or perhaps I must simply give in, get up and use the time productively.

Then I remember my own voice, writing to my infant daughter long ago, that the last prayer of the day is not the evening prayer, but the prayer for night waking.

Before I even form the words…

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Saturday in the First Week of Lent

March 3, 2012

And I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
   I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee to a far-off place
   and make my lodging in the wilderness.”
   Psalm 55:7-8

The morning fog creeps down the street quieting traffic and birds. Insubstantial, the blanket woven of dampened air nevertheless muffles sound, limits sight. The tall evergreen floats across the way as if at the end of the known world while the red maple buds reach toward my window in sharpened outline.

Ordinary condensation creates a potent solitude in the midst of the city as the cycle of water and life and God’s word reveals anew its power to transform. A closing in that breathes comfort and longing. A wet wilderness not just to escape into but to seek out and explore.

Once again I wrap myself in prayer and routine and wonder as the familiar leads me into unexpected revelation.

A single bead of water gathers at the bottom of a twig, quivers, then drops into the unseen day.


copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Friday in the First Week of Lent

March 2, 2012

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
   let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving
   and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. 
   Psalm 95:1-2

I listen to the house, aware of my gratitude accompanying the sound of the furnace kicking in to ward off the early morning chill. I am thankful for the creak on the wooden stairs announcing my daughter’s morning descent into the routine of the day. The hum of water through pipes harmonizes with the movements of my waking family.

Woven through the sounds of this old house a chorus of voices.  Roofers, contractors, chimney sweeps and furnace experts. Plumbers, painters, handymen and the charitable friend who stands with me in the basement solving a complex puzzle. Generous with their expertise and counsel. Generosity is generative, I remember being taught. I am a student still.

In the early morning I come before God with a song of thankfulness on my lips. Gratitude for this old house, beloved house, home. Gratitude for the chorus who has taught me to sing this verse.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wilderness Yearning: Thursday in the First Week of Lent

March 1, 2012

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:7

The wan yellow has finally transformed into a healthy green. It is the color of the chlorophyll revived leaves more than their lengthening which attests to the growth of the plant.

I left the planting of the amaryllis late. A Christmas gift from a dear friend, its components sat expectantly in its package: bulb, soil, container. Waiting for me to pot it with loving care, water it just the right amount, choose the perfect sunny spot.

Except this life did not wait for me. When I finally opened the box, I discovered the bulb had already sent out pale tender shoots. Even in the darkness of the cardboard package. Even without the benefit of soil or water. Or my attention.

Now as this optimistic plant proudly inhabits prime real estate in my living room, happily ensconced in nutritious potting compost and well watered, the miracle of its continued growth and the astonishing flower to come are not my doing.

In the interior geography of my soul, God’s life-giving love works miracles. Even in the darkness. Even without benefit of my attention or effort. One morning I wake to unfurl pale tender leaves before God, the source of light and life.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012