Friday, August 10, 2012


This morning while sitting quietly and meditating, I remembered the partial lyrics from an old song:  

"Open my eyes, Lord,  
I want to see Jesus. 
Open my ears, Lord  
And help me to listen." 

So I asked the Creator to open my eyes and my ears. Then I thought about my heart and determined I needed to ask God to open that symbolic organ…as well as my very real mind. Since I had just finished exercising, I decided to ask that my lungs be opened more fully. For good measure, I added my veins and arteries, the pores of my skin, my joints, and finally my mouth to always be open to bless with truth and beauty only.

I began to see how many things in our internal and external lives can be clogged, choked or closed…sometimes with just a tiny opening, sometimes merely shut and sometimes locked tight. So again I asked the Spirit to open my relationships. To open up my marriage in new ways. To expand my friendships, both in quality and quantity. I asked that my business relationships be opened, as well as my relationship to my retreat business. I asked to experience continual wonder of the created world.

Because I was praying, I asked God to open up my practices of prayer and meditation. I thought about the prayer of Jabez: "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!   In essence, open up my life and the spaces around me to receive your goodness. A bold request. And hard to say whether Jabez was so tired of having a small, closed life that this was a prayer of desperation or whether because his life was so full and open, this prayer merely sprang from his heart.

I asked all these things so that my life is, indeed, open. And free. Vessels used by God must be open. I cannot be closed and be a cheerful giver. I cannot be closed and see that the cranky waitress might need some encouragement. I cannot be closed and extend to another grace when they fail to meet my expectations.

More and more today, I see minds closed, unwilling to communicate or even be rational. I see fists closed, unable to lend a hand or closed tightly around a handgun. I see hearts closed and suspicious, full of fear. Over and over, God and angels speak the same 3 words to humanity: Do not fear! A speaker said once, "The opposite of love is not hate, but fear."  So be open. Be courageous. Be curious. Be joyful. Be intentional. Be flexible. Be kind. Be helpful. Be quiet. Be gracious. Be accepting. Be Jesus to the closed off and fearful. Because Love, so large and powerful, cannot flow from vessels that are sealed, clogged or have only very small openings. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Neighbor’s Garden

I came to pick up the vacation paper
And suddenly, I am on a safari.

Morning breezes usher out the haze-
Open stage for all winged creatures,
Black vulture and hummingbird,
Monarchs with Viceroy twin.
All around me, movement, like random,
diving leaves after an early autumn frost.
Lost among the coneflowers, Pearl Crescents
rise like a wave as the wind stirs.
A dragonfly charges me, defending new prey.
How odd to see the tables turned on a yellow jacket.
There are no fragrances this late in summer,
just the heavy smell of heat rising.
Sounds of August music ebb and flow,
With background static of cicadas.

But there is no shortage of color-

and Landing-
I’d go deaf if I could hear their wings beat.

Cindy Steffen
August, 2002