Thursday, November 19, 2015

in a parking lot

Wonderful sights can happen anywhere -- even a grocery store parking lot.

In the few moments between errand one and errand two, I pulled into a parking space.

The afternoon sky was brilliant with sunshine -- accessorized with clouds that were themselves accessorized with shadow.

Against this shimmering canvas, a snow-white gull soared up and around, its feathers illumined except where tipped with black.

Grace itself, swooping above the shopping carts, the gull circled and circled, descending then ascending in repeated swirls of flight.

It was not possible to see its motivation. Was there some delicacy trapped on the macadam -- a trace of garbage enticing its repeated descents?

When it was time for me to move on, I drove past the spot I thought had drawn the bird … but saw nothing.

No one else had seemed to notice the avian dance.

Perhaps it was just for me.

Just a reminder that beauty is a component of all our days.

If we but look.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Vision Shared.

When we were growing up, my brother (Bill McClure) and I often tried to kill each other. With less than two years difference in our ages, we were sibling rivals par excellence. We didn’t become friends until I went away to college but our friendship has continued to deepen over the decades as we follow our respective spiritual paths. These paths are parallel, not identical, and it’s illuminating to see them reflected in our lives and work. Over the years, I have come to acknowledge the divine feminine and the holiness of all creation. So has Bill.

When his minister, Rev. J. Todd Smiedendorf (called Todd) asked him to create a large painting with images of the divine feminine/Black Madonna and the divinity of nature/Green Man, Bill began reading and sketching and carving and, over the past year, created the painting that was presented to the Washington Park United Church of Christ on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Early in the service, a good friend, Louise West, gathered the kids around the painting to learn what each of them saw – there are lots of creatures and birds and flowers. One little boy thought the Green Man was scary.

Then the scary part – for Bill – when he and Todd talked about the painting and the process of its creation.

Next, the extraordinary. Three men carried the painting toward the simple cross on the south wall and hung it in its center.

Later the congregation processed forward to admire it.

There is a round worship table in the center of the congregation’s rounded seating area. On it, is a carving of the Tree of Life that Bill created in 2007. It is possible to view both his creations simultaneously.

It is not possible to express the pride and joy I felt to see his vision shared.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Magic Time

Time may be a construct… something humans conjured to provide the illusion of control over things but it can nonetheless be a profound experience.

Recently I wandered in and out of the past and present so rapidly that reality seemed more ephemeral than usual.

Imagine if you will seeing the child you brought in to the world 47 years ago, holding his two week old son – a son who looks remarkably like the child you brought in to the world when he was new – 47 years ago.

Then you get to hold him, the new one. You see his amazing eyes and nose and ears and even hair. He sort of smiles (you know it’s probably just digestive maneuverings but it still is magnificent).

And is it October 1968 or October 2015?

And does it matter? The old one and the new one cluster in the newly formed family.

You are integral and extraneous and it is all wonderful.

And magic.