Archives For Spirituality

This piece of flash fiction first ran in Warden Magazine, February 2016.


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Drops of rain gather on the sill, like peasants on a feast day, then tumble down the wall. The rivulets remind me of things long ago—the tall Scots pines at the river where Mamm used to scrub our clothes, the maidens’ ribbons at Beltane festival.

 

I watch the trickle find the ground and then trace its way along the wall towards the shadow in the corner. Slowly, a faint aroma, but rich and earthy, mingles with the familiar dank of stone and clay. Perhaps tomorrow, before Eucharist, the clouds will tire of our burgh and allow the sun to illume the greenness of that clump of moss.

 

17155258766 ab2162acf5 kPhoto courtesy of kimberly/tippytoes via flickr.com.

 

A shock of light outlines the window with its overhanging sign. When they asked me what to etch on it, I said “His Alone.”

 

Two years now I have spent behind these walls—these soldiers of my soul. They bind my body to this square of dirt, away from the plague of gluttony, the temptation of the minstrel’s song, and the lesser loves of ploughmen and bairns. I refuse to be this world’s chattle, harnessed to it like a ploughing ox. No, I will soar, like the goshawks in the sky beyond my window Continue Reading…

“God, I just don’t have what it takes,” I blurted out and grabbed a sweater off the hanger.

The sound of my voice surprised me. I usually slog through mornings mute and zombi-like, but standing between the doors of my closet I felt trapped by my inadequacy—to deal with the politics at work, difficult patients, and another ten-hour day. Even worse, I was completely out of ideas—and had been for weeks—about how to connect my coworkers to the God who loves them. 

3005477839 3bbe16fbc1 bPhoto courtesy of Mark Grapengater via flickr.com

My inadequacy twisted around me, squeezing the air out of my lungs. But, as my words scattered onto work pants and blouses, I felt an answer—the kind you’d never think of on your own, the kind that feels green when all your thoughts are purple. The answer was colored like this: “You being adequate was never the point. Not at the beginning, and not now.”

Just like that, God torched one of the portraits of him that I’d been hoarding. It’s a picture of God up in heaven. Sometimes he’s cheering me on. Other times he’s drumming his fingers on the throne. Always he’s waiting for my graduation day—the day when I’ll finally master being a Christian and get everything right. On my own. Without his help Continue Reading…

There are questions worth asking in life. Did I put deodorant on? Did I forget to pay my credit card bill? Should I eat the re-fried beans considering I’m on a date? These are helpful questions.

Then, there are unhelpful questions, the king of which, in my opinion, is “Am I spiritual enough?” 

5005146417 4bd2529b9e bPhoto courtesy of Raymond Bryson via flickr.com

Nothing sucks me into a vortex quicker than The Unhelpful Question. High winds and negative pressure suck every insecurity into it’s path. It pulls up contentment by the roots. It splatters guilt everywhere. And, it keeps me spinning so fast, that I start to lose grip on reality. 

I should know better, but last week I stepped into the vortex. A friend has taken a couple months off work to Continue Reading…