“In Scripture, the opposite of faith is not doubt but anxiety. To lack faith is not so much to have theoretical doubts about God’s existence as it is to be anxious and fearful at a deep level…
It is this kind of anxiety, the deep fear that we have been forgotten, that pushes many of us to make an assertion of our lives. Nobody wants to live and die unnoticed, insignificant, forgotten. This anxiety is the opposite of faith. It is not so much the fear that God doesn’t exist, as the fear that God doesn’t notice our existence.
What is faith? Faith doesn’t have you believe that you will have no worries, or that you will not make mistakes, or that you and your loved ones won’t sometimes fall victim to accident or sickness. What faith gives you is the assurance that God is good, that God can be trusted, that God won’t forget you, and that, despite any indication to the contrary God is still solidly in charge of the universe. Faith says that God is real and God is Lord and, because of this, there is ultimately nothing to fear. We are in safe hands. Reality is gracious, forgiving, loving, redeeming, and absolutely trustworthy. Our task is to surrender to that.”- Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer Our Deepest Longing
I set a goal on Tuesday that I will follow a day schedule starting with meditation in the morning. I meditate from 20 to 30 minutes. It is a spiritual meditation which opens with a centering prayer suggested by Thomas Keating, a Benedictine, who wrote about Centering Prayer.
Breakfast follows with coffee and slice of bagel smothered with peanut butter. I read our local morning paper.
The following hour or two I read the books collected on my bedside table. Then I go to the internet for the eCourses I currently taking.
Tuesday night Mrs.Abstract attended a Valentine’s Day party in my Rotary Club.
Yesterday morning Mrs. Abstract and I went to church for the Ash Wednesday service and received the ashes on our forehead. It is a sign of change, repentance and preparation for Lent and symbol of life impermanence. In the evening I attended the meeting of our Napa Valley Writers. We had an open mike and bilingual poetry reading. Three students from our local high school read some of their poems. Napa Valley’s poet laureate read of his poems. I listened and didn’t read any poem. It was a lively and wonderful evening.
Today I just returned my walk to the river. It was sunny and 69.
In two hours I’ll be going to the library to attend a presentation by one of our local writer/photographer who will present and narrate with photos the story of the wildfire in October, 2017 that devastated Napa and especially Sonoma County with 245,00 acres of burned area, burned down 8,900 buildings & houses and 44 deaths.
note: Remember it’s also Ash Wednesday.
“I’m wearing googles and a face mask. Dad was super-bossy about what we had to bring with us-proper Arctic gear, Puggle-and now with the broken-glass air I’m glad.” (Her name is Ruby but her father calls her Puggle. She is 10 years old and deaf).
“I stop talking because I’m a fail, I’m frightened when I talk with my mouth-voice…It’s like I’m not there anymore. When I talk with my mouth-voice I disappear.”-Rosamond Lupton, Quality of Silence.
The book, Quality of Silence by Rosamond Lupton, is a thriller and a love story.
note: I look up puggle in the internet. Puggle is a baby echidna but baby platypus is also called puggle.
Other names for baby animals ,courtesy of:
Baby Hare: Leveret
Baby hawk: Eyas
Baby Jellyfish: Ephyra
A visitor roams an empty room
while a choir sings outside
Rain comes, everyone opens their parasols.
The visitor spreads her arms,
her hands separate the sheets of rain
and walks calmly through.
note: A fisherman has given the white heron bits of his fishbaits in the past. The bird returns unafraid and lets me take a photo. The acacias are in bloom.
Books I finished reading: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and Sourdough by Robin Sloan.
Books I’m reading: Emma by Jane Austen, Wonders Beyond Numbers, A Brief History of All Things Mathematical by Johnny Ball and Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli
Oblique longings of yellow and red pedalboats
green hills, blackbirds with red shoulders
pink blouse and black shirt
are not the end but a beginning
of Wednesday’s wanderings
Come before nature change her mind.
The winter tree blooming with birds
The birds praising the sun
An old man and I sitting on a bench
watching the river flows.
To walk through a storm
to hear two birds singing
a sense of peace afterwards
like a boat sitting in a clear stream in solitude
there was once a place
on the earth, in her soul,
a place where each step inward,
an expression of sweetness,
a communion with the divine
An abandoned ladder leaning on the side of a house
a bee loitering over picnic baskets
discoveries in a journal as early as five years ago
and one can penetrate “deeper and deeper
into the same ideas and the same experiences”
and find them new.
My grandmother sits rocking on a porch chair
watching people pass by:
a man slow in walking not from hunger
a woman hurrying not from worry.
Her seventieth birthday jolts her calm existence
spiritual hunger returns to her waking
Sunday church becomes regular than her heart
From the porch she fingers her prayer beads,
sitting quitely in silent incantation,
her cat looks on, stays, hardly any movement.
note: I walked along the river in the Riverfront Thursday afternoon enjoying the unusually warm 70’s weather and took these photos.
Books I’m reading: Sourdough by Robin Sloan and Emma by Jane Austen.