Advent Surprise

Surprise  by Kaze

     In spite of my pettiness, In spite of being judgmental, of trying to direct the conversation, of making assumptions, something slips through the side door, something of goodness, of future options, of fruitful possibility.  It’s not my doing.  I don’t understand the mechanism but somehow, some thing good can evolve without my direction. Surprise!

     I watch a huddled figure in a blanket. I can see a covered head and shoes. Quietly I put a pair of socks, a snack and a blanket over him.  He wakes up.

     “Hi,” he says.  He sits up and sees the stuff. He fingers  the socks,  wraps his blanket around him and eats his energy bar. “I didn’t expect this.  I didn’t expect nothing today. This is a surprise. Thank you. This is really good. “ He pulls his socks on.

     As I leave, he shouts out “God Bless You.”

     It was brief. But we connected. For an instant, we felt kinship and a common need. We felt blessed by each other.  I don’t get why and how it happens. It just does.

Thus goes Advent.

 

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Empty by Kaze

Empty   by Kaze Gadway

     As I watch one little girl ask for some more food, she asks me “Why did my Daddy leave us?” I froze up. I had nothing to offer. I had no wisdom, no platitudes, no advice. I wanted to fix her pain. Instead, I had to live with my emptiness. I didn’t understand until my friend Priscilla H. Wilson and I studied the Beatitudes from a personal point of view.

     I share this one  with you this Advent.

 Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

We sometimes experience a spirit absence when we have nothing left to give. We may feel overwhelmed and empty. Or someone asks for wisdom and we have nothing to offer. But it doesn’t last. Someone is kind to us or we see something beautiful and we are refilled. This comes from our encounter with others and from unexpected insights that dwell deep within, aka the Grace of God.

This poem came from our discussion.

Empty

Blank, nothing, drained

A homeless perdon asks a question.

My body stills, my mouth freezes.

Nothing works.

I have no wisdom, platitudes, questions, witty reply.

I am empty inside.

A bit of frustration and despair

But mainly a spirit absence.

This happens.

Then like a hesitant sunrise,

A light emerges from gray clouds.

I’m okay being empty.

It won’t last.

I’m content with this time of waiting.

I fill up one piece at a time

As I grow inside.

Until I feel empty again.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for we will see the kingdom of heaven.

 

Not About Getting by Kaze

Not about Getting   by Kaze

Walking through a park, Greg comments, “I don’t think the jobs will ever come back.”

“I agree,” I say. “I don’t believe that companies will hire people back since they have discovered that they can do with less.  Few want to get trapped into that ‘more is better.’”

“We are not going to do as much for Christmas this year but I think it is better,” says Jeremy with two younger siblings. “We are planning more together on what we can do to have it more cheerful and it just feels better.”

Jay sighs, “I wish I had known this was coming. There are a lot of things I would have liked to have before everyone lost their job.

Arron mockingly says, “So get a job and earn it.”

“I did,” he protests. “I’m a dishwasher on weekends now.  I just didn’t realize how much you have to save to get things.”

Bobbie says, “I used to envy my cousin on the Rez. He was in a gang and had his own laptop, and mp3 player and video games. He had everything.  Then he hung himself. No one knew he was so down on himself. I hated being at the funeral.  His dad kept saying he had everything he wanted.  It was sad.”

We were all quiet.

“What do you think he didn’t have that drove him to this step?” I ask.

More silence.

“He wanted people to respect him, to like him but everyone just liked his things,” his cousin says sadly. “We have a lot more fun just being together and doing things even when we can’t spend a lot of money on food.”

“How does this help you grow inside??” I ask.

“I knew you were going to ask that,” crows Jacob. “And I have an answer.”

We all laugh.

He continues, “The people I respect are the ones who get a job and move out on their own, handle their own problems and buy things from their own money.  But you have to start with respect for yourself to even try for a job.  I know because I put it off for a long time, waiting until I felt I was good enough to stand up for myself. All this talk that we share where we knew something holy has come to us in jail or on the roof or wherever, it’s true.”

 Katy contributes to this, “This is one reason I like to talk about the Christmas story. I appreciate the metaphor that God does walk with us. He paid attention to shepherds and common people, like us. I like going to places where we say ‘this is holy ground.” It gives me, I don’t know what, a kind of satisfaction that I belong.”

“So this park is Holy Ground because we are talking about God being with us,” says George.

We laugh as we look around at the snow and deserted landscape.

“Yeah,” I say. “I think so.”

Happy Advent!  Look for the Holy.  It’s everywhere.

 

Something Good Comes

Something Good Comes.   Kaze

     Every year I ask the question of what I am expecting from Christmas. . When I was younger (like in my 20’s) I was sure that exploration would bring me many riches (and it did, just not money.). Now in my 7th decade I am more open ended in my thinking. I look for and find riches in experiences, including my interactions with the 2 legged, 4 legged, things that swim, fly or just sit there on Mother Earth. Lately that has been with oceans and people on the street.

     I don’t know what will come that announces good news but I have never been let down. If I look for something good, something good comes. This is not about the psychological level. I know that when I am open to the holy, then something sacred comes.

      I told this to a group of young Native girls and Natalie jumps us. “That has happened to me. I remember when my boyfriend beat me up and I spent a year always thinking that the worse would happen and it did. I saw bad things in whatever happened to me. My window broke, my shoe got a hole in it, my laundry turned red when I left a red blouse in my whites–everything turned out bad.”

     After we stopped laughing, she continued, “Then we said something in youth group about acting as if with our dreams. I started acting as if good things would happen rather than bad. It worked. I know that sometimes things happen that are hurtful but I don’t feel cursed by it. I looked for good things to happen and I met the nicest people at the grocery store when before I would have dismissed them. I noticed that I found good things inside myself that I didn’t know, like I could talk with homeless people without fear. I even found myself smiling more. So I like expecting something good during Advent.”

     Several of the girls look down at their hands as though they are thinking very deeply.

     Happy Advent. Expect something good.

Journey by Kaze

Third Day

Journey   by Kaze

It is the third day of Advent. I lit the purple candle and the sage to breathe in something awesome. I have a big box for my advent calendar. There is a symbolic object in each box. For yesterday, I found a tiny sandal that I bought in Avila as a memory of St. Theresa of Avila. In my journal I wrote how my journey has changed with age. I can’t tolerate clutter as much. In my journey toward death which we are all taking, I am letting go more and enjoy finding out more about people I encounter.
My bias seems to be revealed more—the bias of being dismissive. I look at those buying everything in sight with lots of money and I see only trivial lives. Because I work with the poor I discover that I judge those who have more and waste more. So I watch for more light to respect those that I have dismissed. This is not an easy task. It is a good thing that I have friends with money who have a well spring of compassion and are dedicated to support those in need.

This advent I want to be awake to the preciousness of every person

Journey by Kaze

Third Day

Journey   by Kaze

It is the third day of Advent. I lit the purple candle and the sage to breathe in something awesome. I have a big box for my advent calendar. There is a symbolic object in each box. For yesterday, I found a tiny sandal that I bought in Avila as a memory of St. Theresa of Avila. In my journal I wrote how my journey has changed with age. I can’t tolerate clutter as much. In my journey toward death which we are all taking, I am letting go more and enjoy finding out more about people I encounter.


My bias seems to be revealed more—the bias of being dismissive. I look at those buying everything in sight with lots of money and I see only trivial lives. Because I work with the poor I discover that I judge those who have more and waste more. So I watch for more light to respect those that I have dismissed. This is not an easy task. It is a good thing that I have friends with money who have a well spring of compassion and are dedicated to support those in need.

This advent I want to be awake to the preciousness of every person.

Advent Expect Big

Advent Begins   by Kaze Gadway

    I love Advent. Sunday, I put out my Nativity sets from around the world. I light the first purple candle with the appropriate collect. I read Richard Rohr’s Advent meditation for the day. I write in my journal. I meditate, contemplate and pray. I explore new metaphors and I play all my favorite music. I put up as many sparkling lights as I have wall space. I love it all.

     This season begins with the activity of expectation—not the expectation of things going my way or things getting better. No. Advent participates in expecting wholeness both within each of us and in our broken society.

     It works like this. We dwell in a place where both superficial and striving happens. Sometimes we reduce our living to surviving in a corner that often seems hostile and grasping.

     Advent takes us to a different space. We take a position of entering a dimension that brings light and joy to our corner. We discover that spirituality happens when we allow this eternal dimension to claim us in our everyday world.

     I ask some women on the street what they expect at Christmas. Ariel says “Nothing much. I hope that people will be kinder. Maybe give me something warm to wear, like a scarf. Lots of Churches and other people hand out food at Christmas time. Some give us things out of their closet. I don’t care. Even if it is just once a year, I like people making an effort. Maybe I expect too much.

     This is heartbreaking. And yet, although they don’t know about the season of Advent but they do know how to be glad for the small things.

      I enjoy spending some time on the streets during Advent, enjoying the company of those who have been stripped down to what is essential.    My expectations this Advent involve waking up to these days as new days and not just other days.