Monday Morning Mary: This Too Shall Bless

Tiny Steeple Big Sky

Tiny Steeple, Big Sky

This Too Shall Bless

What is in your dominant hand?
A keyboard, an apple,
A set of prayer beads?

Travel up your arm, your neck,
into the wiry treetop that is your brain.
Is there a hyper monkey hopping
branch to branch, upset
and upsetting?

Whatever the monkey says,
you can say,
This too shall bless.

This too shall bless
you or someone else
or both of you.
It is not for you to decide who gets blessed
by your suffering or how.
It is not for you to see the blessing
or know it has taken place.

If you can say in adversity,
This too shall bless
you open the window of possibility
through which you may recognize
that in this, this terrible thing,
there just might be a purpose.

Gaze out that window.
As surely as the sun is gilding the earth,
someone is healing.

William Adolph Bourguereaux

painting by William Adolph Bouguereaux

Admiring the Clouds

A few weeks ago, I did a “mind sweep,” speed-writing a to-do list as long as a roll of toilet paper that included every imaginable thing that I need to do or want to do, from simple tasks to complex projects. Mixed right in there with “scan a million non-digital photos” and “schedule dentist appointment”, I typed, “Admire the clouds.”

Tonight, I’m doing exactly that. The sky is dressed in mammatus clouds lit by the setting sun.

I love the sky. This afternoon’s perfect, uninterrupted blue was startling in its post-storm clarity. Now the evening’s white fluff balls are turning silver, and will soon darken to pewter as the sun drops from sight.

Staring at clouds makes me want to do something, to respond in some way. As wonderful as this is, and as many times as I’ve waved my arms and twirled in a field where I’ve hoped no one can see me, admiring is more than that. It’s the split second when I first notice something wonderful in the sky. It’s the instant before my reflexive smile or “wow,” before the words roll in to dissect the scene into silver, white, stratus, cumulus, dog bone, feather.

Most of the stuff on my mind sweep is the typical life stuff that makes me feel “productive” when I can check something off as complete.  So how did “Admiring the clouds” get on my list of things to do? While typing out the list at a maddening clip, I paused for a split second and spotted something incredible outside my window.