Thursday, September 5, 2019

"all that I have written, seems like straw..."

"All that I have written,
seems like straw to me..."

- Thomas Aquinas

So begins Parker Palmer's essay, "Does my life have meaning?" -- which the blogsite,, excerpted as a post. If you have a moment, it is a wonderful read.

I love Parker J. Palmer's writing. And his recent collaboration with Carrie Newcomer has enriched my spiritual life greatly. Their pairing of prose and music feeds the soul. I hear it in their song,  "Abide."  It points to the fertile space of shared silence.

Now back to this post. There is something about Aquinas' statement:

"All that I have written
seems like straw to me."

that makes me feel lighter and breathe more easily. To know that what I have written doesn't have to stand for decades. That I don't have to say it perfectly. I only have to say it. This is so wonderful.

For too many years I thought I had to find my voice, leave a legacy, share a message. I don't. I only have to speak the truth. To live my life honestly. To write only what divine Love has put in my heart, and in my pen -- and then let it be. I don't have to explain it. I don't have to even understand it. I just have to trust its Source.

This is what maturity has taught me. Truth can't be owned. Love can't be possessed. Soul is impersonal. Spirit cannot be contained. There is no such thing as "my idea."

You might think this realization would be deflating -- on the contrary, I have never felt so buoyed. I don't have to concern myself with making it perfect. I get to watch it -- whatever "it" is -- find its purpose, audience, resonance, and evolution with a sweet sense of spiritual trust and detachment.

Yes, all that I have written does seem like straw. But not in a bad way. 

Not long ago my friend Bobby Lewis was sharing some ideas with a group of students about Jesus' parable of the tares and the wheat. In this beautiful message story we are told that, at the time of the harvest, the servants will bind the tares [straw-like weeds] into bundles to burn them.

I'd always thought that this meant that the tares were something bad to be destroyed. But Bobby reminded the class that in a desert culture, finding kindling to start a fire was near impossible. Dried tares, that had been bound in bundles, would be quite valuable for starting fires.

These days, that is how I think of the words that I write. For a  moment, some will find a hungry heart. But for the most part, they will serve as kindling for some new poet with a heart full of fresh fire.

I am good with this. It makes me happy. That is enough meaning for me.

offered with Love,


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