A Prayer to the Unflinching East

I’m letting Thomas Keating lead me through Lent this year with a collection of his meditations called Journey to the Center. Each day’s reading includes a prayer. “Deliriously Happy Light” began one of the prayers. “Deliriously” is an interestingly two iambed word, so, naturally, it began a sonnet. Keating’s work as a writer and community leader was to help people uncover and disarm their “emotional programs for happiness.” So, in his spirit, I took the happy light to the darker places in me where I needed it most. Nonjudgmental noticing of patterns in contemplation and reflection have yielded much fruit in my personal journey to the center. At my center, those emotional programs for happiness need to be displaced by the Deliriously Happy Light. This poem is a way for me, and maybe for you, dear reader, to acknowledge just how dark the darkness in us can be. But take heart! Brother John puts it this way,

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

1 John 1:5-10

I am easily deceived. Contemplation, poetry, and sharing the poetry with you (thanks for reading) helps me to walk in the light, that I might more purely experience fellowship with you and Jesus. Here’s the poem:

A Prayer to The Unflinching East 

for Thomas Keating 

Deliriously Happy Light, You burn 
In deepest canyons of darkness where the night 
Has rarely given way to dawn. I yearn 
To find You there where shadows gather might, 
Where dry creek beds can always swallow sound 
In sandy gulps, where crows abandon hope. 
For if I find you there I’ll know I’ve found 
Much more than just another way to cope. 
On sorrows long-borne deep within my bones, 
On marrow to which morrows never came, 
On years of eyes adjusting to alone, 
And dark pretender days that mock their name, 
I want that happy light to glow a truer start. 
Unflinching East, please break upon my heart. 

You can listen to me read it here

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