St. Francis of Assisi left his wealth behind for a different way of living. This is particularly poignant to me because he established the order of the Franciscans, the namesake of San Francisco. I too left a life that promised wealth and security to move to San Francisco and follow my passions.
Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received–only what you have given.
Francis of Assisi
I’ve always loved this passage:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assisi
And I came across this new one today, which the last two funerals I’ve gone to have been helping me take to heart. It’s been a process coming back to my joy:
It is the devil’s greatest triumph when he can deprive us of the joy of the Spirit. He carries fine dust with him in little boxes and scatters it through the cracks in our conscience in order to dim the soul’s pure impulses and its luster. But the joy that fills the heart of the spiritual person destroys the deadly poison of the serpent. But if any are gloomy and think that they are abandoned in their sorrow, gloominess will continuously tear at them or else they will waste away in empty diversions. When gloominess takes root, evil grows. If it is not dissolved by tears, permanent damage is done.
St. Francis of Assisi
Another late night over the Grapevine
Returning low-eyed from Bakersfield
Wondering if the country
Will stop corruption
Or just give in to the man of action
The coffee from Chili’s was just not good
But we all left satisfied
Feeling full yet gnaws the hunger
Of dreams just out of reach
Lana Del Rey crooning sweetly
Still loving men who disappoint us
Imagine being rooted in art
Generations of support for the craft and sacrifices
Imagine being grounded in anything
Does the grounding feel like a steadyness?
Like a destiny?
Does it smell like life and feed your hunger?
Is it a heavy anchor?
Or is it shackles and chains on all limbs,
Restricting all movement?
She was rooted in religious control. He was rooted in cruelty.
I flew away, tearing my roots. Feeling my uprootedness.
Finding new ground, wherever my heart lands.
Slowed way down
Agreed to stop standing in bathrooms
Running toward parked cars
Happy to sit
Happy to work
Happy to take a backseat
What am I learning?
Turns out I’m not dropping my gifts
Just disappointing the large audience
Or learning not to
Not willing to be parted from my babies
They deserve at least that
In this world of busyness
All the disdainful distractions from what matters
Why bother breathing if you can’t share all the love in your heart?
No more laboring to feed the rich
My soul cries for more
A dark and wintry melody
Sung alone with a guitar
Cracked my heart open tonight
The shimmering of fresh snow
From golden street lamps between shadows
Underneath a black empty sky
I am small, sprinting barefoot across campus
Holding my stilettos
Drunk and foolish
Running with a new friend I’ll never see again
to catch a midnight movie in time
How vast the night skies, all of them
How fruitless her hills, I went hungry sometimes
The nagging feeling there was going to be nothing here for me.
I cannot stay.
How far away from that time I feel now.
Novels have been written.
I cry for the trials I would face.
How much life would change me
Remembering the hunger that looked like drive
To those near enough to witness.
Many have traveled much farther
Crossing dark oceans with hope in their heart.
How strange and beautiful is this life?
How grateful am I to finally have a companion.
But tonight I feel her loneliness
I feel her emptiness, her placelessness
I feel the cold snow stinging and numbing my feet
And the alcohol warming my heart
For the long and difficult road ahead.
The winds are whipping around tonight
Like mad little goblins
Just when I’m maximum spooked
The enormous, graceful koi fish
Makes an appearance again
It’s my sign to:
A capitalist’s wet dream
Flooded American living rooms
Not a dry eye anywhere
But it seemed a little too perfect to me
Wait, wait, wait
Am I being seduced?
To what am I faithful?
Do you all need seduction?
And what if I refuse?
Can you imagine
How much suffering evolution required?
The gasping of gills choking on light air
The pain of rocks against
Soft foot flesh
The stretching of lungs too tight for thin mountain air
The number of children you had to watch die
What pain was endured to arrive at this
Halcyon moment of comfort and balance
And we take it all for granted
Until we can’t breathe freely again.
How do we make room for miracles?
The door of possibilities cracked open
Light floods in
Billions of opportunities
Too many colors to consider
Dazzled and frazzled
How to know which wavelength is yours?
This little light of mine
And for who
a motionless falling backward
into the dark abyss from which
all life emerges
for obliteration, surrender
from the buried seed of my silent mind
I will choose my nourishment
like baby green sprouts
bursting toward the surface for light
and exchange of gases
I will form myself again