REJECT ANYTHING THAT DISTRACTS YOU FROM GOD
'REJECT ANYTHING THAT DISTRACTS YOU
FROM SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD'
Richard Foster says, entering my house
under the arm of my new friend,
the old missionary from Puerto Piñasco,
Rocky Point, in the Baja, where he lives
with his young wife in a barrio with no water.
Foster adds one more, 'Reject anything
that breeds the oppression of others.'
Granddaughters in the back yard.
Cousins. Sammie says to Dheezus,
"We can create anything."
Washing their dolls' hair in the fountain
with Grandma's shampoo, stopping the flow
of water in rock. Van Morrison sings,
'Turn it up, so you know it's got soul.'--
the year is 1973. The year is all these things.
Turn it up. This is a new testament.
Walk the early morning garden.
Looking into each tree. Wonder moments.
Each tree breathing for us all, a small part.
Tolstoy bets his life on the Kingdom of God.
Shekinah of the heart. Holy expectancy.
The old missionary tells how it is,
sharing water. 'The first water goes
to tourists in condominiums. Time share
condos hire the people. At night I drop
a hose into a buried bucket catching drips.
See what I collect by morning. All drinking
water must be purchased. If a family member
has a garbage can he might share
half his can with his cuñado. It's bucket
by bucket. His wife, su esposa, works
in the soup kitchen for the poor, those coming
through from Honduras by train
on their way north. No hay tierra
pero estamos mostrando como
hacer el compost. Solamente tenemos
arena desde el mar. Usamos la basura
combinando con la arena. Ahora, la gente
pueden plantar tomate y pepino
en un jardín pequeño. The recién casados
are here to see Karen, exploring La Casa Hogar,
and programs in child care, citizenship classes,
and ESL. English. It's Saturday morning,
2016, and La Casa staff members
have collected 750 mochilas for the children
to carry books in the new school year. Backpacks
are part of this culture's uniform, legacy
of the 1960s. I'll be here grilling chicken
for the celebration meal. Children pay
one dollar, an investment in themselves,
for their new mochilas, treasure chest and shield.
Trees in our yard have water, provide shade.
Richard Foster sits on the kitchen table,
his first book left for me. 'What we have is not
the result of our labor, but of the gracious care of God...
we know that the lock on the door
is not what protects this house.' I have prepared
a marinade of lime and cilantro for the chicken.
Zest from two limes, juice from the limes, garlic,
salt and pepper. A pinch of sugar and cilantro
by the handful. A morning of meditation.
Foster opens the door to Frank Laubach
in the Philippians, some ten years after Tolstoy
crosses. Laubach tries for the constant presence
of God. a poetry far more beautiful. God talking
to him on Signal Hill for a full thirty minutes.
He wanted a dictaphone. He didn't get it, '...and now
I cannot. Why, someone may ask, did God waste
His poetry on you alone, when you could not
carry it home? You will have to ask God that question.'
How does one listen? Ask God for what to be said?
As I cut vegetables for the salad, I'm listening
to radiopod sent by my son who lives on a mountain.
Two scientists on hands and knees examine
tree roots. From tree to shining tree. 'Oldest trees
are the most connected. Fungal tubes create a web
system in tree roots. Tubes carry water and nutrients
to tree. Tree has sugar fungus needs. Tree roots
aren't very good at this.' Tolstoy asked,
'Who could be said to own these trees?'
For Tolstoy, the shortest way to truth
was long and indirect. Making it strange
so that it might arrive fresh. This is child's play,
music coming from the leaves of trees.
10 August 2016