The Sacred Among Us

April 22, 2024

To contemplate again on national poetry month, I turn to the words of Father Richard Rohr. “We first need to experience ‘a lump in the throat’ to have encountered the sacred. The sacred is something that inspires awe and wonder, something that makes us cry, something that gives us the lump in the throat. We must first encounter the sacred in the concrete and kneel before it there, because we can’t start with the universal.” He writes this in response to his reflections on art and contemplation. This particular writing was on the connection between poetry and spiritual contemplation.

I think about our religious traditions and all of the beautiful poetry they have given us. Rumi’s poems, the Psalms, the many many haiku that I’ve read by the Buddhist masters and struggling students, then there are so many many prayers. Questions, laments, comfort, awe and wonder all expressed in poetry offered up for us to ponder. It gives us the opportunity to consider the sacred that is around us at all times.

It seems to me that especially those times when the encounter is so fleeting, we cannot truly understand it until some time has passed. It is for these times a poem gives us the opportunity to return to the encounter in order to better see the sacred in our midst. Again I lean on the wisdom of Father Richard Rohr, “My final theological conclusion is that there’s only one world and that it’s all sacred.”

Your Choice

This day - this day at the end of March
Warm and sunny
Days growing longer
So many possibilities for choices on a day such as this
“Ma’am,” he says softly,
“Yes,” I say
Gravity pulls
And yet, the buoyant light shines through his hair
Amber flecks in espresso eyes
Splash of tangerine freckles betray his youth
“We’re hungry.”
Scuffing feet, nod to younger brother
Head bowed low, eyes cast up hopeful

“You can buy us food or give us money,
anything, Your choice”

My choice, my choice, my choice
My son, I see my son
Amber flecks in espresso eyes
Splash of freckles

My choice is to take you home,
Send you to school
Listen to you trash talk your teammates

Sickened by my own weakness
I pull out the 26 dollars that I have
The sun begins to sink in the western sky