The year begins with war. Our bombs fall day and night, Hour after hour, by death Abroad appeasing wrath, Folly, and greed at home. Upon our giddy tower We’d oversway the world. Our hate comes down to kill Those whom we do not see, For we have given up Our sight to those in power And to machines, and now Are blind to all the world. This is a nation where No lovely thing can last. We trample, gouge, and blast; The people leave the land; The land flows to the sea. Fine men and women die, The fine old houses fall, The fine old trees come down: Highway and shopping mall Still guarantee the right And liberty to be A peaceful murderer, A murderous worshipper, A slender glutton, or A healthy whore. Forgiving No enemy, forgiven By none, we live the death Of liberty become What we have feared to be.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say,therewe have been: but I cannot say where. And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. The inner freedom from the practical desire, The release from action and suffering, release from the inner And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving, Erhebungwithout motion, concentration Without elimination, both a new world And the old made explicit, understood In the completion of its partial ecstasy, The resolution of its partial horror. Yet the enchainment of past and future Woven in the weakness of the changing body, Protects mankind from heaven and damnation Which flesh cannot endure. Time past and time future Allow but a little consciousness. To be conscious is not to be in time But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden, The moment in the arbour where the rain beat, The moment in the draughty church at smokefall Be remembered; involved with past and future. Only through time time is conquered.
Back in the late nineties I remember sitting at a table
outside in our back yard pouring over two programs of study leading to two
different Masters degrees. One was the counseling degree being offered at
Trinity Western and the other, the Christian Studies degree being offered at
Regent College, where my focus would be courses in spiritual
formation/spiritual theology. I still vividly remember how alive my heart would
feel when I looked at the courses on spiritual formation. I knew which
university I was meant to apply to and what a rich experience that wound up
being. I had the opportunity to sit in on lectures taught by Jim Houston,
Eugene Peterson, Bruce Hindmarsh, three people who held the chair of Spiritual
Theology at different points in the history of Regent College. It is also a way
of hinting at just how long it took to complete the degree along with marriage
and family commitments, raising two very lively children and my involvement
with our church community.
Around the same time, from my ongoing connection with my
spiritual director, Steve Imbach, I realized that my true heart vocation was in
spiritual direction and Steve agreed to take me on as his apprentice. This was before
Soulstream, an organization that Steve founded, even began to officially offer
classes in spiritual formation and spiritual direction.