Blessing for Wilderness

Blessing for Wilderness (c) Gail Doktor

This blessing grows
In the thicket of thorny cane
Around which you bend and step
Caught on its prickers
So the scratch hurts

The berry sweetness
Ripe and red beneath the serrated green leaf
Bursts brighter on your tongue
Rolls throbbing through your hesitant fingers
Breaks on the ground
Smacks in the mouth
Hard-won among tall grass, lush fern, fallen birch, rotting logs, and working bees,

The wild richness flourishes
In the trampled bowl
You guess was as recently as a few hours ago
A deer’s breakfast, a bear’s luncheon,
Flattened like a nest
Trampled down among arching branches

Here is the heart
Of pain and succulence
You find along the narrow animal trail
You mistook for a human path
Overwhelmed by the scratchy maps
It leaves on your exposed skin as you pass through

As you suck on the just-turned crimson  plunder
In the wake of those first missteps
Off known routes and maps
Coming to a place that is
For just now
Yours alone

You linger
Gather up, gather in
Until you cannot bear to feast anymore
Unless you return with someone else
Offering unexpected bounty

Yet who will follow you
Past all markers into the unknown
For a handful of summer sweetness
And a temporary set of scars
And a blessing stained
Across empty, cupped palms?

Lent Word #4: Reward


As if I did something
To earn this
Whatever is being given to me

As if you did something
To deserve what you are receiving
Payback for whatever came before

As if
We cannot give it away
Soon enough
This consequence
This result
This outcome
This punishment
This grace
This reward

In the time it’s mine
I cannot ignore the weight
How this burden takes both hands to hold
How the heart cannot bear it up
Except with clenched teeth and tightened jaw
And a conscious lifting of shoulders
Shrugging upward with the whole self
Hefting it away from the ground
Before I pass it along again

Though I wish I could just drop it
Rather than putting it into someone else’s keeping
But maybe to put it down
Would create more wear and tear
Than continuing to carry it
And sharing it hand to hand

Lent Word #3: Transgression


  • Video ‘Teaching to Transgress’ with Bell Hooks:
  • Reflection in poetry on Lenten Word Transgressions:Transgressions by Gail Doktor (c) 2/17
    On the way
    Why shouldn’t the first word
    Be the one that means to travel
    To cross overBoundaries

    I stop at trans-
    Trans   port
    Trans   late
    Trans   scend

    And as for –gressions
    Re   gressions
    Ag   gressions

    I want to subtract and change
    The syllables to something else
    More beautiful than itself
    And yet itself
    In part and whole
    Makes it
    What it is
    Whatever that may be

    And even in this
    Crossing over becomes
    Different for me
    Than for you
    Or for us

    Becomes other
    Becomes else
    Beyond the original
    After all

    On the way from
    En route to
    Crossing through
    Trans-  and  -gression

    © Gail Doktor 2/17


Journeyz: Reflections on Body, Mind & Spirit

Hey all, I’m starting 365 days of reflections on our human pilgrimage through life. Meditating on encounters from daily walks through home and work and points between, I’m musing about bodily, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual journeys in this world.

#journeyz #spiritualwalk #pilgrimage #bodymindspirit

Lent Day 19: COME

feb28_comeThe word that surfaced in several passages today is COME.

We can hear this as an invitation, as it is used in the Psalms. Its sounds like a welcome, a beckoning, a chance to draw closer to God and benefit from the bounty of God’s goodness.

Such an invitation suggests that we are returning. It implies that we have traveled elsewhere, and we are invited to a homecoming. Whether metaphorical or literal, the idea of being parted from a beloved one, and invited to COME back, speaks to most of us. We are all moving to or away from something in our lives. We have probably all been lost or wandered, parted from the integrity of our best selves, from healthy connections to others, from the wellbeing of the world, or from meaningful bonds to Godself.

The theme of Biblical stories encompasses the journeys of God’s people. God’s love is a movement of creating us, making a home for us, letting us go out into the world, encountering us repeatedly along the way, and welcoming us back again and again into deeper relationship in spite of ourselves (ie, homecoming). We may enjoy a respite in a place of sanctuary, such as a garden or a promised land, only to go out into the wider world again, and then have adventures and misadventures, and struggle back toward that place of peace, healing and mercy.

On the other hand, if what COMES is something that happens to us, instead of due to our choice, it can be threatening and risky, or it might be exhilarating. Such is the usage of COME in the letter from Paul to Corinth … as he talked about the arrival of the end of the age, whether people are ready or not. In this case, things come toward us or come at us, and we are cautioned to be vigilant and ready to handle them. If we don’t have the opportunity to prepare, which happens to many of us, then perhaps we turn to God to find ways to respond to the events or circumstances that have come upon us.

Finally, we have the complaint of a fruit tree’s owner, who returns again and again, COMING by to get what he expects from his non-producing tree, then threatening to cut it down. The gardener pleads for redemption, and a chance to spend more time, at least another season, to nurture the tree and coax it to bear fruit. In my reading, we are the trees in need of patience and compassionate care, and the gardener is Christ, tending us with God’s redemptive love.

COME toward the love of the gardener in the garden. The choice to return is always ours to make, but the invitation from God is offered again and again.

Excerpts from today’s lectionary readings:

  • Psalm 55: 1 –Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.
  • Psalm 55: 3 — Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
  • 1 Corinthians 10: 11b — And they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
  • Luke 13:7 –So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree.”