Mark Nepo is becoming my poet for the year.  I read him somewhat as I read scripture:  with a tender reverence that opens me to expectation of some simple transformation.  Thus when I rise from the reading I am not quite the same person as when I sat down to read.  On many a morning one of his poems becomes my choice for prayer.  I use his work for my hour of Lectio Divina and am almost always blessed.  His poems have soul.   The poem I prayed with this morning in particular was a kind of salve for my weariness.  It is entitled AN OPEN HAND and talks about how the mind isn’t a store house but rather a living room with windows and chairs…a place where friends can come and look out the window and discuss what they see and  it isn’t a fortress where we take away what others believe so that we can enshrine our own beliefs.

And to quote him directly, he says that the mind is:

More of a porch with bird feeders

             and coffee or tea/  where before

hello, you have to share a story.

Pull open the curtains! Open the

 windows! Brew the coffee!

                                                            Put  out a sign:

                                                                   Other views Wanted!




I don’t know about you but it sounds right to me.  In listening to others, you know, you don’t necessarily have to surrender your own views.  But listening makes all the difference in the world.  And sometimes when we listen, with our hearts, we do find ourselves surrendering, just a little, some of our iron clad ideas that we thought would never budge.  What is important is that we see one another and that we look out of the windows of our minds with an openness that allows us to be friends even if we don’t think exactly alike.

I’m not much into tattoos but if I were to get one I think I would have it on my back where no one could see it but I would know that it was there and it would serve as a reminder for me in those moments when I act as though I am the only one with a correct idea.  And of course it would say: OTHER VIEWS WANTED!  It would hurt I suppose, but it wouldn’t hurt as much as seeing ourselves so painfully divided.