Sunday, November 17, 2013


The heart wants what it wants.

No matter how many times I tell myself that just because I want something it doesn't mean I'm going to get it, that it's going to happen or that something's going to change, I still want it.

And when the wanting grows and the possibility of fulfilling that wanting simultaneously shrinks - like the thing I want is a runaway balloon drifting off into space - there's an aching involved. My first impulse is to cling, to squint my eyes and watch that runaway balloon - as if by seeing it, it still remains within my grasp, still remains possible for me to have and to hold.

If I'm not careful I can spend all my waking hours, all my precious energy focused on the runaway balloon that I can't have instead of engaging with all the goodness that's right in front of me.

When it's spelled out here - run after what I know is beyond my reach or hold close what's in my lap - the choice seems so simple, so easy. But what you can't read in words on a screen is all the turmoil the wanting arouses in my being. How I feel an almost frenetic impulse to chase, chase, chase because the wanting has a mind of its own.

Even when I feel like a runaway balloon myself, drifting, drifting further away from my center, my grounding, I still keep reaching, reaching for that thing I want. But for all my drifting, I never get closer to it. Runaway balloons don't catch each other.

Eventually all this drifting, reaching, grasping at straws leaves me worn out, exhausted. In my search for peace I must come down, down, down and quit looking up, up, up. I have to come inside, close the blinds, shut my eyes and with concerted effort redirect all that frenetic energy into quieting myself. It is not an easy task. But it is what I must do.

I've been watching a runaway balloon. It's far, far away, high up in the sky and it's not coming down. Not for all my watching, not for all my reaching, not for all my wanting. So I'm sitting in the candlelight, lamps dimmed low, and returning to what's right in front of me.


  1. Me, Valerie... Angela, I just read this meditation before reading your beautiful FOCUS. Thought it might bless you as you have blessed me.

    Staying Awake (meditation by Richard Rohr)

    Wisdom is a spirit, a friend to all. — Wisdom 1:6

    It is usually over time and with patience that we come to see the wonderful patterns of grace, which is why it takes most of us a long time to be converted. Our focus slowly moves from an initial preoccupation with perfect actions (“first half of life” issues), to naked presence itself. The code word for that is simply “prayer,” but it became cheapened by misuse.

    Jesus will often call prayer “vigilance,” “seeing,” or “being awake.” When you are aware and awakened, you will know for yourself all that you need to know. In fact, “stay awake” is the last thing Jesus says to the apostles—three or perhaps four times—before he is taken away to be killed (Matthew 26:38-45). Finally, continuing to find them asleep, he kindly but sadly says, “Sleep now and take your rest,” which might have been his resigned, forgiving statement to the church itself.

    It is not that we do not want to be awake, but very few teachers have actually told us how to do that in a very practical way. We call it the teaching of contemplation.

    1. Thank you for tracking with me, Val. You're a faithful friend.

  2. Great timing for me to read this Angela. Thank you for your generous writing.