I’d forgotten author and guide Edward Hays. If anything, in this odd 40 day journey of authors with significance to me and my life story, I’m grateful to re-meet this wild holy man. His book, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim (1989) is dog-eared. For years, decades, I shared his poems and prayers on retreats, at meetings, and read them in my daily devotions. Edgy, his voice delivers wilderness and resonance of a wild, personal God. Nothing contained, confined, pedestrian, or predictable. No idea how old he would be by now (I found a 2001 J23 staff Christmas card tucked in the back of the book) I Google’d him, certain he had likely died. To my surprise, he has an active website and blog (he’s penned more than 35 books), and this welcome line on his website brought me a grin, “His age-odometer having already sped past 81, his friends were surprised upon hearing that he has begun this website, especially since he doesn’t even use e-mail!”
On Ash Wednesday, 2014, his blog post included,
“That old grim Lent is still alive and with us today in churches dominated by a large cross draped in a penitential purple cloth. There the clergy admonished the faithful to recall their former sinfulness, go to confession and do penance. Do you think God desires such a forty day guilt trip? Or shouldn’t its purpose be the same as that of life, only intensified: growth in love of God and one another? Kneeing in guilt begging contritely for pardon isn’t the stance of a lover. So open your heart and arms to God and instead of dredging up your old sins—forget them!” #YES
A bookmark guided me to a favored prayer about a God I believed in back then, and a God I can welcome now. I share it, pray it, desire to live it. It could be seven or eight years since I last opened this book, no matter. It is my prayer this night, concluding a day I spent writing and reading. This afternoon I downloaded a fabulous new Josh Groban CD, All That Echoes. Groban’s lyrics and voice boom through my home as I write tonight, and the God that Edward Hays knows by experience is so evocative. I know this God, and I have been, and always will be a planetary pilgrim. May A Psalm to the Wind of Heaven resonate with you. The book is 285 pages of gorgeous reflections such as this one. And he has 34 other books; many are also old friends and companions on the journey. #SoHappyToBeReaquainted. Peace my friends…
A Psalm To The Wind of Heaven
O wind that blows when and where it will,
teach me to reverence the Wind of Heaven.
O mover of tree tops and tall grasses,
you who are the servant of no other forces
open me up to the mysterious Breath of God.
O Divine Wind, blowing with the Spirit’s sweetness
through a chant-filled mosque in Arabia,
or causing a silent heart to dance
in a hidden hermit’s cave high in the Himalayas,
or caressing with compassion
an abandoned packing crate in an urban slum,
wherein sleeps a homeless drifter;
let me feel your loving touch.
Lift me up above my selfish interests,
spreading my concerns wider than myself.
Exhale a gale of your grace into me
and set me under full sail
as your servant of life and of love.
Remind me with your every movement
that history has shown clearly
how you are the private property of none,
how great and passionate movements
have lost touch with your breath of life
and so have become empty of their youthful zeal.
Wind of inspiration, Creative Spirit of God,
teach me not to forget
that you come always as gift.
Remind me always to be ready
to receive and romance and dance with joy
wherever and whenever you visit,
or risk that you may move on without me.
May I ever be sensitive to your gentle breezes
and willing to soar with your wild winds.
–Edward Hays, Prayers for A Planetary Pilgrim
I will be visiting this book in coming days and weeks.
Visit the website of Edward Hays; perhaps he will speak to your spirit and soul too!
Ponder: Are you willing to accept and allow love to dance into your life like a gentle breeze, or a wild wind?