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There is a certain slant of light 
that plays here in the park
before the summer fades to dark.
It dances up along the trees, and 
leaves its gold upon the leaves
and is gone in the dusky shade of night.
The city blocks out all the stars
and it's dark in all the bars. 
Fireflies seldom come to parks,
and so, I head for home.
I light candles in my room
and sing anthems to the moon
and weep for men in jail.
There is a hustler on the street
in dirty jeans and dirty feet
and matted hair and sweaty arms
and empty belly and lethal charms
and he's going to the park
in the early summer dark
and is gone in the dusky shade of night.

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

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"We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

Let the river run.
Let all the dreamers
wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Silver cities rise,
the morning lights 
the streets that lead them 
and sirens call them on with a song.

It's asking for the taking,
trembling, shaking,
Oh, my heart is aching

We're coming to the edge, 
running on the water,
coming through the fog
your sons and daughters.

We, the great and small, stand on a star
and blaze a trail of desire
through the darkling dawn.

It's asking for the taking.
Come run with me now,
the sky is the color of blue 
you've never even seen
in the eyes of your lover.

Oh, my heart is aching.
We're coming to the edge
running on the water
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
let all the dreamers
wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem."

                                           Carley Simon

I believe this should be the anthem of the America we have not been.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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I live in Saint Matthew's Shelter for Men, a small ten-bed shelter in the basement of a church in downtown Chattanooga. The men here come and go. Some stay a few days...some a few weeks...some for months. They are required to be homeless, obviously, but also in a program of some sort of recovery. Most men have addictions, many have a mental health diagnosis, some are in job training programs, coming out of prison, some have HIV/AIDS. All of them are broken in some way, and haunted. They are dealing with anger, loss, sorrow and are usually bewildered by life. They have these huge, gaping wounds that bleed. So, here we are at the business of healing. 

A very wise man once told me that if we are to heal the world we had better begin to heal ourselves. So, it is no wonder that every day I learn more about myself than anything else. 

I am fifty-two years old. I am a Gregorian monk, living and working among the homeless people of this city. I see things you would not believe. I never dreamed the world could be so brutal. I never imagined that God's grace could be so beautiful. 

I go to the YMCA to swim and soak and steam. One morning, I was sitting in the steam room with a group of other older, fat, bald guys. There was a young, very handsome, very well-endowed, very stunning hunka-hunka-burnin'-love in the steam room with us. When he stood to leave, he announced that he was going to work out for a while. One of my old, fat friends said: "Good for you, son. Just keep at it, and some day you will look just like us!"

I have grown very content in my own skin. I have somehow misplaced my vanity. I am happy now to pray and meditate and to live my little life serving those who have nothing. I have no agenda. My ambitions in this world have faded into a holy silence. Thanks be to God. I am like the pilgrim on the road carrying an ember which does not warm nor burn me. I have no need to be right anymore. What you think of me is none of my business.

There is only this great and terrible love. I spend it every day...or attempt to. Some simply throw it into the streets. But, what of that? There is always more love to give, and in the end, no love is wasted. 

Our Brotherhood takes the motto of Saint Gregory: Soli Deo Gloria. To God alone the glory. I take it that the glory does not belong to presidents or queens or armies or Miss Gay Universe or even to vice-president Dick. But, I do see God's glory in the darkness of these early mornings, when the men wake from sleep like puppies, and drink coffee and talk in such quiet voices. God dances here.

Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Joni Mitchell

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I am amazed by my friend, David. He is so open and willing to share his life in his journal...his generosity of spirit is truly a gift. And, he is a fine and expressive writer. I would love to have even a teaspoon of his talent with language.
This is a discipline I will have to learn. I have always been open in a closed room, meaning that it is easy to open up in a closed one-on-one enviroment. But, in this venue, I am opening myself to the world and this can be a very scary thing to do. It's like the old schoolboy fear of being naked in the locker room. Dropping my drawers has always been a frightful proposition...well, not in the privite-let's-get-naked-and-do-it sense. But, in the open arena, I am always holding back. David will be good for me...is good for me...in that he is teaching me to drop my fig leaf and just put it out there. So, hello world....

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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So...I enter the world of electric nakedness. 
The facts are these: My name is Br. Ron. I am a Gregorian monk. I live in St. Matthew's Shelter for Men and work on the streets of Chattanooga, Tennessee among the homeless. My work is stinky, sweaty and scary, but grace-filled and blessed with the tangible presence of a living Christ.
I was born in Asheville, North Carolina on an October morning in the last century, the product of Scot and Cherokee lineage. My people are mountain people, in the true Southern Appalachian sense. 
My new friend David brought me here...I only wanted to read his journal, and now I am sitting here like a schoolboy, wondering why in the world anyone would want to read anything about my life...and what exactly to say. In such a quandary, I find it wise to simply be still and to listen. 
When God called for a prophet, Isaiah said simply: "Here I am."

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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