Religion, Spirituality

Dear God (aka Of Squirrels and Trust)

In the interest of growing a friendship between little Mikey and her higher power, Gran used to encourage the child to reach out whenever the thought occurred.

Mikey was a big letter writer. Perhaps that came from living so far from all of the folks she knew and loved, back in the day before cell phones and computers, back in the day when long-distance meant three-minute phone calls only. So when Mikey had a thought or an idea, she’d share it the old-fashioned way — in words, on paper.

One day, her letter (with a little spell check) read…

Dear God,

How are you? I am fine. My birthday is Halloween. When is your birthday? I will be 6. I can feed Snoopy all by myself and I am almost as tall as Candy (that’s my best friend and she is from Massachusetts and she wears neat shoes). I like pumpkins. Do you like pumpkins? Check yes ___ or no ___. Yesterday I watched a momma squirrel carry her big baby to another tree. It held on around her neck. Gran said it trusted her. Even though it was big enough to run all by itself – it was almost as big as she was! Gran told me some people do that, but it doesn’t work very well. She said the best Moms and dads teach their kids to stand on their own two feet and run by themselves. Not to make Mom and Dad carry them everywhere. That would be very hard for kickball. Plus she said it just makes everybody tired and worn out and cranky and makes the babies have legs like spaghetti. I like Spaghetti. With butter. Not tomatoes. Do you like spaghetti? Check yes ___ or no ___. I think that’s how it’s s’posed to be with you. Everybody says Trust God. But if everyone waited for you to carry us around like that big baby squirrel, your neck would have to get awfully tired, and sooner or later, I think you would just get plain old tired of it. Don’t you have other stuff to do? OK, I have to go do chores. Write me back.

I love you (do you love me? Check yes ___ or no ___)


P.S. Mom said when I am 7 I can turn on the stove and make biscuits all by myself. Will you help me stir?

And there you have it. A child’s thoughts on God and trust and squirrels and how those all fit together.

Was little Mikey right with all her thoughts? Who knows. I certainly don’t.

But I have to admit, something about this feels right. And Gran and Mikey seemed to know an awful lot about other things as well — things that have proven true over the years.

Just for today, I think I’ll run with this idea. How about you?

(C) 2017 Mary Batson,
All rights reserved, including the one to feed the squirrels

Cosmology, Mysticism, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

WANTED: The Divine (Perfectionists need not apply)

Not sure what got me to thinking along this line on the way to work the other day, but all of a sudden it hit me – how unfair we are to the divine in our lives. We expect perfection of it. No – we demand perfection of it. And then we set out to specify exactly what that means. We tell it what we want, and when we want it. We ask on our knees, but with strings attached, and all kinds of expectations in our eyes. We speak words of love, then forget them when we don’t get our way. Things just happen – and we strike out in pain against the One we have decided must be behind it all. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Winter 2014-2015 Milwaukee trip 186

Indiana Sand Dunes, Lake Michigan, February 2015

But is that really true? Even if there IS a One, what makes me think S/he/it is causing any of this? What if I’m causing it all myself, and just looking for some convenient scapegoat to blame, like we do in every other area of our lives?

We demand God love us unconditionally, the love we’ve never found on Earth. And yet, we don’t return the favor. If I speak to you, you better speak back. If I give you a gift, I’ll demand one in return. And if I love you – if I DARE to love you – you better be willing to give me EVERYTHING – including your only child. If you don’t love me enough to sacrifice EVERYTHING that has ever meant anything to you, then you don’t really love me. Is that really true? If you were a psychologist and a couple sitting across from you expressed those same ideas to each other, would you applaud with a “Yes, that’s great!” Or would terms like “severe dysfunction” be running silently through your mind and out the tip of your pen?

Wow. That’s an interesting thought. How many ways do we codependently attempt to manipulate Spirit in our lives? To boss around God? To indoctrinate the divine? It’s like we’ve failed at this so many times in our personal lives on the planet that we decided to create something even BIGGER and then apply the exact same rules and behaviors that never worked out down here in the first place. Hmmm… how’d that turn out for ya?

I’ll admit, I DO think there is something bigger, that we’re part of something larger, this God of Many Faces, an elephant far too grand for just one blind man to describe. So if there IS a Divine, maybe it’s time we stop making up rules for how it should be, how it should act, how it should think. Maybe we should just let it be. Maybe we should practice a bit of that unconditional love we talk about so much. Instead of blaming it for everything that happens, and giving or withholding love and approval accordingly, maybe we should try just being with it. Just loving it, exactly as it is, however that may be. Maybe we could even try that tactic with life, just to be different. Loving it, exactly as it is, however that may be. Maybe we could even start trying that with others – and even (gasp, gasp) ourselves. Loving it – exactly as it is.

I wonder, how different would the world be if we could do this? Life? Our relationships – with ourselves, with others, with the greater whatever-it-is that so many of us feel is out there?

I just wonder.

Winter 2014-2015 Milwaukee trip 190

Indiana Sand Dunes, Michigan City, Lake Michigan, February 2015

(C) 2015 Mary Batson,
Time for seconds? Come visit – we love company!

Cosmology, Mysticism, Photos, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

One Needle: Found


One Needle: Found

How much we are loved – so far beyond our comprehension. All of it, every single little piece – even those hardest to see, to feel, to imagine – all part of the love, trying to reach us, trying to get through, just trying to show us, if we would open up to it, even just once, to the possibility that everything really, truly, is love. I don’t understand it. And I don’t have to. All I have to do is feel it, allow it, be it. And so it is.



Time for second helpings? Stop by– we love company!

Cosmology, Reality, Religion, Spirituality


Kris Leigh House 1 Xmas Deco 001Not too long ago, I supported my writing and storytelling habit by working at a nursing home, designing activities to promote the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of those who called this unnatural place home. Slowing down each day as I arrived, adjusting to the speed of life inside those doors, was an incredible learning experience, while working with residents with Alzheimer’s brought its own humbling lessons.

The layout of the place was unique. It was small, intimate, from the outside appearing like two longish white ranch houses, identical, facing each other across a green expanse. The perfectly centered gazebo carried on the surreal illusion of balanced perfection.

One beautiful soul drew me even more than the others, so sweet and precious – she reminded me of my grandmother, always a lady, down to her freshly applied lipstick and pristine penciled eyebrows. And – get this – she used to be a pilot. Of course we connected! Bless her heart, this beautiful woman never knew where she was, what day it was, where her family was or when they would return. It was my job, along with the others, to keep her happy and smiling, reassured, as she lived in her world. It did no good to speak to her about reality – my truth meant nothing to her. To connect with Miz Mamie, as I’ll call her, I had to go completely into her world, and speak the words she needed to hear. It took time to gain her trust, to calm her fear, but finally she grew to know my face enough to wave and smile each time I’m come in the door.

One day as we walked down the hallway together, she happened to look out the window of “my home” where she was “just visiting” – and saw the other building, carbon copy of the one we were in. Sparkling in the sunshine, it looked inviting, a home made to order. She drew me to the window, excited – look, look, look at that beautiful house over there. We should go visit.

I agreed with her. It looked lovely. I’m sure very nice people live there, and they might even have a cake coming fresh out of the oven if we arrived at tea time (3PM, for those who are interested). Why, yes, we’d do that someday. But right now, let’s go play some music, shall we? Remember how we love to sing together?

We started down the hall again, and then I stopped in my tracks. Even now the memory of the thought that swept through my mind feels overwhelming.

This is exactly what happens when we look for God. We look out the window of our soul, gazing across that open expanse, and see the most beautiful things, the most welcoming places – out there – out there – out there. How wonderful it would be to visit. To claim that space as our own in some small way.

But the truth is, what we’re seeing is a mere reflection – a carbon copy of you. Of me. Of us together, peering out that window, arm and arm, in love with each other. As someone once said, like the nose on our face, our eyes can’t get any closer without the image appearing to move away – because we’re all the same thing. All the same beauty. It IS us. We are IT.

Such a beautiful memory. Such a beautiful woman. So grateful to have shared that moment with her, and for the teaching she inadvertently shone into my world.

© 2015 Front Porch Rambles, Mary Batson
All rights reserved – especially the one to fly.

Cosmology, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

Seeing God

IMG_6889Sometimes we get so caught up in our search for the Divine that we overlook the obvious. We buy into and adopt the persona of Seeker and overlook the reality of Found.

I looked for God, I looked for God, I looked for God? Don’t know about you, but I found God.

I see God every day – in the eyes of the person across from me. In the pinecones reaching down to brush my face as I walk to the car in the early morning light. In the rush of life along the highway: Live, live, live, pulse throbbing through car exhaust. In the rust that threatens, reminds of tightening, what happens when too little movement and too much water set in those areas of metal in our lives. I hear God in the sound of waves and in the sound of the wave maker. I taste God in the crispness of the air and the bite of dandelion greens. I touch God, hugs given and received – “He is not here, he is risen.”

Stop looking in the graveyard. That time is past. Find the needle where you lost it. In the sunrise, in the sunset. On the playground, on the swingset, playing hopscotch up the tree of life.

Didn’t you know?

In joy, in pain, in sorrow. In laughter, in lightness, in love.

It’s all there, just waiting for me to open my eyes and finally, finally, finally see.

© 2015 Front Porch Rambles, Mary Batson
All rights reserved – especially the one to fly.

Cosmology, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

Like God

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(OK, maybe the peanuts are a slight exaggeration…)

057The scene is simple, cast in blues and whites and winter grays, far to the east. Russia of long ago, deep in the heart of winter. Lost in frozen thought, the river holds silent behind its iron ruffle.

A little old lady sits on her bench, swathed in layer upon layer, extra pounds to keep her comforted where winter’s wool wears thin. Mittens warm wrinkled knuckles as she delves within a crumpled bag, pulling forth handful after handful of bread crumbs and nuts, strewing them about her feet for those that gather, birds and squirrels as fat and round as she.

From nearby come the haunting strains of a street musician, classically trained, no finely draped orchestra pit today, only ice-kissed corners where hope of one’s breakfast may shine as the bow draws melodies long forgotten from Stradivarius strings. Just as penniless as she, he is, each alone and yet not lonely, lost in their personal raptures.

One squirrel sits up, eyes more inquisitive than most, and poses its burning question: Where is her nest, and how is it she has such an abundance of nuts that she can share with him?

To the squirrel she is like God. Beautiful, simple – she and the squirrel together are a universe in themselves. She is its friend, and it, hers.

She thinks God must be very lonely. It must be hard when everyone needs something all the time. After all, perhaps God, too, just wants to be friends.

It could all be so easy. If we were friends, we wouldn’t expect God to be perfect either. We’d go to God with our happiness, not just our tears… we’d share a cup of tea, and do the things friends do, spend a lazy afternoon together, content to simply be with each other.

To the squirrel, she is like God.

© 2013 Front Porch Rambles, Mary Batson
All rights reserved – especially the one to fly.

Cosmology, Reality, Religion, Spirituality

God Is

Prefer listening? Morning thoughts on dirt and the divine, if you don’t mind a little thunder and rain and traffic noise…

I don’t think God is anything like we think It is. He is. She is. I don’t think God is as perfect as we’re afraid It is – as we’re afraid we can never be. I don’t think God is as hard to please as we’ve often imagined, as we’ve tried to make Him and Her out to be, like the parents we tried so hard to satisfy, until at least some of us finally gave up and decided to just be, exactly as we were.

I don’t think God is only in the chapels and cathedrals where we try to capture Her. In the robes and relics we use, trying to show how very special this idea is to us. Don’t get me wrong. God is there – for God is everywhere. But as long as we only see Her in the beautiful places, the mountains, the meadows, the morning stars, we’ll only get half the picture.

God is in the darkness, too. God is in the pain. God is in the dirt, the drivel, the dreck, all those aspects we try to drive out and ignore in our search for something we can put on a pedestal. God is in a rusted-out lawnmower in a weed-filled sandlot just as much as She is in a stained glass window or a satin cassock. God is in the grief as well as the glory, the loss as well as the gain. What is it in us that makes us want to cheat ourselves of the full picture?

Why do we rush to open the door for Spirit, only to close it when He’s halfway through? We reject God’s darkness like we reject our own shadow: Not mine. Not mine. Not mine.

How must that ache inside Her heart, I wonder? When all He wants, all She wants, all It wants – is for us to love. To turn around to our Father-Mother-God-Creator and for once in our small-minded existence to see all, to accept all, to love all, and to finally, just once, to say Thank You. And really mean it this time. For everything. Not just bits and pieces.

I think God sometimes comes to our doors like the little ragamuffin child down the street, tears making tracks through dirt-stained cheeks, flowers hastily picked from our own front yard clasped tightly in one grubby little hand: An offering of hope, a cry for mercy for the baseball in our hand and broken window in our mind. Do we see God then? Or do we let our anger, our pain, our shadows, our vasanas, take over and block this glimpse of glory from our view?

What say you, friend? Where will you see God today? I am grateful for those moments of clarity when I can remember that God is in all, God is in everything, God is in you, and God is in the mirror.

Namaste, sweet soul. May we all remember.