Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sister Death

This is my address book and the quote from Rumi [on the left-hand side] reads as follows: “Worldly power means nothing. Only the unsayable, jeweled inner life matters.” Although I couldn’t agree more I am wondering why, if my jeweled inner life is what really matters, it is so difficult for me to erase from my address book and e-mail account those who have died. Every time I sit down to update my addresses, insert new folks, delete those who have disappeared from my life or moved to unknown lands, my hand freezes when I try to erase those who have died. I can’t do it. They remain.

A few years ago when one of my dear ones died, a friend sent me a card utterly filled with stars on a deep blue and purple background. The quote on the card was ascribed to an Eskimo legend.

Perhaps they are not the stars
but rather openings in the heavens
where the love of our lost ones
shine to let us know they are with us
and are happy.

These beautiful words convince me that I do not need to leave those names in my address book. The ones I have loved are part of the mosaic of my life. I want to be aware of their shining. A sweet grief has made a nest in my jeweled inner life. I am learning to welcome it. I want it to feel at home. It has a right to live in me; it doesn't have to go away. Sometimes when I dialogue with my grief I explain to it that joy lives in me also. I want them to be friends. In prayerful moments, I sometimes close my eyes and in my mind's eye I see them walking hand in hand in the twilight: my sweet grief and my joy. They both know that it is the unsayable, jeweled inner life that truly matters. And that is what I am thinking about on this snowy evening in Arkansas.

Outside My Window

There’s a poem outside my window
that refuses to be written down.
Having no need to be published,
It desires rather to be taken in,
Utterly received, tenderly integrated,
lovingly included in my life.

It summons me
to behold it in silence,
cradle its healing graces,
enjoy its magical aura,
keep it secret
except for those
who notice it on their own.

It does not wish
to be proclaimed, named or analyzed.
It desires rather to be slowly revealed,
honored and absorbed.
As it shyly releases its energy
it wants to enchant me, entrance me,
drawing me into the miracle
of being in the quiet
mystery of its company.

Look out your window!
There’s a poem waiting for you too.

—Macrina Wiederkehr
Be in communion with whatever you behold
outside your window today. Allow it to bless you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everything Matters

"The tasks that have been entrusted to us

are often difficult.

Almost everything that matters is difficult,

and Everythng Matters."

--taken from A YEAR WITH RILKE

Rilke is feeding me these days. I keep looking around at everythng in my life that matters. And, yes, I want to be right in the heart of all that matters. Everything Matters!
  • Winter and Spring kissing each other

  • Old sycamore tree leaves acting as mulch for the frozen crocuses

  • the moment before forgiveness

  • and the moment after

  • the clumsey way we try to love each other

  • the joy we thought we didn't have, then stumbled over

  • courage digging its way out of fear

  • the jeweled tear rolling down a cheek

  • frozen hearts learning to thaw

  • the flight of the bird in the winter storm

  • the people in Haiti

  • that moment when something goes wide in our hearts

  • the clock ticking minutes into eternity

  • the rabbit caught in a trap

  • the sleepless nights

  • the immense hunger for a kind word

  • the lies told out of fear

  • the fly caught in the spider web

  • a poet' s heart growing wings
  • an elderly woman pushing her wheel chair down the hall

  • every act of love performed for those suffering

  • the glimmer of light after a long darkness

Everything matters and in my own beautifully human yet often inept way, I want to be there in the mattering...even if my presence isn't a perfect presence. I want to practice being there. I want to practice seeing with a lucidity that enhances my gentle spirit. And YOU, whoever you are reading this, take these words into your dear soul; and in the deepest recesses of your being rejoice because YOU MATTER.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Take, Oh Take, is Now my Cry

Time after time I came to your gate
With raised hands, asking for more and
yet more.

You gave and gave, now in slow
measure, now in sudden excess.

I took some, and some things I let
drop; some lay heavy on my hands;
Some I made into play things and broke
them when tired; till the wrecks and
the hoard of your gifts grew immense,
hiding you, and the ceaseless expectation
wore my heart out.

Take, oh, take—
has now become my cry.

Shatter all from this beggar’s bowl:
put out the lamp of the importunate
watcher: Hold my hands, raise me from
the still-gathering heap of your gifts
into the bare infinity
of your uncrowded presence.

- Rabindranath Tagore

It is such a joy to find a poem again after having once loved it and then forgotten about it. This lovely creature, this poem, found me today after all these years. Or, maybe we found each other after years of forgetting. It fits so well with my longing to surrender joyfully this year. However, the words that have really made a nest in my heart are these: "...the bare infinity of your uncrowded presence." That sounds a bit like heaven and I hope I will be spending more time in the uncrowded presence of the Holy One. Perhaps I'll meet you there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Surrender and Joy

These two little clay hedgehogs always find a place on my altar in January. Each year they receive new names and their names are my chosen words to live for the new year. In 2007 their names were Discipline and Contemplation. In 2008 their names were Laughter and Presence. This year I have decided to keep their 2009 names as I am not yet finished with their old names. I still need to do some unpacking, --and the names are:


SURRENDER is on the left side. She is a little closer to the earth...a little more bowed down. As I honor the beauty and importance of surrender I need to make clear that when I choose surrender as one of my 2010 words, in no way am I thinking about a door mat kind of surrender. It takes humility to surrender and humility is truth. In the rule of St.Benedict I am asked to give up my own will . Truly that takes a little (and sometimes a lot) of surrender. In this new year, then, I am praying that the Holy One, Source of my Joy will reveal to me the areas where surrendering would bring me a deeper joy. I have in mind actions such as:
*letting go of my need to be right, *surrendering stuff that clutters up my life, * letting go of my plans for changing others, * letting go of expectations, *surrendering resentment, *surrending busyness, *surrendering my own will, --
This may sound negative; yet looking more closely at my desire to surrender I am aware that every letting go in my life has always brought me greater freedom. The trick is staying with the moment of surrender when it's difficult.

And now I introduce you to JOY. She is on the right side, -- kind of uplifted...as though she is waiting for something. Perhaps she is waiting for the grace that will help her to be friends with SURRENDER. She is a wonderful companion for SURRENDER because surrender without joy can be a bit morose. JOY enables SURRENDER to see that she is beautiful even as she lets go, loosens her grasp, empties herself out.

This is my great longing for 2010:

to taste the freedom that comes

from living Joyfully Surrendered.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year

Although we are already 5 days into the new year this seems to be a perfect time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Not too late; not too early! The year is new enough that we still forget, at times, to write 2010 instead of 2009 --- but not so new that we haven’t already stumbled over a few of our resolutions--------which brings me around to the theme of this blog entry: I don’t do Resolutions anymore. I have Wishes. Resolutions I can break; Wishes I just keep on having. It is as though they are renewed and not broken. I am listing here some of my wishes for the new year. You may have a few of your own that you would like to share with us.

  • I wish I could be faithful to a daily discipline of writing.
  • I wish I could surrender all actions that give grief to others.
  • I wish to replace all my judgments of others with love.
  • I wish to wear compassion as a favorite robe.
  • I wish to be a person of peace.
  • I wish to be free even from violent thoughts.
  • I wish to live joyfully surrendered to the moment.
  • I wish I could read just one book at a time.
  • I wish the Word of God would utterly take root in me.
  • I wish I would look like another Christ.
  • I wish I could see as God sees.I wish to be pure gratitude.
  • Like Alice in Wonderland I wish to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

I can’t exactly break these wishes but each time I disappoint myself I can look on them with love and breathe on them again for I happen to believe Spirit is in my breath. Resolutions or wishes? Ok, I realize they are essentially the same. I’m just using different language. Remember, I love changes. HAPPY NEW YEAR