Friday, June 13, 2014

Get Well

I am in the infirmary, an effort to take better care of my broken foot so it can heal.  This infirmary room is slowly becoming a monk cell for me.  I am a bit more confined and so I am less tempted to pace.  It has become a sacred space for healing  I keep staring at the helium balloon that hangs from my ceiling, “Get Well,” it says.  It sounds like a very simple request, a kind wish from a good friend.  Little did she realize what metaphysical ponderings this get-well-wish would work in me!

What does it mean to get well?  There are times when I am not actually sick yet need to get well.  At the moment, yes, my foot needs to heal.  However I can think of numerous ways I need to get well.

·        When my attitude limps and I start feeling sorry for myself I need to get well
·        When I find myself complaining about every little thing,  I need to get well
·        When I get so busy I forget to take time for solitude and prayer, I need to get well
·        When I let  grudges reign in my heart,  I need to get well
·        When I find myself critical and impatient with others, I need to get well
·        When I bring only half a heart to my daily living, I need to get well
·        When I find myself disgustingly self-righteous, I need to get well
·        When what I own becomes more important than the people I live with, I need to get well
·        When I spend more time judging others than affirming them I need to get well...

The list could go on and on.  I could write until tomorrow.  I write these things not to be overly critical of myself but rather as a gentle reminder that there are ways I am not living up to my full potential.  Since I would like to be the best version of myself that I can be, these words are a way of prayer.  

The mystical poet Rumi affirms our goodness when he says:   “If you knew yourself for even one moment!  If you could glimpse your beautiful soul!  Maybe you wouldn't slumber so deeply in that house of clay.  Why not move into your house of joy and shine into every crevice?  You are a treasure; and always have been.”  


It’s the same message St. Paul gives us in 1 Cor 3:16:

 Do you not know that you are a temple of God
 and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

And so, all of you beautiful (though sometimes weary) temples, I invite you to

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Compassion for What is Broken

"Moved with compassion, 
Jesus touched their eyes 
and immediately they could see." 
 Mt 20: 34

...if eyes can be healed, why not a foot?...

The month of June comes upon us  with the  word compassion trailing along in its wake.   The theme I've chosen for this month is compassion.  Everywhere I turn, everywhere I look, I see opportunities for compassion.  Right now I’m looking very close—as close as my own foot.  It’s this big black boot I have to tote around with me.  It’s the foot inside that I am showering with compassion.  Poor innocent foot that suffered trauma in an unfortunate car accident!

So here I am unexpectedly slowed down with the same amount of work to do.  I, who, teach the way of contemplation to others, find myself being invited to listen to my own words. The turtle that sits beside my foot in the picture wasn't staged.  It really is there--my night light inviting me to stop and rest.  It has even greater meaning now.

Life will go on even if I have to cancel a few retreats.  Life will go on even if I have change part of my plans for vacation. (no hiking)  Life will go on if I can’t be at all community functions.  At this moment I am called to care for my right foot…this foot that I haven taken for granted, this foot that I have forgotten to be (consciously) grateful for.  Now I totally understand St. Paul’s lovely analogy of the physical body and the Body of Christ… (1Cor12:12-26)  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, “would it not then belong to the body?  “…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.”  HOW TRUE IT IS!   When I take my boot off at night I am drawn to pray with it, to thank it for the healing that is happening, to ask its pardon for taking it for granted, to massage it gently and put lotion on it.  It is quite sacramental. I am being drawn into compassionate presence.  Although it is unfortunate that something violent had to happen in order for compassionate presence to come on stage, that is often the case in our lives.  Sometimes we are jarred into reflection.  I've been spending many moments in contemplation and gratitude recently.  Everything can become a teacher if we open our hearts to what is in front of us.

As a child June was one of my favorite months, freed from school I spent many hours with my feet in the waters of the creek that ran through our forest, catching crawdads, watching the minnows, listening to life.  And this banged up foot:  it was young then but it was there---feeling the waters rush over it.

O Christ of the Healing Waters, 
restore and heal 
all things in the world that are broken.