Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday Five

From RevGals... It's another Friday Five! This one being written once again from NYC...just returned this evening after being away since September.

There is a German expression: ich würde die Hand dafür ins Feuer legen, which means: “I would put my hand in the fire for that.”

So, what are five things for which would you put your hand in the fire? Things / people / causes in which you believe passionately and completely? This might be demonstrated in that you would take extraordinary (for you) action…donations, marching, writing letters…or merely in the way you live your life. You may give as much or as little detail as you wish.

1. Light will overcome darkness. This is an absolute for me...Hope WILL have the upper hand. Darkness will be there, but I believe resolutely and by experience that light will NOT succumb.

2. God is a God of love. Bottom line. End of story. Not just for me, but for everyone and the whole of creation. And if that is what we believe as people of whatever faith, then that SHOULD mean something in our attitudes of welcome, our stance of justice, our actions of solidarity, our approaches to disagreements, our own esteem.

3. Listening to children...showing them by action and attitude that they have valid and worthy thoughts, that their experience might be limited, but it is important and it matters, that they are capable of thinking great and original things and teaching them how to use their mind and their heart together.

4. The importance of being able to change perspective or point of view to look at an issue or circumstance. The point is not agreement, but to be able to see something a different way can lead to a greater, deeper, understanding of whatever is going on.

5. We never know the stories borne within based on what is seen on the outside.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Organic Mystery

Today is the feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, RSCJ. Religious of the Sacred Heart, former RSCJ, students and former students of Sacred Heart, Associates, and colleagues around the world, are celebrating her vision, her gift, her life, in varieties of ways. Sometimes that celebration includes wishes in voice or emails sent to one another in friendship and faithful bond. And sometime in the course of the day, there might be a sharing of favorite maxims, or sayings.

Several quotations crossed my mind and heart this morning as I sipped my mug of caffeinated glory, and gave thanks to be back in my room here in California. I returned yesterday afternoon from a quick and challenging trip to see a family member. It was a journey done in love, a journey whose fruit is sadness and uncertainty on many levels and the sure knowledge of bringing joy, how ever fleeting, to someone on another.

This mix got me thinking about walking with it as a part of who I am and praying that the reality of the situation may shape me, may soften serrations of personality, may serve to enrich any sense of compassion and understanding that I bring to other people and circumstances...whether that sense converts into word or action or simple presence.

I do believe that experience shapes a person's presence, their feel, their being. May walking with this serve to nuance mine, to flavor it with depth and breadth and a pinch of wisdom. May it flavor with equal parts of a far more complex and far more elemental understanding of what it means to love someone.

It occurred to me too that I usually think of more elemental or foundational things as being simpler, more basic, but I wonder if that is true. Or, it could well be that the other side of that idea is that the more simple a thing, the more true or basic or elemental a thing, the more Mystery is involved as well.

Organic mystery. Integrated mystery. Naturally occurring Mystery.

Yes, I find that a pleasing thing to consider...that Mystery itself is part of the truth, part of the elemental order of things.

The maxims I recorded today are two...and I like them together.

"To live without suffering is to live without love. To live without love is to die."

"Be humble. Be simple. Bring joy to others."

What is the alternative but to love in full freedom? Live in that love...that includes the marvel and the mess and the mystery entire.

Happy Feast.

Monday, May 17, 2010

On Journal Writing

Most of the time when I write in my journal, I simply pick up the pen and begin.

There is a modest initial structure in that entries begin with the time of day and a brief account of my surroundings at the moment. Perhaps a theme or thread will emerge according to the flow or cohesion of what I write, but if so, it does so only by virtue of linear thinking and not by overt intention.

One of my joys is to record sensory observations and experiences because it is through those observations that I can re-member or re-enter a moment, a thought, an encounter, at another time. Another pleasure is simply laying down a running commentary of circumstance and seeing where it goes. This writing also helps me to know what I am thinking or feeling..I actually think better with pen in hand.

In a way, these lines, these quotidian paragraphs of this and that, are like the moving photographs of Harry Potter. The language is fixed to the page, but the words are not. They rest, shimmering as a fish scale bent in motion...ready to catch light, to reflect, to layer with others and create dimension--and sometimes to simply be cast off, shed into the ocean of moments.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stepping Path

Stepping Path

When I go home, Lord,
I want to walk on song-
yes, lay me my stepping path
with a love that sings.

Line my way with
orange blossoms, Lord,
that hum your honeyed Word
of beauty and praise!

Let the rail at my hand,
Lord, be the rays of glory
that wake the sleeping chorus
with their morning Amen!

Oh when you come
and you call my name,
I might be afraid, Lord,
yes, I might be afraid.

But your song has a way
of calming me home.

Oh, lay me my stepping path
with a love that sings.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Journal Entry

8:34 p.m
Sitting with N. Have been here since 7 p.m., F. coming at 9 p.m. This act of "being with" is amazing to me and I pray I will never grow accustomed to it. Comfortable with is one thing--accustomed to is another.

The nurses just came in to rotate the side on which she's been positioned. They, too, are so tender-- some stopping by periodically just to pause a moment, just to touch her face or forehead in a sort of permissive blessing-- or, better, a blessing of permission, of freedom, to go where God is beckoning.

It is as though God is calling upon the community to walk her to the riverside. Not that God needs the help, certainly, but it is almost like an invitation to help because God knows it is important--for the community and for the one dying. What a privilege to be a part of that...part of a whole group hearing and accepting the invitation to accompany someone to the waterside.

And as to the why this feels so important, so right... well, I am left reflecting on the fullness of what it means to love God and love one another. It is part of that perfect freedom that binds us. The freedom to receive, the freedom to give, the desire that no one be alone and the recognition that sometimes all we can do is be and that being at its best is being with even when alone and that is enough. Beyond enough, actually. It is at the heart of being humans created in God's image and likeness. It is right and important in ways I can not quantify with syllables.

We do not actually accompany into the arms of God, I think, but to the point of that final some moment known to God and the one whom God calls, everyone who is journeying with the one who is dying must stop at the mystical intersection of here and beyond here. We must stop at "Where I am going you can not come," and there set free the one who is headed home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How evening it feels

How evening it feels

How evening it feels
to be thick tired yet drawn
toward the secrets of firefly telegrams
and how it is that spiders
knit star-glow in their webs.

Here among the orange blossoms
and the moon heavy coolness
I sigh awake the hope
that lullabies in this glory
of presence and of mystery.