Sunday, August 19, 2018

The stone in my pocket

Why there is a stone in my pocket 

The weighty round reminder of gravity’s constancy, centering me down, placing me,
in time and geography
is rather oddly a tethering that frees me.
I am, it says.
And you are 
and so too are We.
So go. Do.

Make your discoveries
in this world.

I will bring you home
to tell your tales of awe and curiosity.
And the stars and stones will listen,
and the wind will bear them,
and tides receive them
in a wild and passionate grace
that befits this tumble of heart and mind and being.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Friday, August 10, 2018

Night Music

7:11 PM. In the back of Saint Mary’s 
 cathedral, listening to an organ recital by Robert Summerby-Murray, the president of Saint Mary’s University. GLORY BE, is it H O T in here. The music is spectacular, though. Not quite the cosmos effect of listening to the University of King’s College Chapel choir at All Saints…somehow, there isn’t the same sense of internal space, the room to move among the parts and gaze at the wonders in motion within the beauty being created.  Maybe that is the difference?  This music is beautiful from the outside—like a machine can be beautiful in function and design—e.g, a motorcycle’s aesthetic perfection. Listening to the choir was a chance to be inside something beautifully alive, a system, an “organic” system…a galaxy, or an atom with its protons, neutrons, and electrons in elliptical circulation, giving form and substance to Being.  This music tonight is Energy, pure, raw, bold, and unabashedly itself, even the gentler pieces.

I find it so fascinating that all of these natural images keep coming to me when I bring the two experiences together.  Plants and metals; fiber and stone; atoms and universes, mass and energy… Natural images and contrasts of size… It sounds a bit messy and disparate when I read this, yet it intuitively makes sense to me. Because, though the images seem at extremes from each other, maybe it isn’t about placing them on a line—maybe those images are where the circle comes together and it’s about the diversity of what is held in common: Rhythm, movement, flow, inner/outer of one whole, breath, voice, communication, Life….all present in each, yet such different images are generated.
It all makes me think about the epitaph of Ignatius… Non coerceri maximo, continuo minimo, divinum est:  Not to be confined by the greatest, yet to be contained within the smallest, is divine.

What is at play among the harmonies and contrasts; the lift of a note that hangs at roof peak and the roll of weighty might that pours music into the pews and spreads until it finds its level…. It’s the same thing that sparks between syllables for me and wondrously binds mustard, oil and vinegar in a dressing, and what happens in a meaningful conversation with stranger or friend…  It’s Rhythm, proportion, science, language, math, music…beauty…passion…creativity, interest…generativity…For me, this is the Stuff of God… in so far as God is of Stuff: …essence…element…mystery…wonder…Source, origin.

And the diversity of ways that this is all revealed!  Through chorus, through organ, through tear, through silence, landscape, literature, poetry, relationship to self to other, to Source… The fullness of truth in each of those things does not limit or diminish the fullness in any of the others…

Somehow, believing that makes things all the more incredible, more free, more ‘and with Ah!  Bright Wings.’  (G.M. Hopkins)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A meal made of Enough

When I found your words, I devoured them. Your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart. 
If you come back and I take you back, in my presence you shall stand; If you utter what is precious and not what is worthless, you shall be my mouth.

-Jeremiah 15: 16, 19—from lectionary readings on 01 August, 2018

How do we get from ‘not enough for everyone’ to an abundance beyond our imagining?  What does it mean to go from scarcity and fear to generosity and care?

-A question that arose from the Religious Formation Conference and cited in the 30 July, 2018  posting on the blog All This Life and Heaven Too, a blog written by Silvana Dallanegra, a member of my religious order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart.

I have had a chance to be away these last two weeks.  In that time, I’ve seen people I love and don’t see often enough, I’ve done work, walked long a river, consumed a fair bit of coffee, made customs officials smile with a chance reunion in the Toronto airport, and read some good books. I’ve seen amazing maps hidden in quartzite and granite slabs while helping someone pick a countertop, helped a friend arrange and hang artwork, and seen the documentary about Mr. Rogers. 

But when I read the combination of those two italicized pieces this morning, I thought of something else.  I thought of the opportunities I had to sit with people.  On couches watching movies; on porches, in pajamas, conversing over coffee; at lunch tables in a gymnasium; in cafes and restaurants; over Scrabble and Settlers of Catan.

I thought of the words of deep, wide, love that were shared in different ways…according to relationship, to age, to context.  Words that sounded like laughter until weeping; that sounded like gentle teasing; words that were full of truth and challenge; words that sounded like an ache being shared; words that formed questions to get to know someone better; rhetorical questions posed in safety and meant simply to be heard; queries about whether someone wanted the last slice of pizza or mug of coffee or “Anybody else need a drink while I’m up?” And sometimes, words that were not spoken but equally present…in silence and sometimes given active dimension in deed.

These words, I devoured… Words of care, curiosity, Love, abiding presence, abiding welcome.  Words from people who have been my company and stood strong in the winds of time and circumstance; and words from new kites who invite me to risk, to fly still further.

Words from people in whose presence I wish to stand; in whose company I do stand and I do act. And sometimes that happens to be face to face and I understand all over again the closing line of Les Miserables, the musical:  To love another person is to see the face of God.
So long as I do something meaningful, valuable, precious, with that fullness of understanding…so long as each of us who has the good fortune of knowing something of that swirling company of Love that sings in so many unique lyrics, breezes, swells, and alleys of life does something to see it move on and touch another, then I can’t help but believe that we will bit by bit move from scarcity and fear to generosity and care.

God is infinite and wondrously beyond the scope of my imagining.  And so is the good that Love can do when made manifest in the gloriously wild diversity of humanity.  

To try and stop that would be heart less.  Would be worth less.

We have a banquet of words set before us to devour, to share.  Let the meal and the table we offer be a meal and a table of Love, not a meal and table of conditions and appendices of exceptional cases.  There is enough.  Enough room, enough love, Enough.

For me, I think the real question might be, Do I believe that?  What would happen if I chose to act as though I believed that I was loved beyond measure and reason? If I chose to act as though there was room for another…perspective, thought, way of understanding…need that is greater than my own…And that there was enough.  And that this truth of room, of welcome, of infinite love, was a truth for Us All?

What that is worthless has that as its foundation?  

Let us eat well of love’s rich and varied vocabulary and make of that meal something generative, something beautiful, something as expansive as has yet to be imagined.