Thin Light of the Season

This entry was originally posted near the third anniversary (now sixth) of my sister’s leaving. I offer it here as a meditation on what grief might look like for some in this season of preparing.

Thin Light of the Season by Theresa Wyatt Prebilsky

This is what I know (for now) about grief:

Grief is not proprietary.
Grief can not be compared.
All grief needs notice and attention and care.
And, grief never ends – we only stop crying out loud.

Yesterday, I cried out loud. I cried alone. I cried out to others. I marched out my mindful prayers, but my heart felt too broken to heal.

That’s how faith looks sometimes.

But this morning, even though sadness lingers like weakness after a fever has broken, self-pity has eased.  My spirit leads me to my Bible and invites me to enter the familiar reminders of God’s presence and love; my heart is softened.  I welcome the mystical way of God’s Word finding me by spirit, and how automatically this well worn book falls open to heavily bookmarked and underlined pages.

“The Lord is with you.”

My heart begins to open wide, then wider, and my eyes land on what feels suited for the pain in my heart and this hope in my God. Yet, as right as they seem, I crouch with whispered apologies to invisible critics who might condemn me for claiming Mary’s words as my own solace. I cower but push on and repeat and embrace them in this season of preparing.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

I hear them, and I repeat them. I know that yesterday I could not have walked into their spirit, but today they bring my heart into gratitude, focus, clarity, and the simplicity of purposeful relationship with God.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

In these, there is no room for wallow or wonder about what has gone, is no more, or what might yet leave. They elicit no invitation to define, declare or deliver a set of petitions or defects to the Lord. They ask me to reply in the fullness of being one of God’s, loved by God, remembered by God, accompanied by God. Abandonment is banished, or at least tempered by, “The Lord is with you.”

What glorious compassion and companioning love comes in the echo of Mary’s words, coming in the morning after merciful sleep has loosened some of the worst of the strangleholds of dogged grief. I am grateful for the healing time that has been purchased by another night and day, and find that a surprisingly authentic response of “I love you” comes like breathing out after in, dawn after dark and life after leaving.

I rejoin Nature’s rhythm and way with fullness of heart, and pray again, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

Yes, sadness lingers, but I can see again the thin light of the season. It draws me again to grounded gratitude and service.

15 Minutes Of Love

I have been invited to practice 15 minutes of Love a day, now and until Christmas. The only requirement is to pause, step into stillness, and focus on Love for a short time away from the flurry and distraction of a busy season. And my busy mind.

During this time, I am choosing a very simple practice called Centering Prayer – focusing on the word love as it reflects for me the essence of what I belief God to be; then, gently re-centering a hundred-thousand times if necessary back to the word. My intention is to simply call on and breath in love for the sake and goodness of Love, without expectation of what I might gain or accomplish in my practice or attitude.

… just sit with Love for 15 minutes a day.

There are many different and colorful routes to prayer and meditation. I invite you this season to follow a practice that makes sense to you, and leads you into Love. And in this, I believe we get to experience being One beyond our practice, and ourselves.

May love meet you in your moments, now and always.

Somehow

It was the hobo story.

Reaching deep into my own grandmother’s history of being a safe place for hobos that traveled by their house.  Cold water slapping me awake to how far we have come from being open to strangers and sharing our food. Ice cubes is more like it…

Then tears. They sneak back up now as I read Wells and feel seen by her. By you. Tenderness somehow all about me. And not.

Somehow this counts for something; for the people we tell to keep on moving. I’m not sure how but it does. I have to believe that it does somehow or we all are lost.

And we are not.

The point is simply this: how tender can we bear to be? What good manners can we show as we welcome ourselves and others into our hearts?-Rebecca Wells

True? Necessary? Kind?

Sometimes the simplest of tools are the best when entering discernment, or facing challenging situations of opinions.

And, these three questions seem to be pretty simple, straight-forward tests that move me to be more in line with what I believe God might ask of me.

Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

There is debate, imagine that!, in the origin of these. But whether they come to us from certain poets, Christians, Buddhists, other religions or philosophers, they seem to call us to a reckoning towards our higher selves, and to a spirit of kindness. So much so that I wonder that in simply asking,

“Is it kind?”

I might better know the answers to all of the other questions. And the answers that best suit my soul.

The Arrogance Of My Belief

Many of us are searching; wrangling our faith and reason against the pain and suffering cast by nature’s net over our, or loved one’s lives. Entire lives have been changed, and taken. Homes and precious memories have been made into seemingly meaningless, soggy piles of rubble on the side of the road.

Then I come across this. Yet another reference to Job, the possible poster-child of suffering, and one most perfect paragraph that reflects and reminds me, in words and ways that I could no better express, both the arrogance and grounding comfort of my belief.

In case this writing may also meet and lift you where you are today, I share it here, with love.

“Ordinary Mysticism”, Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M

Fragile Made Strong

Maddie has been pretty upset. Not eating. I think she knows many are in peril’s way. Today as the rain let up and it’s looking like we are spared, she ate. I found her here in front of a box I had moved to higher ground.

It seems a striking reminder that we and our pets and our earth are fragile. And in need of gentle care. But, as I see the courageous hearts and hands of Houston come out in droves I am reminded that we are strong too. Made strong by our inherent sense of community and love, and a God of our understanding.

I pray in this time of rescue and recovery that we listen and allow the gentle and the strong in us to guide our pace and service. With love.

Posted August 29, 2017; the first break in Hurricane Harvey’s rains.

Drink Deeply

How many times do I slay my self by unconscionable deeds,
aggression against soul?

How many intentions do I abandon in selfish unkindness,
omission against body?

How many thoughts do I hold so tightly
that they seize to hardened beliefs;
a defended-war against mind?

Aware of these grievances against the singular and collective matter of these, what hope do I have to reconcile the harms I have done? How many times might I be invited, allowed to dip my weary hand into the well-spring of forgiveness?

“As many times as needed”, I am answered.

Forgiveness is not doled out like tokens at a fair.
Nor metered in degrees of deserve or earn.
For as often and as long as needed,
and reached for by a trusting hand,
forgiveness follows to refresh
and renew the soul,
body and mind,
as a newborn in Love.

And then I hear,

“Drink deeply here and as often as you thirst.
I am not satisfied by the arid deserts you walk
but by the oasis you claim in Me.”

Welcome to this space – a gathering place for the mind, body and soul.