Friday, March 30, 2012

the emerging self

For some reason,this gentle, colored ,dogwood blooming spring day reminds me of a dangerous time in my life;the middle.I was approaching forty and the churning inside,the sheer discomfort of who I was, was creating inner havoc.All the things that I had loved seemed stale and empty to me.What I was doing and some of my choices had me scratching my head and looking in the mirror.Who are you?

There must have been one day that I said to myself that this rocky path strewn with possible ruin is not the way for you.I stepped back and thought;who do you want to be for yourself not for any other person's good,just your own?I  know that in this cocktail mix of terror and thrill, the Spirit was there letting me go out on a thin string held loosely by a loving hand.

In my pimple faced teens I never rebelled.My house was on all the posters for dysfunction and I didn't have the strength to add to the chaos.I believe that we must rebel at some point in order for our lives to be ours,not replicas of family members,idols,saints or anyone else. It is when we are half way into the woods that it happens for many.Were our choices really our own that brought us to now?

I think that my oldest son is in the wood right now and slowly hacking his way to becoming.He wrote this on Facebook:"Don't worry what the world needs.Ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that.Because what the world needs are more people who have come alive."

Perhaps some people never ask the hard questions of themselves.They wind up as grey ,shuffling men, unknown to themselves, that you see on subway platforms.In Spring ,one doesn't want to be a curled up grey ball not looking anyone in the eye.One should be an elf,a sprite ,running naked through those shining woods wrapping your arms around yourself in a hug of joy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the man who rides in first class

My oldest son was born in a Denver hospital in 1970 and, at 11 and a half pounds ,created quite a stir.The measuring bassinet was 24 inches long and his feet hung over.Three student nurses came to watch the natural childbirth and we all cried together at the miracle that he was.He still is.

Mike was born with fluid in his lungs and his skin was a light shade of blue so they whisked him away from me to a children's hospital and I mourned.He was fine and a few days later I had him all to myself.Happy Momma.He is now six feet tall, with auburn hair, green eyes and all the women glance his way.

After high school, my son got a job at American Airlines doing baggage work and occasionally a free pass would put him in first class.His young eyes would look around at the business men who surrounded him and he would think,"I want to be like them,really in first class, and doing important work."

His next job was climbing cell towers.I have a picture that scares me no end as he is hanging at the top of one doing repair work.He spent some time doing that hard work and then thought,"I can do better than this" and soon he was in management.He has changed companies often ,gaining experience and moving up.He is now Director of Field Operations for a company that has contracts all over the United States.He did this on his own because he believed in himself.

But this is not why I am telling the story of this handsome,good man.He now always flies first class and as he boards he asks the stewardesses if there are any service men on board.If there are, he gives them his seat and sits in the back.Last week he did this and the whole plane applauded him as I do now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

wandering through Spring

Lent is not supposed to be a thrilling time,with the fasting and sacrifice.I am doing well in some areas but poorly in others.The one thing that I am being very faithful to is the Liturgy of the Hours and Centering Prayer.After sitting in silence for twenty minutes, I feel refreshed.

The Prayer of emptiness is so counter-cultural ,that it is hard to describe it well.No activity,nothing happens.
What's the point?Nothing happens!Except what happens when I am not looking or paying attention.In the quiet, out of reach depths,my soul is being molded or released from the ego that binds the Christ within.

I have become a lover : of Spring,sand and the slow walking lady at the pool that kept me from swimming now.My soul pushed passed my impatient mind and asked her if she had knee surgery and we became friends.Despite myself, I am becoming a lover and it is all Christ and the forty minutes I spend in silence
alone and empty.

The white Bradford blossoms that drift like snowflakes,the bright yellow jasmine,the pink azalea,all surprise and speak to me of the generous Lover that I serve who was with us in winter but is laughing out loud in Spring and I join the Dance.Come,let's dance!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

the compassion of a brown dog

My Church is having a three day mini-retreat this week and yesterday,we all met the Sister that will be leading it.The theme will be Compassion and she told a humorous story about what a difference we can make in other's lives.

When she was a young teacher, there was a girl that came late every day to her second period class and was always poorly put together when she arrived.Uncombed hair,worn ,wrinkled clothes and so forth.The young sister didn't have a clue how to handle this so she just went with it and treated the girl like everyone else.When the girl graduated, she sought the sister out to thank for understanding what she was going through and making her feel O.K. about herself. Later, Sister Therese found out that the girl's father was an alcoholic and the girl's mother was mentally ill and it fell to the young student to get her sister ready for school and many other things.

Right now,in my life,I am being called to forgiveness and compassion and at first it didn't seem easy but then the gusting wind of the Spirit blew through my heart and whisked away the human passions and replaced them with precious gifts. Compassion says;"How would I like to be treated in this instance?And, of course, the answer is with body hugging,eye gazing, deep, never ending love.The only place where this commodity splashes in complete abundance is in the Heart of God .Am I His instrument or not?

I don't recall great chunks of compassion as I grew up.There weren't many hands of help reaching out to the poor waif that I felt I was.But now,and here is the great gift of backward reflection,I do recall this:when I would leave my house because the chaos and recriminations were getting to be too burdensome,I would sit on my front porch not holding back the tears.To my side would appear Patchy ,my sweet,loved only me, brown dog.And she would put her nose under my arm.Many times, in my anger, I would push her away but always she would do this.Can I do less?

Friday, March 9, 2012

what is in the quiet of my heart?

It is so easy to lose focus and become enmeshed in unimportant things,at least for me.Writing helps me to get that focus back and I haven't been doing that either.So,if you will allow,I'll drift through the last few weeks and hit the highlights of the good that is in my life waiting to be relished.

My Granddaughter is slight ,has blond hair,bright eyes and small wire glasses.She was born prematurely and weighed so very little that we had only a drop of hope that she would be with us nine years later.Her least favorite day is Tuesday which coincidently was mine as a child.She is a champion speller and when I babysat this week,I found this written in her notebook:"I love the person that I am."Isn't that wonderful?.When did you last feel that way,especially as a child ?I want to sit with her and ask her why she feels that way.

Contemplative Outreach is a group dedicated to spreading Centering Prayer.I submitted one of my posts for their March e-bulletin and they will publish it.I will be a published author which,as you know,I never expected to be and the timing was God's because I was just ready to hang up my writer's towel.If one person finds and becomes open to this sacred method of prayer because of my humble meditation, I can die in peace.

The Blue Nuns are a group of friends who meet monthly at my house to pray and seek God's will.The night before our first meeting three years ago,I had a profound dream.A small group of women,dressed in blue robes, were kneeling quietly in a darkened,candle lit chapel.In the row in front was the Lord,head bowed ,kneeling in prayer also.We prayed with Him and thus became the blue nuns.

On February 7th, we met again and were given powerful direction:

-never leave God's presence.
-we are not to be moved.
-we have been called for this time.
-we who know God have to see the gift we have to be His instruments of redemption.
-in the quiet of our hearts,we should know Him and in the quiet of our hearts,we should love Him.

This is the focus that is so easy to lose.What am I about ?What is resting on my mind most of the time?
If my thoughts for today were typed up and handed to my Lord, would He gently ask,"Where am I in this script"?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

a small whisper with the wren

Journal notes at the Flint River...02-18-12

Still,still, eternal woods.Vultures circle soundlessly high above. Every stump has a past,every leaf ,a song.A crow calls from the tall dead tree,again and again.Water ripples,unhurried.Two Beech leaves, caught up in the breeze,land in the river.Deer prints in the grey sand.

Nothing here seeks perfection.It is all messy,broken,twisted,full of holes,knobbed.Vine branches,logs and towhees calling from either side of the river.

Crows fly over heading West.Everything flows and opens like a lotus.Like the damp ground under my feet takes the rain,the sun and the broken mistletoe at my feet,light green and alone.

I am the self appointed abbess of the solitary spot.The leaves are my prayers heading downstream for their own purpose.This log is my desk and chair by a window.The choir?Crows,a wren and the towhees.The tall grey trees might be a cloud of witnesses as the pines sway their green tops to the music.The Beech leaves have messages written on their veins as they rattle down.

The abbess sees,listens and relishes all that is here.The word hurry disappears down the current.

The stump with the past,its story,leans towards the tall bare tree that is festooned with green mistletoe.One day,it too, will be a stump and that's just how it perfectly is in the eternal woods.

The sun peeks through the branches as if a bright white candle has been lit in the chapel and placed on a tall window.Lit for vespers,those praise prayers that are said every day throughout the world.Mine added as a small whisper with the wrens.

Unlike the monastery in Conyers,whose plain white cinder block walls glow in blue and pink ,when the sun gleams through the stained glass windows,the pale sun here brings out only the green and grey in reflections on the water of the river.

I am very present to this outpouring. Buddhists call it mindfulness.I am here with this, not back nor forward ;here, now, waiting for words to form.There aren't enough.