I look forward to the day I can retire from my desk job to pray & make coffee all day while writing the aimless poetic scriptures on the back of neighbor’s napkins to illuminate our clumsy collective grace that fumbles to keep time with the quiet moments between hearts pounding out a rhythm of lost hopes & borrowed time.
“God spoke to me, and he said ‘I am the one who will decide which kingdoms will rise & whose will fall, and I say that I love & cherish these people as my children and they will flourish'”.
As I stirred creamers into my tea I did not look up at the man speaking, but I felt the hairs bristling on the back of my neck all the same. Inherited rage against the church of my father. It was late in the afternoon and the diner was mostly empty except for me, and these three church folk conversing over pie and coffee. There was something about the self-congratulatory confidence which this man’s faith spoke with that grated my nerves. Even as I felt the tension & irritation rise in the bile of my stomach a calmer voice reminded me to let it go. He meant no harm by his story, he was no threat to me in my booth, and who was I to judge his experience of the unknown.
“Father Clearey looked at me astonished as I spoke these words, for he knew that I would never have said such a thing! I was fed up with being there. There had been so much resistance, so many set backs, and they had just run out of money to pay us. So they called an assembly with the children to see if any of them had access to money. I was ready to throw in the towel, I was sure that these people were past hope and would be wiped out under the heel of God. So I said to myself, well I know what I think of these people, but God what do you think of these people?”
As I listened I felt the knots in my stomach relax into unexpected calm. Certainly this man was not perfect, he barely concealed his inherent racism & disdain for “those people”, but when that voice answered him he was prepared to listen against his own judgement. A small bead of hope settled in my heart. Here was someone whom I would normally consider beyond hope, a Christian missionary with an agenda. With Trump the President-Elect spitting his hate speech from the television in the corner of the diner these church folk stood for everything I thought was wrong with the world. Yet, here he was acting out of divine love to support people he had deemed beyond hope in circumstances that would try the most loyal ally let alone a bigot.
In that moment I thought about the reasons I had hated his faith, how similar they were to his own reasons for hating the faith of the north, how little any of our reasons meant in the face of so much pain. Humanities pain. My pain. The pain that I had been in when I walked into the diner to sit at my favourite corner booth where the waitress comes to sit on her breaks and cheers me up with stories of her weekend. She gives the best hugs. How I needed one of those hugs today because I was feeling so lost. There is no way to adequately describe the emptiness of depression. A real absence of care. Of faith. I questioned why I had turned away from all overt forms of faith as an attempt to prove that I was an intelligent, capable, grounded person in my father’s eyes. I noticed how much my heart craved that faith now. A faith that is open to receiving signs from beyond my own understanding of the situation. A faith that acts out of the best interests of those involved against my own petty judgements. A faith that loved deeply & fully with no expectation.
I was reminded of the one-step plan we had discussed in my yoga training. Give life. How impossible it had seemed when she had said that to me. Shed everything. She said that we were already on it. Over to God. I couldn’t understand how. One step. Over bagels & tea I understood the blessed simplicity of that sentiment.
There is no reason why that man should have had a change of heart. There is no reason that I should have stepped into this diner at this time to hear him tell it. There is no reason any of this should occur, and yet that is all the reason that I need to restore my faith in humanity. My faith in happy accidents & divine interventions. My faith in my own ability to keep going. My faith. There may be a divine reason too complex for my understanding, or I may have arrived here by a series of happy accidents, or gifts from the god as another teacher refers to them, either way the results are the same. I am sitting alone in the corner booth on a grey steely day stirring cream into my tea when I experience a change of heart. I can not measure or quantify the experience, but my actions change as a result. My thoughts change as a result. Love enters my heart as a result.
As I walk back to work considering the unlikely probability that I would hear these words at this time and have them land in my heart in such a way to momentarily lift the veil of apathy I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for magical mistakes & mysterious meetings. As I walk the one step at a time path through depression I see all the other tiny steps that have got me here. I see that we are each walking the one step path together, and whether we waver or stumble, we are moving through it as one. One step. The rhyme or reason of it is whatever we each choose to weave between the lines, but the result is the same. We walk together.
Living your legacy in real time. A beautiful idea from Ron Finely. Something I’m reflecting on as I’m looking for an afternoon pick me up. There are seeds I planted months ago I’m seeing come to harvest now, there are others that have rotted on the vine. I trust that this balance is essential for nurturing the dreams I’m affectionately tending. Everything in its season. A few more things for you to consider as well:
- Interview with Ron Finely via The Great Discontent
- Krista Tippett in conversation with Mary Karr via On Being
- Inner Dearly Beloved a late addition after further reflection
This is all for now click back to find bonus inspiration on other lists that I’m leaving off short today.
My heart is at home in the wet flakes that coat the black city in dreamy slumber.
Ice cold winds sting the cheeks like bitter promises too sweet to keep.
There is a familiar resonance to as winter makes her grand entrance. She doesn’t play for keeps, this is just a taste of her white wonderland. Tomorrow will be grey slush & tepid salutations.
In the middle of the night everything hangs perfectly crystal serene. As home settles into my heart for the year. My bones welcome the aches & chill if only for the thrill of being alive trying to start a fire in such a frigid place.
Count snowflakes on the glass. Each one a wish. Longing for those long silent nights walking arms crossed following a single star calling with my name on it.
Holy in her transience.
Melting stars on my tongue.
Wishing on light passing.
The snow will be gone by morning.
Super charged new moon energy this weekend. I’m looking forward to painting my lips & disappearing into private witchy things. Here are a few things I’ve been mulling over.
- Fall Equinox Brings Kali & The Burning of the Old Self via dear soul, actress, and activist Michelle Thrush
- Anaak – Escape via dear soul & artist Stephanie Kuse
- The Aesthetic Language of Pina Bausch via AnOther
- Gender is Not a Spectrum via dear soul & artist Annette Marie Nedlienka
- Warpaint’s new release Heads Up
January is that moment when the rope swings out over the clear blue water, inviting in it’s efferescent cool stillness, just as gravity grabs hold of the pit of your stomach and squeezes that knot of fear held too tightly, for too long, while your fingernails instinctively dig deep when you have to decide to grip tighter to that rough rope tearing your tender flesh red, or let go into the unknown space between you now and then.
Allowing for simple solutions, accepting things as they are, finding the easiest path, open to be vulnerable in the waiting, surrender to the currant, yielding to hidden strengths in times of struggle.
Imperfectly ingrained into the interconnected web of life.
I am learning to accept with grace mistakes as they are made without sacrificing my integrity. Securing sense of self against the inevitable onslaught of insidious illusions.
It takes a lifetime to live a moment.
May I develop complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people.
May I experience everything nakedly, completely without mental reservations or blockages.
May I never withdraw from life, or centralize onto myself.
May my heart be laid bare and open to the fire of all that is.