A Time For Remembering

Standard

October 2nd is my father’s birthday. Perhaps I should say was as he died eight years ago. And yet, for me it is his birthday now and forever. It so happens that it has only been since his death that I have become aware that his birthday is in fact the Feast of the Guardian Angel. And along the way, I read that devotion to the angels is, at heart, an expression of faith in G*d’s enduring love and providential care extended to each of us day in and day out. This is of course a beautiful thought and movingly, the same love that anchors my father’s heart in his children.

My dad, like me, was fully human, and so, complex and imperfect. It is amazing to me that as I grow in my ability to welcome my own imperfection, I am able to see him more clearly and love him more dearly. Thus, as I perceive that the interplay of light and shadow is what gives us depth, I am able to see the divine at work in dad and in me. And so, I see that like dad, the light makes its way into the world through my many cracks. I also understand that in being fully human, I wrestle with my imperfections, my demons. Dad’s spirit is intertwined with mine always and the gift of his spirit thrives as everlasting love.

When I think of my dad’s soul light I see clearly what I will call his authentic spiritual literacy; Justness, kindness, love, devotion, nurturing, compassion, and imagination. These are among the qualities that offered meaning to his life and that shined through his life struggles and personal imperfections. In naming his spiritual gifts, I deepen my connection to his spirit as a force ever entwined with my own desire to attend to suffering in my ordinary lived experience. Seen in its purity, this desire asks that I protect the dignity of all beings and challenges me to authentically offer my being as a channel of divine compassion.

Thus, my father’s ordinary life experience full of light and dark; beauty and challenge; love and suffering; presence and distraction, continues to evolve in an eternal way. It mirrors the true, sincere and indissoluble intimacy of a heart seeking to connect and unite itself with the divine heart.

As is customary with feast days, there is a devotion to the Guardian Angel that resonates with my heart’s way of knowing my father. He is ever present in me in deep time – everlasting life. The Devotion reads: “O Angel of God, to whose holy care I am committed by the supernal clemency, enlighten, protect, defend, and govern me. Amen”

 

Advertisements

Revelatory Landscape

Standard

Here I am, once again confronting the serendipity of life, the consequences of the unexpected turn of events and the process of patiently waiting in ‘deep time’ for things to be revealed. For me, deep time is an inward place that feels very present and equally liminal in nature. Art museums often define a revelatory landscape in this manner; “ Revelatory landscape designs expose and interpret what exists, rather than obscuring the real conditions of the land with imposed design.” A rather pertinent expression of what I am experiencing.

It is challenging to be in this place of unknowing. It is tempting to seek comfort in familiar,inherited religious and cultural systems. Instead, I endeavor to see/hold reality in a new light, a new way, breaking through traditional religious and cultural systems into new revelatory landscape that integrates and transforms the quality of my humanness and restores me to the heart of creation where I intuitively belong.

My spiritual life moves through a time of un-learning of the ways I have been schooled. Here I linger, inwardly healing and trusting that I may emerge with a new self-understanding and vision of the sacred. I am unsettled and my equilibrium disturbed as I let go of previous patriarchal teachings and move toward a new way of being. A commitment to seek G*d is embedded in my heart, embodied in me in Love. I am invited to enter a dynamic dance of knowing and be-ing that is beyond thought and ordinary consciousness – a landscape of freedom and authenticity

Living Mystery ignites my soul, drawing me forward to a deeper experience of the sacred that is connected to but outside my church life. I wait as it reveals a new path of being religious. This is a profoundly serious faith experience compelling me to be a channel of presence; one that holds sacred, reveres, and protects the diversity and beauty of creation. I am inspired to honor the circle of belonging by living my life in harmony with mercy and justice. I am gently invited to touch my own soul’s capacity to heal the exclusion, cruelty and rejection of difference around otherness that I harbor in my own heart as the place where I begin.

And so I pray that I may move deeper into an understanding of peace as the essence of heart discovered through a unitive state of being. I pray that I may have faith and ‘trust in the enduring intimacy’ of what I will know as my heart becomes more intimately anchored in the divine heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s Work

Standard

This week my studies to complete spiritual direction training and my chaplaincy training catapult me deeper into my work in the world. I will be interning in a local hospital, a woman’s shelter, and hospice, while also offering spiritual direction with individuals and groups. This work is the heartbeat of my own life’s presence as it reveals more clearly my notion of the nature of divinity and my envisaging of the future of a common world. In this work, I encounter, experience and ponder the relation of theology to my desire to seek and create a more congruent and just world.

My journey draws me deeper into dialogue and conversation about divinity in my life as I endeavor to make sense of the world I share with others – our common world. To do this, I create or enter space where I meet others who are also pondering; together, we search for a language or vocabulary with which to comfortably, respectfully probe life’s deepest meaning. In this way, our experience emerges as a kind of ‘theological matrix’ by which we make sense of our lives. It becomes a lens with which we can appreciate the differences in how we each arrive at our understanding of the nature of the divine.

Ideas about the sacred are central to my bearings in the world, my values in service and action; and most important, my sense of what I want to bring into the world through my be-ing. And yet, these sacred understandings also illuminate concerns and questions about the real purpose of life and most especially, the intention of my life. The sacred invites, draws and compels me ever onward toward my own fecundity and authenticity.

There is really no way to make enquiry into this that does not become personally revealing. No way to side step the personal vulnerability and exposure that accompanies openly speaking and writing about this most intimate way of knowing. My life as embodied reality is informed by my understanding of divinity as it emerges in my personal, communal and social life experience. It is all an inherent and integral piece of my risk to become fully human, fully alive.

The secret of living well is not having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.

                          – Rachel Remen

 

Exchanged Life

Standard

Today is my son’s birthday. As it turns out, he shares a birthday with Mary – mother of Yeshua. Two days ago, his own son turned one year old. I hold and cherish the beautiful symmetry of this. It emerges as an intimate, dynamic sense of an endless exchange of love that births an endless exchange of life. Both are implicit in the togetherness or inseparability of Mary and Yeshua. It seems a beautiful expression of divine mystery.

And this exchange of love and life feels central to divine mystery. Somehow, knowing this, allows me to also understand in my heart that giving and receiving love is my particular participation in the reality of endlessly exchanged life.

So, as I look upon my son and my grandson, I enter the divine mystery that is so central to being alive and present. And, today, in this beautiful moment so replete with the symmetry of an endless exchange of love birthing an endless exchange of life, the mystery emerges as inextricably connected and dynamic.

How we happen and continue to happen in each other- through love -feels central to the divine mystery. At the same time, it feels unique and distinctly personal – it is a divine relationship – an intimate dance of co-creation.

‘Blessed be the mind that dreamed you into being. On this echoing-day of your birth, May you open the gift of solitude in order to receive your soul; enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart; know the serenity of stillness to be enfolded anew by the miracle of your being.’ John O’Donohue