One of the challenges of this season of patient anticipation is reconciling all of the sad and lonely people in the world – not to mention the desperate and suffering, or frightened and alone people in the world- with those who are not. The opposing forces at play all around us in the world can at times overwhelm us. Life is filled with paradoxes that I am far too limited and humble to even attempt to explain or rationalize. So, how do I respond to these concerns in my own life experience as they touch me daily in my work? I try to do small things with as much heart as I can bring to my presence with others.
There is a sense of loving agency particularly close at hand as I seek Christmas. I feel that my life is an enduring Advent of persistent waiting and faith, noticing G*d’s presence and allowing it to draw me forward. But my life is also a continuing Christmas, incarnating divine light through my spirit, my presence and my deeds. There is a spirit of truth, and wisdom that touch my heart expanding my sense of my participation in everything and, everything’s participation in me.
So, I visit with a patient suffering from long-term illness that will eventually claim his life- it has already crippled him – and I offer him my whole-hearted presence. Sometimes, this means that I am light-hearted and playful drawing him out of himself. Sometimes, this means that I sit with him in an accustomed quiet until he speaks of deeper things. I know – because he tells me regularly – that having the use of his legs again is what he longs for. And he knows – because I regularly tell him – that if I could make that happen I would. And for now, we hold that painful reality in each other’s company. And in the spaces in-between we deepen our friendship and connection – a small yet meaningful truth for both of us. Somehow I know that this deeper truth and wisdom comes from the heart. And it is his heart that holds the promise of wholeness.
I pray that this Christmas his heart will be touched by the promise of incarnating light and that his spirit may help him to truly know that all of the best and most beautiful gifts of being fully alive are felt and nurtured in our capacious hearts. May he feel the enduring, sacred and deep presence of incarnated divine light in his heart!