Beauty feels always like a thin place to me where things within and without touch and shimmer with depth and symmetry and meaning. This week, beauty arrived in my work as a chaplain giving witness to the tender, patient, love-filled ministrations of a husband gently caring for his wife ill with dementia. I arrived at their home just as he was in the midst of changing her because she had soiled herself. Listening to her weep in her frustration and powerlessness, telling him she wanted to die in her humiliation ~ hearing him quietly offer her words of love and reassurance, gently holding her through this ordinary occurrence in her decline. And knowing that this is not the first, nor the last time. This is just a moment where they are both seen with the eyes of my heart. Eyes that see her as he does ~as his precious beloved – beauty incarnate in the daily life of her ongoing diminishment. Eyes that see him as she does ~ her precious beloved whom she fully trusts to love her and hold through her struggles, fears and desolation. There is beauty in giving witness to this wholly/holy human moment, rich with love’s sacred meaning. And so, I find a way to gently share with them the beauty that I see with the eyes of my heart as I companion them on their journey. And, I see the tender way they look anew upon each other with great and growing love. And, I watch as they hear with the eyes of their hearts what I give witness to with my humble words. And somehow, we reflect and mirror G*d’s loving presence in this exchange . A presence that enters the world in relationship with all of creation shimmering with beauty and sacredness. Let those with eyes see! Let those with ears hear!
Balance for me is all about right relationship with myself. When I live in the knowing that I am not in control of the good or bad things that visit me, my loved ones and others, I experience an inner freedom that allows me to navigate my outward experiences. A freedom to live knowing that suffering and happiness / light and dark are parts of being alive and will arrive in my life to school my mind and heart. And knowing that these experiences come and go and are not permanent states. I am grounded in something more rooted and woven that tethers me to a living source. A source that invites me to be free~ to find refuge in my senses, to return to myself, to this eternal source within, allowing it to claim and calm me in the serenity of stillness. I am free to be imperfectly me ~ free to see the light and beauty in others ~ free to risk well, or poorly ~ free to enter the world soul first ~ free to live and love this day wholly – holy alive.
Hebrew and Aramaic scholars tell us, that in those languages the same word means ‘spirit’, ‘breath’, and ‘wind’. And, G*d’s name YHWH -pronounced Yahweh – is believed to be too holy to be spoken. And, YHWH, is comprised of aspirated consonants that, spoken, are the sound of breathing …the same sounds we make when breathing in and out. And therefore, the first and last thing each of us will say in this context is the name of G*d – G*d as the act and sound of breathing…. a beautiful thought to me ….what a generous G*d …. with a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive. Each of us, all of us, now, always, here, everywhere, awake, or asleep, whispering the name of G*d through our breath. What an ineffable and amazing piece of Grace ~ G*d with us in the ordinary and sacred experience of breathing to live.
I encounter this ordinary Grace in my work daily… even in the awkwardness of ppe (personal protection equipment) and distancing protocols …. just this week, as I guided the son and daughter of a dying man to touch him, anoint him and bless him as I offered prayers. Grace permeated our moment on the sacred threshold of life and death.
We stood on the threshold of differing realities … a thin place… and a sacred exchange for certain. G*d’s grace poured forth in an amazing and powerful way. Love in our offering to this man …. his two children claiming him as G*d’s beloved … birthed transforming love in return…. a sacred sharing of Grace received.
For me, Grace is this personal and intimate experience of unconditional, unearned, and limitless love and mercy. It meets me in the sacred ordinary moments of life and never leaves me there, opening my mind and heart to the ‘divine world of infinite abundance’.