Back home...

We're back home after five days in the Eastern Townships of Quebec ~ a place we are coming to LOVE in so many ways ~ and I am at the close of my vacation part two.  There is lots to share ~ from our time away to reflections on both the Republican obsession, dare I say fetishization of, the market place in an idolatrous way and the grandeur and grace of Michelle Obama's speech tonight ~ but let me focus on this:  it appears that this is going to be a season of tears for me.

For some reason the flood gates have been opened within me and moments of joy as well as deep sorrow evoke tears upon tears upon tears.  As the old saying goes:  when the student is ready, the Buddha will appear.  Well, I guess I am ready - especially given my emotional delay after my sister's death - to feel a variety of truths at an ever deeper level. While in Canada, I came across a new book by Ralph Heintzman about reclaiming reverence as the key to healing/transforming/changing religion in the 21st century. (Rediscovering Reverence: The Meaning of Faith in a Secular World, McGill University Press.) I think the author gets it right as he makes the case that not only have modern societies LOST the very idea/notion of reverence, but this loss has caused our souls and imaginations to atrophy

Reverence conveys a human attitude of respect and deference for something larger or higher n priority than our own individual selves; something that commands our admiration and our loyalty, and may imply obligations or duties on our part. In a gesture of reverence, either physical or mental, we acknowledge superior worth, our relationship with it and our potential obligations toward it. Reverence results from humility...

In an odd and unexpected way, I am realizing that Beth's death has awakened a growing awareness in me that I want whatever days I have left to be filled with compassion and quiet tenderness.  I want to share this with my loved ones, my congregation and my mates in music making.  Heintzman quotes Buechner about the emptiness everyone carries within and his word speak to both my soul and something I sense about this moment in time:

Each of us... carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness - a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right in his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangements, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation or the lonely crowd.  Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness and I believe that this is in itself a word from God, that this is the sound God's voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him.

This rings true for me ~ in my prayers, in my tears and in my reflections ~ and this prayer from my readings in the Iona Community gets it right ~ as does this tune by John Martyn:

God says: I will woo you,
and lead you into the wilderness to speak to your heart.


Philomena Ewing said…
Glad to have you back home with so much love still burning in your heart.
RJ said…
Thanks, dear friend.

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