an intimacy that connects love...

Now that there is some light at the end of the tunnel of Dianne's health problems - these past six
months have been filled with pain, anxiety and doctors, doctors and more doctors - she is beginning to feel increasingly healthy. We had had such high expectations about re-entering ministry and life after the sabbatical, but these were put on hold given her health woes. Only now are we able to reclaim the way of being that we had initiated in Montreal:  quieter days, simplified meals, the absence of television, greater devotion to music, art, the inward journey and taking time to love our family. 

I am so grateful for her sake that the pain is abating. But this shift has been soul food for me, too. Not only has it helped me reconnect with ministry, but I now have time to think and be happy in my own skin. Good thing as it will soon be Lent!  My heart is at rest knowing that the arc or worship has now been planned:  new ideas have been discussed, liturgies have been written and work on a Coltrane Good Friday is moving into rehearsal mode. Now I can concentrate on being connected with allies for justice and compassion in our small community. I can also focus on being present and loving with those most dear to my heart. Soon it will be the start of maple season and we're joining some of the family at a local sugarhouse for a birthday treat! Ironic, isn't it, how there is an intimacy that connects the love we share with those most precious to us with our ability to be compassionate in the world beyond our home? 

Today I saw this poem by the gifted Naomi Shihab Nye in a post by another justice and faith colleague and I knew it was all coming together:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Each day we are taking small steps to simultaneously declutter our little house of things that get in the way of simple hospitality - we want to continue to live here with tenderness - and declutter our hearts of distractions that keep us from kindness.  This picture from a recently decluttered book shelf in my study gives shape and form to what I am feeling - and it is all good.

Comments

Unknown said…
So very happy to hear that Diane is finally getting some relief from the pain and that you are feeling more grounded as well. I just wanted to pass along greetings from Howard - he is still in recovery from his recent hospitalization and mentioned wanting to take a drive up to visit with you in the spring if we can arrange the time for that. I will talk it over with my brother Tom who is now retired and see what we can work out.
I'm glad that even though you have stopped with TV you remain online - what a blessing to be able to keep in touch with the simple click of the keyboard even when separated by many miles and many years apart. When LOVE comes to town indeed!

Steve
RJ said…
Thanks, dear friend. I hope Howard, Tom and yourself can make a trip up here. Or, if not, let's find a time when I can come down to visit with you all. I so love being in touch but would truly cherish a chance to connect in the flesh. Keep me posted. Lot of love to you all.

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