I’m sure I shall see…

Words echo in my head, some of them unhealthy thoughts.  But some bring hope where hope is needed.  In moments alone in the house last night, a chant from the Taize Community came to mind, and I repeated it many times, singing aloud to myself.  The song continues in my head today.

The song (of what I can remember):  “I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Yes, I shall see the goodness of our God, hold firm.  Trust in the Lord.”

The words are from Psalm 27, which begins, “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?”

Oh, have I repeated these words often!  Trouble is, I’m empty.  But I must continue to repeat; I believe, and I have hope.

I have just come from a 4-mile run.  The last mile I sang the song, over and over in my head.

“I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Yes, I shall see the goodness of our God, hold firm.  Trust in the Lord…

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Mourning Tragedy

This morning I gather thoughts to finish a reflection paper on my recent synthesis project. However, images flood my heart and mind of the terrible natural disaster that has befallen Burma (sidenote: the ruling military Junta changed the name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989–BBC News refers to the country as Burma, while American media choose Myanmar).  My heart hurts this morning; I grieve for those lost, for those without shelter or food.

This, on top of the monk protest back in September…

Why? O God, why? Over 22,000 confirmed dead from the cyclone, with that count expected to rise.  The Junta are slow to let aid into the country…people are dying, people are in need of care!

O God, where are you now?

light

On Grief, Part II: to fly away and rise again

fly away

6And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
7truly, I would flee far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness;

Psalm 55:6-7

Death is frightening to face, and confusing for those still among the living. In mourning we cry out and wonder why…and while death does not make sense, there is meaning in life. Sometimes, however, terror takes over. As I walk through grief for some situations in my life, I remember Psalm 55. In the cold shelter of a somber memorial at the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany, I read this Psalm. Tears streaming down my face, I mourned for the millions, and reflected on an unimaginable terror. Why did such horrible events take place?

My heart grieves tonight for several reasons–remembering and honoring the dead, my own wounded past, and putting to death some plans that are unattainable. But even in grief, I hope. On a walk today I noticed new life in spring, as little baby ducks swam alongside their parents. With a sigh I wondered about the cycle of life and death, both physiologically and spiritually for us as humans. Life and death. So complex, so confounding. Life does spring where once was death…trees grow, our hearts heal, new relationships form…

buds
While this photo is of tulip buds and not wheat, I am reminded of an easter hymn, Now the Green Blade Rises:

When our hearts are wintry,
grieving, or in pain,
Christ’s touch can call us
back to life again,
fields of our hearts
that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

Love is come again…that is my prayer tonight, that love may come again.  That I may face that which frightens me with courage, and that all who grieve this night may know the spring love rising from the earth.

Resurrection

opening up

It’s time to turn around and pay attention. It’s time for me to wake up, and walk in the morning light–to shed the dead in me for new life. Something in me has changed; there’s no going back, and I don’t want to go back to an old life of fear and doubt. Oh, there will be both, but they aren’t going to overcome me anymore.

It is Spring; life is rising from the ground. I’m re-created and renewed. Something has changed in my soul. Out of brokenness, I am free…with more love for myself, more compassion for others.  The Dalai Lama was recently in Seattle for a five-day event on compassion.  Addressing a crowd of 7,000+ students (including myself) at the University of Washington, he said we first must have compassion for ourselves on the inside–then this self-love propagates out to the world.  May this be so.  May we live compassionate lives…

It’s Spring.  And I’m gonna live it.

Memory

Memory

And you wait, await the one thing
that will infinitely increase your life;
the gigantic, the stupendous,
the awakening of stones,
depths turned round toward you.

The volumes in brown and gold
flicker dimly on the bookshelves;
and you think of lands traveled through,
of paintings, of the garments
of women found and lost.

And then all at once you know: that was it.
You rise, and there stands before you
the fear and prayer and shape
of a vanished year.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Praying with St. Brendan

I hadn’t heard of St. Brendan until a few days ago when I happened upon a series of prayers in the Celtic Daily Prayer Book (a fabulous resource). Here’s part 1, particularly poignant for me as I discern the next step in my life’s journey (from p. 179)…

Shall I abandon the comforts and benefits of my home,
seeking the island of promise our fathers knew long ago,
sail on the face of the deep where no riches or
fame or weapons protect you, and nobody honours your name?
Shall I take leave of my friends and my beautiful native land,
tears in my eyes
as my knees mark my final prayer in the sand?
King of the mysteries, will You set watch over me?
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You on the sea?

Christ of the heavens, and Christ of the ravenous ocean wave,
I will hold fast to my course through the dangers I must brave.
King of the mysteries, angels will watch over me,
Christ of the mysteries, when I trust You on the sea.