Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Reflection

I am in Niceville having a bit of a retreat. Of course, the real point of my visit is to cover caring for Rickey's mom as his sister takes a break. She and her husband are in Ohio visiting their kids and grand-kids for Easter. I'm staying in their house while they are away. It's a lovely home, right on a tiny finger of water that empties into a bayou then a bay then the Gulf of Mexico.  It is full of light and deep quiet. My favorite spot is sitting in the small rocker by a large window overlooking the backyard and water. I put my coffee cup on the sill as I watch the sun dancing on the leaves and the birds flying or floating or fishing. I also like doing my centering prayer in the same space. I've done this care-giving visit before, and I'm happy doing it again. Although Rickey's mom's mind is drifting away from us, her tender spirit remains happy and grateful.

Because conversations are so limited, I have a lot of time for reflection.  Knowing I would be missing some of the community aspects of observing Holy Week, I've come up with new ways to conceptualize these days. Thursday as I reflected about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, I decided to wash hers. Although she couldn't hold the thought, she was blessed and so was I.

Susan and Joe regularly take her to church on Sundays, but it is a bit too much for one person to do alone. On top of that we knew church would be crowded today because it is Easter, and crowds are disconcerting for her. Initially, I was a bit sad about missing this significant Sunday service. But on my early walk this morning I was struck by the fullness of life everywhere--the Red Bud at the end of driveway looking so fragile and so beautiful with its purple-pink flowers emerging from thin dark branches, colorful azaleas bursting out in bushes on almost every corner, and birds, birds and more birds filling the air with songs. Years ago I read a biography of the mystic Evelyn Underhill. One story recounted her anticipation of an Easter service, which she said was meaningful, but it was her walk home from church that particular day where she experienced the glory of God in the newness of life surrounding her every step.  I think that is my story this morning.  Not what I expected, but how like God to bless us in such unexpected ways.  May your Easter be blessed! Anna

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blinded by Minutia

I am being reminded of an important insight that led me to change my name to "he who does not know." It is this, I suffer from spiritual blindness.

Lately, I see it manifested as a preoccupation with minutia. My imagination gets stuck on this or that injustice or personal foible that I can't seem to forgive. Which leaves me trying to figure our whether or not I ought to do or say something. But I can find no clarity. My thoughts continue to swirl around these sorts of issues and my emotions trail behind or run ahead like a dog in a parking lot overwhelmed by a dozen scents.

The direction that I found at the time of my name change was to acknowledge my blindness and give my attention to God. Practically that means return my attention to the present moment each time I notice it slipping into a familiar rut. This required that I first become confident that God is present and creatively active in each new moment, a.k.a. new mercy.

New and creative are the key words here. Now when my brain slips into one of its old familiar ruts which are not characterized by new ways of seeing or creative responses, I want to let it be a reminder of my blindness. A reminder that my familiar preoccupations block me from turning to the source of all creativity.

The hard part, of course, is that creativity demands waiting and watching. Easy and automatic results in old and familiar. This is the contemplative path, orienting ones heart, mind, and imagination to a position of waiting and watching by becoming aware of ones attachments and automatic responses. And by so doing, making space to be surprised by the divine artist.

David Norling

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Mystery of Our Faith

In the Fundamentalism in which I grew up, there was little room for mystery. I don’t remember ever hearing a minister or teacher say, “I don’t know; I do not have an answer for that.” If they did not know the answer, some were even capable of making up something. Everything had to be accounted for in some tangible way. This created an unacknowledged yearning that I could not identify.

During my first Eucharist in an Anglican church, I heard “Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” It nestled itself in my mind and built a tent in my spirit. I struggled with understanding it.

Now, several years later, I have discovered that it was the idea of mystery that was missing in my understanding. It is coloring my perception of my life. Instead of beating my fists on Heaven’s doors for immediate explanations, I am learning to wait. The concept of mystery gives me ample room to walk around in my faith, and a place to ask questions that have no perceivable answers. 

-Susan Price

Blog Archive