Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Extra Love

Like many of you, I am trying to make sense of the times we live in, and am not quite sure there is any sense to be made. Too much thinking. Too much reacting. Too much fear. Too little prayer/contemplation/stillness.

I am making my way (slowly) through Richard Rohr's book, The Divine Dance. After several attempts to sit and read, I finally understood it would be most helpful for me to take tiny sips, over a long period of time, rather than one, long gulp. There was a lesson for me in that realization, that applied to so many other areas of my life. The whole idea of forward momentum. The idea of chipping away at something, even if for 5-10 minutes, rather than waiting until I "have more time." Sitting in quiet for three minutes, is better than zero. Reading five pages, consistently, day after day, will put me in the same place - at the end of the book, but probably not at a place of "completion."

Last night, I dreamed I was driving, and the steering wheel completely came off. I saw that the screw had fallen on the floor by my feet. I put the car in park, set the emergency brake, and asked the passenger, to please hand me the Leatherman from the glove compartment.

A Ph.D in psychology is not necessary, to understand that at least one meaning of the dream, is to take my hands off the steering wheel, and to ask for help from the "passenger."

Yesterday, I had spent six hours with Wil and his buddy, and they were delightful. They were also very chatty. And they spoke to me, concurrently, on (at least) two different topics at all times, while I (not the best driver in the world) was attempting to drive them all over town. The combination of multi-input stimuli, over a large amount of time, about blew all my fuses.

When the day was over, I put on comfy clothes and was going to go downstairs and pour a glass of wine. Wil was in the room at the top of the stairs. "What are you getting?" he asked. "Is it easy? Does it need cooking?"

When I answered him that yes, it was easy, and no, it did not require cooking, he said, "I'm all ears." I told him I was going to get myself a glass of wine.

"I'll get it," he said, and ran downstairs, returning with a glass and the bottle. "I'll pour it, " he said. He filled the glass beyond where I showed him with my finger, then added a splash more, "for extra love," he said.

Richard Rohr calls Mary, the model of contemplation. She allowed. She wasn't steering. She used her tools to keep herself on the road/path, while never "knowing" just where it would lead. When she got stressed and over-whelmed, she turned to her Son for some extra love.

Amen.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Remember Me



I am lucky and proud to call artist Candace Primack, a close friend. Her oldest daughter was in Wil's small afternoon kindergarten class, 15 years ago, and a friendship was born that has grown through the years into something I cherish, deeply.

I have been buying her art for many years, and with each additional piece, my home looks and feels "better." I see new objects and images with time, I develop a relationship with each piece that grounds, comforts, inspires and delights me.

A few months ago, Candace had an open studio event, where people were going from studio to studio to meet local artists and purchase their art. I walked into the studio and saw, probably not for the first time, but for the first time, "Remember Me." It hung high on the wall amidst many others, it was big, beautiful, and spoke loudly, to me. What drew my eye first, was the "happy cup," the red "cup" with the "handle" and the "happiness" coming from it. Few things make me happier than my daily ritual of perfect coffee in the perfect mug.

I made the impulse decision to buy the painting, and Candace and I worked out the arrangements. It wasn't until we took it off the wall and put it into my car, several days later, that she told me the name of the piece, written on the back. "Remember Me." I knew without further explanation, that the "me" was me and not anyone else. I knew it in a way that dropped deep, yet was quickly forgotten in the life so many of us have: taking care of others. Between the duties and responsibilities, the day-to-day minutiae that can easily consume our best hours, it is easy to forget, and hard to remember, me.

I was with Candace the night before the Inauguration. We met with two other soul sisters and spent a couple hours in prayer and soulful discussion, about what WE can do, and what we can do. About hate. About love. About fear. About hope. About change. About resistance to change. About challenges. About acceptance. About division. About unity.

The subject of Candace's art came up, and she reminded me, again, of the name of my new piece. "Remember ME," she emphasized, pointing to me, "not Remember Me," pointing to herself.

I can easily look around and see those that have forgotten everyone but themselves. Those that have no problem remembering to look out for themselves and their self-interests. Can I, though, figure out how to remember myself? To discern what it most important to me, and to concentrate my time, attention and efforts into that, and not spread myself so thinly over everyone and everything that asks me to, that what I most value gets short-changed?

It's easy to remember all the others that clamor for our attention, "Remember me! Remember me! Remember me!" is a silent chant that thrums through our beings. The partners, the spouses, the kids, the pets, the elderly parents, the friends, those in our communities in need of help, our larger communities, our country, our world. All are in need of our love and attention, in a big, big way. That's just a fact and it's never going to change. There is no end to the needs and demands of others. There is no end to the number of people and worthy causes to whom and which we feel called to serve.

Fortunately, there is no end to our capacity to love.