When life bruises us

This morning the storm is fully evident, cutting electricity, disrupting ports and airports, blowing people and things astray, and causing damage. Storms of life…

One afternoon as I folded laundry, we heard a terrible thud against the patio door. I turned in time to see blue wings falling to the ground. A bird had flown into the glass. The children followed me outside. I half expected the bird to be dead, but she wasn’t. She was stunned and her right wing was a little lopsided, but it didn’t look broken – bruised maybe.

The bird sat perfectly still, her eyes tiny and afraid. She looked so fragile and alone that I sat down beside her. I reached out and brushed her wing. I sat beside her, unable to resist the feeling that we shared something, the two of us. The wounds and brokenness of life. Crumpled wings. A collision with something harsh and real. I felt like crying for her. For myself. For every broken thing in the world.

That moment taught me that while the postures of stillness within the cocoon are frequently an individual experience, we also need to share our stillness. The bird taught me anew that we’re all in this together, that we need to sit in one another’s stillness and take up postures of prayer. How wonderful it is when we can be honest and free enough to say to one another, ‘I need you to wait with me.’ or ‘Would you like me to wait with you?’

Finally she was finished being stillShe cocked her head to one side, lifted her wings, and flew. The sight of her flying made me catch my breath. From the corner of my eye I saw her shadow move along the ground and cross over me. Grace is everywhere I thought. Then I picked myself up and went back to folding the laundry.

Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits

Self-balanced

Very wet and windy this morning, the beginning of of a storm. The news today is full of agitation and uncertainty, including Brexit, Ukraine, migration and the lack of vision of  our “leaders”. Where can we find a firm ground?

O to be self-balanced for contingencies,
to confront night, storms, hunger,
ridicule, accidents, rebuffs,
as the trees and animals do

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

The real life within

You know that the seed is inside the chestnut tree and inside the seed there are blossoms of the tree and the chestnuts and the shade. So inside the human body there is the seed, and inside the seed there is the human body again

Thinkers, listen…. tell me what you know of that which is not inside the soul: Take a jug of water and set it down on the water – now it has water inside and water outside. We shouldn’t give it a name, in case silly people start talking again about the body and the soul.

If you want the truth, I’ll tell you the truth: Listen to the secret sound, the real sound which is inside you.   The One nobody talks of  speaks the secret sound to himself, and he is the One who has made it all.

Kabir

Darker Days

Every year we have been witness to it: how the world descends into a rich mash, in order that it may resume. And therefore who would cry out

to the petals on the ground to stay, knowing, as we must, how the vivacity of what was,  is married

to the vitality of what will be? I don’t say it’s easy, but what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world be true? So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east, and the ponds be cold and black, and the sweets of the year be doomed.

Mary Oliver, Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness