et lux perpetua…

Today during our Hospice team meeting, we stopped at the 10 o’clock hour to honor the lives lost in Parkland, Florida just two weeks ago. Just two weeks…

I re-lit our memorial candles to read the 17 names. After two or three names, I could not go on. So I passed the paper to a co-worker… and to another… and then we stood in silence. And tears.

At my regular team meeting, I read the names of recent deaths, and we have a moment to honor them. Sometimes I get a lump in my throat and feel a little sad. The stories and lives of our patients affect us deeply. We know we are in a sacred work.

But this… this was so very difficult. So very, very different.

This was random.
This was evil.
This was violent.
This was full of pain.
This was senseless.

Right before I blew out the candles, I said to my teammates, “May their lights continue to shine.”

Indeed.

…et lux perpetua luceat eis…

And let perpetual Light shine upon them.

Amen.

On the needles

Recently a family member had an outpatient procedure. We rushed to get out the door on time. Rushed to the office, only to be parked in the waiting area. After the prelims were done I had a lot of time just sitting alone. Waiting. Usually as I “hurry up and wait,” I’m knitting. And that was how I spent my time that day. (My other reflective crafting is coloring, but that’s a little unwieldy for your average waiting room chair. So I knit.)

I zoned out. I prayed. I tried not to worry. I counted the folks who got there ahead of us and hoped that I might hear some news soon. I wondered about the results. I thought about all the “what ifs” and “whens” and “what’s nexts”. And I knitted…

Now, if you’re a yarn snob, you’d recognize that the yarn on my needles is that commercially made “homespun” yarn. It’s acrylic. And I hear your eyes rolling. Can I be honest? It’s soft. It’s soothing. It feels sweet under the fingers. It washes and wears beautifully. And… it’s affordable. (This is especially true because I’m knitting from my stash this year.)

And as I sit and try not to stew, it comforts me, because its soft warmth covers my lap and my jittery nerves. Knitters and our crafty cousins, crocheters, keep our hands busy while the blur of the waiting room goes on around us. Usually, with knowing smiles, we check out each other’s yarn, needles and bags. On this particular day, a fellow knitter looked over and smiled, and moved into an empty space near me. We shared a chair between us for our  work bags.

Finally, she broke the silence. She said, “I knit to stay calm.”

I smiled. “Yes, me too!” I answered. “And I try to remember to breathe. And pray.”

She nodded sagely. We both return to our work… counting rows and stitches… praying… waiting… knowing God is there.

k3p3k3p3… k2tog… k 2 rows…

Time moves slowly. Three rows done. Twelve… I start a new ball, and am mid-row when I get the word… All is well. Procedure done. Recovery room soon.

As I let out the breath I had been holding unconsciously, my sister knitter smiled. “Good news?” she asked.

“Yes… good news…” After a pause, I said, “I’m glad you were here… It’s good to have company while you wait.”

“Yes, and someone praying beside you, too.”

Yes, indeed. Can’t ever have enough of that. The next time I’m in a waiting room with you, please know I’m praying for you, too.

Deep Peace

John Rutter’s setting of the Gaelic blessing, “Deep Peace” is playing in the background. I have finished some writing, some house cleaning, put away the laundry and reviewed my calendar for the week… and have a few moments to just sit and Be.

At the silent retreat last month, I had opportunity to do some journaling and praying. My prayers were answered, though not how I expected. Not at all. And yet as I re-read my journal entry, I realized the words were still true:

In God’s silence, in God’s seeming inactivity, so much is going on. Just like the frozen pond in winter, with the peepers and fish buried deep in the bottom muck, things may be still, but they are forming. Within me, there is also — a deeper, cognitive, spiritual and intrinsically peaceful level of change in my soul. 

Would I have known the depths of a yearning for this as-yet unknown Call had I not been still enough to hear it? The quiet is unforced, just as God’s leading, not changed by my wishes but shaped by God’s wisdom.

There is comfort in knowing this… deep within, All is Well. There is so much NOISE in keeping Silence. Well, non-noise, really. And in all of this non-noise, there are reminders of life and hope and peace… surrounding and filling me. There is so much to hear that I can only BE in it.

lichen

I know this Deep Peace, though I have no way of explaining it… only being IN it. Though I still wrestle and complain, (and yes, ask my ‘WHYs’ and ‘WHY NOTs’) I still walk in a place of abiding Love.

I share all this because, I suspect that you, who stumble onto this blog, have your own questions and doubts just sitting there, too. And I believe, down to my toes, that even with unknown answers, it is Enough to just Be. Here. Now. In the Presence of the Divine…

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

Back-to-Something-Else

Back to my desk

For the first time in 21 years, neither one of our daughters are going back-to-school. Both are college graduates. Both are making inroads on the job market. Both are strong, lively, caring young women. But there’s no “Back-to-School” this year. It’s now “Back-to-Something-Else”!

From their public school days, I don’t miss the homework assignments that the student does not understand. I don’t miss the “creative” book report assignments. I sure as hell don’t miss the group projects. (And I suspect my daughters would agree!)

There’s plenty of appointments on my calendar. But there’s no dorm room to fill. No sweaty elevators or staircases. No jaunt to buy desk supplies or refills for the printer. No awkward good-byes (and tears by Mom in the car on the way home). 

I gotta tell ya, it feels a little weird. 

Ok, a lot weird. But in a good kind of way. 

Now our years now fall into the natural seasons of Creation. The year doesn’t reboot in September every year. Instead, each new day is a new start. 

I’ve put a new practice back in my life called The Daily Examen. You can use the website or an app (scroll to the bottom for the links). You can write out your own questions for daily reflection. It doesn’t matter how as long as you do it. 

When the house is quiet in the evening, I pause and do a mental reset. I wait. Sometimes I worry. I pray. Sometimes, I rage. But always, I feel re-engaged and ready for sleep. 

So whatever your fall season brings, I invite you to embrace it. With questions. With honest reflection. With integrity. And then with action. 

Monday Prayer

2013-02-08-13-52-20

As dusk arrives,
I light a candle
and offer a quiet prayer
for all those who hurt
for all those who are angry
for all those who are hungry
for all those who are dying
for all those who are weary and still working
for all those who question
for all those who are judgmental
for all those who feel disenfranchised
for all of us
for all of us
for all of us
for all of us

God of the heavens
for all of us
hear our prayer
Amen.