Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers / You’re welcome. You can stay right here. / You don’t have to go ~~Over the Rhine~~ Thanks to my friend Oscar Sinclair for introducing me to the words above. They are, indeed, a fine encapsulation of my hopes for The Way of the River.
Some of us belong to religious communities and have religious beliefs. Some of us fit right into those communities and feel wrapped in them as in loving families. Some of us find that the stated doctrine of our communities don’t quite fit us, but we stay for community, for justice, for comfort, or for history. We don’t find our spiritual yearnings entirely fulfilled there, though. We don’t know what to do, but we haven’t found it yet. And some of us just can’t jam our square peg of spiritual yearning into any round hole of religion.
Many of us are amazed at the Universe, at the miraculous way it works together, the spinning, turning, streaking, evolving, devolving Universe. We glory in the “forms most beautiful” (Darwin) of Earth. We know we are Earth-lings and we delight in that identity. We don’t feel bereft of religion. We just don’t buy it.
We dream in metaphors—the myths of individuals. We dream in myths—the metaphors of culture. We dream of peace. We dream of wisdom. We dream of humanity living on and with and in and as part of Earth in beauty and care. We dream. I dream. I dream these dreams. I have religious community, but it is far away on the other side of the continent where I live. And try as I might, though I “contain multitudes” (Whitman), I cannot find a community that can contain all that I am and have, all that believe and make, all that I am and create….all the Be-ing that I am.
Do I ask too much?
Maybe it is too much to ask that there be accessible communities where Spirit leads, where we practice prayer and meditation, where we prize ritual, and where the turning of the year is central to our understanding of ourselves as human beings. But I dream. I dream that we can create that space. That it begins here with us, here with our shared dreams and hopes, here with our motley beliefs and attitudes. And I have further dreams for us…. but they are tender and sweet, and I blow gently on them like the ember I hold gingerly like a wounded bird in the cradle of my hands. Time will wring the expression of that dream from me. For now, we are here, and it is enough. with so much love and many blessings on you and your house ~~Catharine~~