Dear friends –
Sometimes, let’s face it, we all get overwhelmed. We just beat our fists into the air or against our legs or into a wall and we just feel like we can’t take it.
Sometimes, we want to be anywhere but just where we are. Sometimes we’re in a place that just isn’t another place. Another place where we feel or believe that we’d rather be.
Sometimes, we feel behind, as though everyone in our cohort, our class, our age, has passed on by, and we are trudging along, having so much trouble getting traction, getting what we hope for, getting even what we need.
I am not here to tell you not to need what you need, nor even, nor certainly, not to tell you to want what you want.
Your wants and needs are your own, and they are here, present, real. They are part of you, part of your makeup right now. And as such, they are sacred. They are sacred because they are part of you and you are sacred in every molecule, in every inch, in every ounce.
But sometimes, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself just feeling so hemmed in by needing to be someplace else.
Maybe your ministry, however you serve the world, isn’t where you’d like it to be. Or you’re not making the money you’d like to be helping support your household. Or you’re struggling in your relationship. Or someone you love is dying. Or you yourself are actively dying, facing the end of your life, and facing the question, “Has mine been a life well-lived?” And wondering, when you get the answer(s) to that question, what to do between now and the end.
There is always someplace else we could be.
But we are here now, my friends, and in a very real way, we are together. My fingers type on this keyboard made by hands and minds and people with hopes and hearts that are not mine. But they are inextricably bound up with me because it is through them—all of them—that I come to be here writing to you.
And you, yes you, the one whose name I do not know, who either has been reading these Reflections off and on for some time or is new to our group of comrades… to you, I especially say, I am with you.
We are caught up together. We are bound together by these words, by not only my heart and my thoughts, but also by all the decisions you made to bring you to read these words in your own way, with your own thoughts, with your own unique understanding.
The words I write are not the words you read. Most certainly not. They are your words.
Any preacher can tell you that! Preacher friends, am I right?
But our words, our thoughts, our reading and being read to, all of these bind us together. Any one of you is part of me, and we are all part of one another – and yes, I mean in the existence way, sure. In the way that my dear friend meant when he first said, “Being is the only game in town. And it is a team sport.” The universe is that town. There is no way to be alone because all of us are connected in that “garment of mutuality” the Rev. Dr. King made famous.
But you are not alone in many other ways. There are people you know and people you don’t, people who are thinking of you right now—I know you think, some of you, at least one of you, that it’s not true, but I guarantee you it is. I guarantee you they are. And it is in part because you are reading these words at this moment, at this place, at this time, and you are gathered together with everyone else who is reading these words at this time and in this place, this virtual space.
You could be doing something else, for sure. But instead, we are here together, you and I and all of us.
I say all of this to say this: Of course you could be someplace else. And you will be in moments, in hours, in days, in years…nothing of you will be lost. We are all worm food, my beloveds, and Earth will one day have Her way with us, no matter how embalmed we are.
So I ask you to turn toward your heart. I ask you to turn your heart toward that which is the Source of All Blessing, the Source of All Love, the Limitless Well. Whatever that is for you, however you call it. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Nuit, Aphrodite Urania, and the Star Goddess Whose body encircles the universe. But that’s just me. However you call on that Source that can be Male, Female, All, or None, I invite you to turn toward it and simply ask a question.
What is it in this moment now, that I need? What is the lesson or the feeling or the intimation or the sense of priority that I need now? If you, if we, need it now, then there is no other time we could have had it. Only this moment carries the unique gifts of now.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
There is something for you here. There is something for me.
I came to this page deeply unsettled. Deeply ashamed for not making my dearest ones as happy as I think I can—as they think I can. Deeply worried and anxious and feeling pretty terrible about myself. Deeply wounded.
But I realized that I am not alone in those feelings. And that by giving a small, tender voice to those feelings, maybe someone, maybe you, might feel less alone.
You are doing your best, my love.
It is a new day – or it will be when I send this out to you – and the moments of this day are filled with possibility. Even the moments of the evening when I typed these words were filled with possibility. Even now. Even now. Even now.
Even if all you can do is rest, it is enough.
If all you can do is admit that you’re frustrated and sad and afraid and angry—as I had to do today—that’s enough.
If all you can do is love someone in the silence of the deep sanctuary of your heart, it is enough.
So yes, maybe we feel as though others have “passed” us somehow. But they are always and only in there own “here” too. They have their own hurts and terrors of which we can only dream or speculate – and we really oughtn’t speculate, eh?
What is here now? What can you be shown that is here in this moment? This very one? What is most pulling on your heart to do? Can you do it, and do it with goodness and kindness? Really, can you?
Then by all means, go do so. Because these moments pass quickly, my friends. They pass all too quickly.
A thousand blessings—
PS – This edition of Reflections is in memory of Penn Ronson Weis, who was a friendly acquaintance of mine and a good friend to several of my friends. He died in his sleep this past week at the age of 41, leaving behind all manner of family. He was, as Odysseus is described in the opening of The Odyssey, a complicated man, a man of many turns. Beloved of some. Broken and whole. Making good choices and bad ones.
Penn spoke deeply with me a few months ago, “Because, Catharine, you know about God.” (Oh help! I thought, Oh help!) He spoke to me because he needed to tell someone how he had met God and spoken with Him. And how God had encouraged him, Penn, to do better in this life. And that Penn had determined he was going to do so. For the sake of the holy conversation he had, and for the sake of the generations after him, he would try to do better. I hope he knew that the Source of Love was with him in that encouragement, somehow.
Requiescat in pace et lux perpetua luceat ei.