Sticking with uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – this is the spiritual path.
– Pema Chödrön
So much uncertainty. I have tried to write but it is hard for the words to form sentences. Living through this moment in time, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
I try to stay busy. I gratefully speak to my mother and father and sister each day (and give thanks for FaceTime). I call my brother far away. I stay in touch with friends. I sit on my new screened-in porch. I watch winter move aside for spring.
But I cannot plan. I stay in each moment knowing it’s the only moment I have. There is no illusion that everything is OK. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. I want to do something but what. I want to have hope but how. I see nature’s beauty around me and want to share it. Now is not the time but when.
We all want answers. We all want solutions. Answers and solutions are not easy to find right now. Be gentle, be honest – one day to the next.
Grateful for this wisdomfrom Diana Butler Bass:
“Living in the present moment is a skill and a grace. There is much wisdom in Jesus’ words: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).
Advice: Don’t do more than you need to do. Address only what needs to be addressed today. The best thing most of us can do is to stop the spread by distancing, advocate for those who may be most endangered, and provide what help can be given to neighbors. Otherwise, a virus pandemic is not something we can control or fix. We can manage one day at a time, one step at a time. Breathe.
That’s what I know and my big advice. Feel what you feel. Mix in love and gratitude even if that seems hard or impossible. Take responsibility for by what you can and don’t try to fix what is beyond your control. Embrace the day.
I rise to taste the dawn,
and find that love alone will shine today.
With delight and gratitude I greet this day. One year ago (by date), my companion- Angela- and I arrived in Davidson with a mattress for my new bed frame, a coffee maker, a card table (two chairs included) and an air mattress. The beginnings of a move like no other.
It was a spacious apartment prior to the arrival of the rest of my ‘home’. We had all we needed to settle in — just in time for my mother’s surgery. For the next few weeks there would be little time in this apartment. Enough to sleep, freshen, open a few boxes and return to the hospital. I spent many evenings by mom’s side as she began her determined recovery. Each night I would return to my new home in awe of its welcome and grateful for my companion and the quiet space.
I pause to feel the presence of grace at this sunrise. The past year was filled with the challenge and joy of settling and resettling. Living near family has created a welcome calm and delight. With both my sister and my parents the spontaneous moments for a glass of wine or evenings together to share dinner have been a gift- a gift of Time never taken for granted.
“I rise to taste this dawn…” Aware of its announcement I welcome the warming light with gratitude for all that makes a place – home – family, friends and a sense of belonging. It is here that love shines.
It is an anniversary–14 years ago today, September 11, our sense of peace and security was shaken to its core. There are few people in this country (born before September 11, 2001) who do not remember where they were on that Tuesday morning.
I can picture exactly where I was as news began to report the attacks in New York, the Pentagon and the plane crashing in a Pennsylvania field. Working as a chaplain in a large teaching hospital, I was always on high alert, prepared to respond to unspeakable traumas every day. This particular morning the routine had been normal — it was time for a cup of coffee, after making first rounds in my assigned units. Sitting with another staff chaplain, we begin to notice small clusters of people gathering to talk about airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Not in my wildest imagination could I have considered what was to come.
So many people tell a story of how his/her life was changed on that day. The natural response was to search out and contact love ones – to hear their voices or see their faces. On that morning we; myself, my brother and sister, were waiting for our parents to return from a two-week holiday in Paris, France. Their flight was to land in Newark, New Jersey sometime mid-morning. In the blink of an eye their return became a big and scary question. No one knew where these lethal planes had originated and waiting for that news would seem a lifetime. What could we do? How would we find our parents in the midst of such chaos? Mom and Dad had been with my aunt and uncle during those 2 weeks who were still in Paris. I called my uncle’s office, spoke to his secretary and gave her information on how to contact me when/if she received news from my uncle. I then called my brother who lived in Alexandria VA working as a chaplain at a private preparatory school. My sister-in-law answered the phone from their basement. The next exit from their house was the Pentagon. The ground around them shook as a plane crashed into the Pentagon’s walls. The noise of rescue vehicles and helicopters filled the air near their yard and home. Now there was concern for our parents flying around New York and for my brother’s family so very close to another attack. A call to my sister brought some comfort; she and her family were safe, alert and aware.
It was not long before we knew that the planes used for these horrific acts were domestic flights. They had left American cities on course to attack other American cities. Who could do these things? As the day unfolded news began to report that these actions were planned in middle-eastern countries, far away – by people known as terrorists (a term that would become all too familiar in the days and years to follow). Even hearing these details, the question remained — where were the international flights – where were our parents? It was late morning before my pager alerted me to a call from my uncle’s office with news. Mom and Dad would not be landing on American soil, not on that day nor many days to follow. Their plane was on route to an Air Force military base in Gander Newfoundland. Along with many other international flights they would land and remain in Gander for several days while they waited for clearance. A book has been written about this small town’s big heart telling of the important work they did as a part of the 9/11 rescue.
As the afternoon waned, the same chaplain and I met again stunned and confused by all that had happened since morning. We knew the long, difficult and emotional work began to recover all the injured and honor all who died. Feeling helpless, we talked about who might need our prayers and support at that moment. We soon found ourselves in a professor’s office at the school of medicine. He was a Muslim and he was sitting alone, feeling the enormity of this day. In silence, we shared prayers for direction and peace.