Another cold winter day in Connecticut….much of the state is closed down due to our February 5th snowstorm “Derby” and I am grateful to be home. Shoveling awaits, but for now it is great just to look outside.
I spent last weekend on retreat with my sister Mercy Associates, the theme was compassion and the interdependence of all of creation. We explored many images and ideas within the warmth of the retreat house and our love for one another. One image stood out for me…that of the “holon.” Think of a Russian doll, the kind that has a doll within a doll within another doll. Scientists are using the holon to describe our limitless universe or the complexity of the human body. Believers use the image to describe our life within the Divine.
And poets? Thornton Wilder, in his 1938 play, “Our Town,” understood this concept as he wove science and faith together in the following lines. They are spoken with amazement by Rebecca Gibbs, a younger sister of main character George:
“I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America…Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the mind of God – that’s what it said on the envelope.”
I’ve always loved this quote and have sometimes rewritten it in my mind with myself as the name on the envelope. Me, especially in my moments of self-importance, finding myself within the larger and larger circles of reality, until ultimately resting within the mind of God. Try that exercise for yourself…and discover the peace of letting go and being connected to each layer of life. Relax into the notion that your life is embraced, as a baby in her mother’s arms, by God’s abiding love. There is no expectation beyond trust. That is the invitation and the promise.
Thinking of you with love, Lisa
I write this message as the sun goes down on January 5th, 2014. The sky is hovering between grey and snowy white as it awaits the deep darkness that will soon come. Snow is all around the house on this cold Connecticut evening, but even the snow will be covered by the blanket of night.
I am in a place of expectant waiting as I think of you, because I know tomorrow is January 6, the Feast of Epiphany. I know the darkness will be pierced by the bright light of the dawn. I know the gift of Epiphany that brings light into our tender souls.
In Christian tradition, Epiphany celebrates the arrival of three kings or wise men to the manger of baby Jesus. This moment brings the birth of Christ to the larger world. Thomas Keating, OCSO, suggests that Epiphany might be called “enlightenment” in other religions. He says,
“Epiphany is the inward realization and consciousness of being identified with who we really are. We are not our false selves or egos. Kiss them goodbye. ….the most important aspect in life is the epiphany or revelation of God that is going on all the time in the details of life.” *
All the time…God is revealed in the faces I see at the grocery store. All the time…God is revealed in my car’s full tank of gas, my husband’s surprise gift on a cold winter day. All the time…God is even revealed in my impatience with a telemarketer, because I’m invited to respond as my best self to this other human being. God is indeed in the details of life as I have the opportunity, again and again, to discover and share Love.
Christmas provides a helpful context so we can see Love being born into our world. On Epiphany, Love breaks through convention and hierarchy. The streams of light brings a king to his knee and elevates the hearts of all who stop to wonder.
Can we pause, look deep within and see the flicker of Love in our hearts? It’s there. It may be wounded or wandering, it may be strong and steady, On this Epiphany, let us embrace the revelation, once again, that we each carry a divine spark. We “house” the Divine in our hearts. Together, let us nurture the light of Love and learn from it. Together, let us open ourselves to the unending source of Love
*Contemplative Outreach News, Vol. 30, Number 1, December 2013
Love to you, Lisa