“So many challenges and confrontations have come at me this week” said a young pastor as she sat down in the Eremos glider. “I can’t see what I am needing to do or where I am going” said another. And “We just don’t have the funds to keep our Nonprofit going” said a member of a board of directors with tears in her eyes. And still another looked down in shame and said “the fear I have around my studies has broken my covenant with God”. So many stories this week of confusion, loss of centeredness, and of anxiety have broken my heart as I listened.
In his book entitled Confessions, St. Augustin of Hippo wrote the following:
What does love look like?
It has hands to help others.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of others.
That is what love looks like.”
A new year begins reminding us of the cycle of life – we are always beginning again.
Each new year is an invitation to be open to new possibilities, new challenges, and new experiences. Like an empty canvas, this beginning invites us to express what is deepest within us, to stand back and see where the next step in creating our work of art will lead us.
“Will you hold the darkness with me this Advent?” was the question I posed to the members of Eremos’ monthly contemplative groups. Something about that invitation struck a chord within people. And when they discovered the invitation was to join me virtually and thus eliminate the stress of driving in Austin traffic, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Like so many people, I have been wondering how we can all heal once a new president is elected. With such a divided country, some people are going to be disappointed, frustrated, and perhaps disillusioned at a minimum. Others will be excited, hopeful, and ready to celebrate.
Horrendous floods, devastating tornados, blistering fires, violent earthquakes – is Mother Nature raging at all the abuse she has suffered through our lack of compassion for the earth?
How does ‘Mother Earth’ survive the high levels of pollution our factories and automobiles spew into her air? How do her rivers, lakes and oceans survive the waste people so thoughtlessly throw into her waters? How can she breathe when forests are stripped from her soil?
What an amazing gift—to sit and gaze at the beauty and simplicity of a maple tree!
While on vacation, with time and space to be truly available to Spirit, the words of John of the Cross came to me:
Silent music, the murmuring solitude, the supper which revives, and kindles love.