Wednesday, August 29, 2007

funk and a flock of birds

I got a case of the last day's funk today. Sister Maria says good bye, she won't be at the final service tomorrow morning. The Gospel reading is about John's head being served on a platter, I am told it is the second year anniversary of Katrina and I think of how two years of misery have hit so many, and then at lunch my spirit buddy for the past 8 days, the hospice worker, who I dined with before silence, stops by my table to say she is leaving. Two good byes. I should be heading out myself at this rate, instead I am in a funk.

Playing in the pool, something I haven't done in years, is good but I still hit the sanctuary before dinner in a funk. A fear comes to mind so I chat with Sophia. I don't want to lose the gentleness she has provided. It has helped to bring my racing mind back into mindfulness. It has helped me go slowly into painful places.

She reminds me of what I read the other night at 2:00 am, "What the heart knows can not be forgotten."

There is a tree that is near death. I always look at this tree because it pulled me into deep gratitude a few years ago. I have been putting off spending time with it all week, but hey I am in a funk so why not head outside. I am standing on the driveway thinking sad thoughts but wanting to sit down. My older body says, "not on the road you don't." So I look about. There is one bench but it is occupied, but surely the woman will share the space.

She does and I find myself under a living Oak tree. It is thriving with insects that I can't see. Not leaving the bench I identify a black-capped chickadee, a tufted titmouse, a white-breasted nuthatch that so wants to be seen it makes me joyful, a downy woodpecker drums till I find it, a flicker comes over than shows off its white rump as it flies away, and even a ruby-throated hummingbird makes two trips into the Oak. I am trying to have sad thoughts but there are just way too many birds. Than the homily hits me. Yes, there are sad things happening like hurricanes, earthquakes, mine collapses, fires and deaths of trees and loved ones. I turn to my right and see the statue, which has come to represent things that need to die in me like blame, shame, and SHOULDS. I think of we do not react to those in need with the spirit of God. Two years and people still suffer on the Gulf Coast, but money and more money can be found for wars. And what have I done lately for the needy. Yes I am sitting between sad things and bad responses. But that's OK as Father Jack pointed out today for God's kingdom keeps emerging and if these birds are not giving me that message I will never get it. He said that the sin is to miss the emerging kingdom. At this moment I am doing OK.

Well, its the last night and more and more silence is being broken, which means I have had two very brief conversations. Tomorrow I will eat and talk at breakfast, than for the 8th straight day I will take the body and blood with this group which has prayed with and for me.

at some point I will have to pack.


  1. Welcome back! And yes, I brought my own mug on vacation, too...

    My regular director pointed me to that handy computer on the first floor when I needed to submit a column I'd written before my 8-days began.

    Grace and peace...

  2. Michelle- It was quite strange finding the computer because the day before I had looked in the same room and not found one. the blog didn't capture the entire retreat but the idea of blogging about it when I got home was overwhelming.


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