Reflections on flood, rescue, love in action

What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood? — Buddha

Flood  (excerpt) — Janet McAdams

… Everything will disappear into this thick water,
into last night when we told each other
what we had kept secret for years.
It’s dangerous to dream along, to ignore
natural disaster. We point the car
toward the horizon, wanting to be a point
on its line, a place of motion, nothing more.


Once that water’s gone, they’re not gonna have homes to go to … I can relate, ’cause I’ve been there. — John Bridgers

Every cry, with the individual throb of suffering it expresses, is falling, cry for cry, not on deaf ears, but on the heart of God. If God is hidden, God is hidden within the suffering. —J. Gerald Janzen

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. — Martin Luther King Jr.

We have lived through a flood time of fascism and of the nazism which ran its meteoric course at a cost to mankind in suffering and waste beyond all computation. — Emily Greene Balch

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God. — Phillips Brooks


Trauma (Storm)
Gregory Orr
Hunkered down, nerve-numb,
in the carnal hut,
the cave of self,
while outside a storm
rages.
Huddled there,
rubbing together
white sticks of
your own ribs,
praying for sparks
in that dark
where tinder is heart,
where tender is not.

Meditations on Carrying Burdens and Putting Them Down

BurdenJudith McCombs
I am carrying
the bowl where she fed, bitter
herbs, salt, honey, the taste
of her life. I am carrying
the cloth where she lay, her
dark hair veining the white,
imprint & pain washed
away, the binding, the seams
folded shut.
I am carrying
what is left, her voice
in my ears, questions
not asked, her eyes at the end
jelling over & before that her dark
dreaming smile, her long
arms reaching for babies, her scarred
knees that I envied. Ashes &
shards after fire.
Wind
lifts in the bowl of the desert, takes
what is left. Moth
wings of ash flecking
the cold, shards
scattered on sand, filling
the tracks of the living
& dead, it is ended.
O mothers
who thicken the earth, be fed
& not angry, be shelttered, be
safe where you wait & do not
come back to the remnants
you left, do not
come back with your love.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King Jr

He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden. — Plato

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. — Charles Dickens

The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature. — Maria Montessori

The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction. — Allen Ginsberg

Humanity has the stars in its future and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. — Isaac Asimov

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. — Cory Ten Boom

No one knows the weight of another’s burden. — George Herbert

Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible. — Maya Angelou

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. — John F Kennedy


That Big, Old Rock. Excerpt from recap of Anne Lamott lecture by Barbara Falconer Newhall

That Big, Old Rock. … we think we have this big old rock to lug around. We wake up in the morning, and there it is lying next to us in bed. We stumble into the kitchen for a morning espresso, the rock goes with us. We go to work, it’s on our desk. We go to bed, and there it is again lying between us and that other person. Or between us and the dog, depending.

What’s the rock? All that stuff we think we gotta do. The things we should have done. And, crap, the things we never should have done in the first place. It’s the mighty to-do list of things it’s up to us, and us alone, to fix.

There’s a lot to love about getting older, Anne told her audience … We care about less than we used to, she said. [At an earlier age] you think you have to keep a bunch of things up in the air at one time. You have to squeeze in one more task before you get home – fill the gas tank or stop off at the convenience store. … you still want people see how good you are. You put off going to the optometrist because you’re pretty sure he’ll find out your eyes have gotten worse, in which case he’ll think less of you.

… One day it dawns on you that you might not have fifty more years to live. For all you know, you have just one more day. …

“Stop the train. Drop the rock,” Anne advised. And remember, “Where your feet are is sacred space.”

Meditations on “Spirit”

Advocate to be with you forever. … the Spirit … abides with you … will be in you … because I live, you also will live … I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. — excerpts from Gospel of John 14

Interrelationship — Thich Nhat Hanh
You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.

A Little Homily for the Holy Seasons of the Spirit  (excerpt) — Joseph Langland

Through all my childhood I often beheld ragged sparrows
flying upward throughout a series of lesser fallings,
beating their filmy feathers around the nest-clogged barn eaves.
Being no St Francis feeding among the field lilies,

I fell through tumbling air.
It is scarcely daring for birds to begin falling;
then grace is natural. Bedazzling flight
begins in descent until lovelier upswinging
embraces the side-slipping wings.
Then birds fly and heart skips.

Descent is good folly;
therefore, as it is sometimes holy
inasmuch as bird-natural worlds are an expression
in ranges of goodness and omnipresent wickedness,
of bright platonic otherworlds and omnipotent wills …


Adult life is dealing with an enormous amount of questions that don’t have answers. So I let the mystery settle into my music. I don’t deny anything, I don’t advocate anything, I just live with it. — Bruce Springsteen

The world is changed by your example not by your opinion. — Paulo Coelho

Even the smallest person can change the future … — JRR Tolkien

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one. — St Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Be mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. — The Talmud (303, excerpt)

Tikkun Olam — The Repair of the World: If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly, then it is you yourself that needs repair. — Menachem Mendel Schneerson

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. — Greek proverb

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” & “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever humans endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides … neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” — Elie Wiesel

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. — Albert Einstein

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others? — Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


Peace Prayer — St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit — Joy Harjo
Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If she sees you watching she will invite you in for coffee, give you warm bread, and you will be obligated to stay and listen. But this is no ordinary story. You will have to endure earthquakes, lightning, the deaths of all those you love, the most blinding beauty. It’s a story so compelling you may never want to leave; this is how she traps you. See that stone finger over there? That is the only one who ever escaped.