Friday, May 16, 2008

Pain into sweetness

Summer did some sort of end run around spring and danced onto the island yesterday; after months of nightly frosts, the temperature is now 70 and still climbing as I write.

A friend and I met for coffee yesterday afternoon, then celebrated the change in the weather with a walk along the waterfront. Rejoicing in the sunshine on our shoulders and the breeze ruffling the water, we stood on the boardwalk, talking of this and that; of art and influence, faith and families while staring at the water below, mesmerized by the shifting patterns of light and shadow.

The subject of dogs came up -- she has two -- and I asked if she had read yesterday's blog, and she replied that it had been hard to find time to sit with the blog lately. There was the call of the garden -- new rhodies to tend -- and then there was that incredible risk you take if you choose to step off the treadmill for a minute or two: like some sort of Indiana Jones momentum problem, the body stops but the mind keeps going and gets wrapped around the wheel. "If I sit," she said, "I start to cry."

"That's okay," I said. "I love to sit. I can sit for two."

And then I read in Rumi this morning,

"Don't worry about transient things.
Think how the animals live.

The dove on the branch giving thanks.
The glorious singing of the nightingale.
The gnat. The elephant. Every living thing
trusts in God for its nourishment.

These pains that you feel are messengers.
Listen to them.
Turn them to sweetness.
The night is almost over."

.. and I thought, maybe we both have a lot to learn from our dogs...

But the poem continues on with a harangue, a wife who turns on her sermonizing husband, saying,

"Spiritual arrogance is the ugliest of all things're not as satisfied as you pretend!
...You talk about God a lot,
and you make me feel guilty by using that word.
You better watch out!"

No, perhaps I cannot sit for two: I barely have enough sit in me for one, before I am up and doing things again, worrying my to-do list like a dog with a bone. The problem is, there's no meat on those bones, nothing to feed me.

And so I sit again: I listen to the pains, watch God turn them to sweetness, and find in that process the rest and nourishment I need to take me through another day.


Anonymous said...

I don't mind if you're sitting for one or twenty, just keep writing and blogging. It helps me refrain from acting- out to acting-in. Merci!

Charlie Blockhead said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

two heads are not necessarly better than are amazing.