Monday, February 15, 2010

What will you bring into the desert?

So. How was Valentines Day for you?

True Confessions here: I was a bit disappointed, though as far as I can tell I have only myself to blame for that. Which means I need a good dose of my own medicine; need to spend some time looking at how I was contributing to my disappointment, assessing what I was really hungry for, understanding the commonality of that hunger, and then counting my blessings and breathing those blessings out into the world.

So I've been doing some of that. And it helps. But this was the image that came up this morning. So I'm thinking I'm not quite out of the woods yet. Because you can immediately see how adorable and irresistible these mittens must have been in the beginning. You can imagine how thrilled the little girl was to have them. But the fact is that the bloom is off this particular rose, and there's a lonely quality to this little lost mitten.

So what's the story of this mitten? Is it shabby because it got lost, or did it get lost because it had grown shabby? And perhaps more importantly, why did I take this photo -- and why does it call to me now? Are these questions I am meant to wrestle with, or are they meant for you?

I love doing this blog; love the whole process: the reading, the meditation, the exploration; love what rises up to the surface and dances across the page; love the way the Thomas meditations and the concluding poems provide a frame for the thoughts that arise in response to the day's photo. It's all enormously satisfying. But the fact is -- well, I don't always have easy or uplifting answers to the questions raised by the images, the readings, and the meditation. And some part of me worries about that: is it okay to let that confusion seep onto the page?

I suppose that's ego talking -- either I need to look like I have all the answers (though we all know I don't) or I'm trying to keep my readers coming back and I'm quite certain they won't if I whine (and what does that tell you!).

I think for today I need to just allow the picture to sit on the page; need to allow the questions to sit on the page as well. And I need to give myself permission to sit with whatever loss and loneliness -- or promise -- rises up in response. There is a part of me that -- at the first sign of trouble or discontent -- wants to rush toward solutions, to fix whatever is broken and move forward; that has trouble allowing me to just rest in the questions and feel what they have to tell me. My guess is, that's the same part of me that resists staying in the Now.

So here I sit, holding this image of a lost mitten. And now, stepping back just a bit, I can see the larger picture and realize: it's a perfect image to carry with me into Lent. So here's your first reminder: Lent isn't always about what we give up. Sometimes it's about what we take on. Looks like I'm carrying this one into the desert with me. How about you? What will you carry?


Maureen said...

I agree with you that Lent isn't always about what we give up. I also think it's important to acknowledge that there's a lot of life in a desert, if we but look. A lot hides there.

That mitten is just waiting to be reunited. It might sit there a good while, exposed to the elements. Who knows what path it traveled to get there? Funny thing is, if you pick it up and take it home and clean it and let it dry, you could match it with another also found, and have a pair. A single hand, though, can still do work. Don't we favor one hand over another? Doesn't that one hand, then, work a little harder than the other?

As I keep reading, it's a matter of perspective.

You might enjoy this essay on Merton:

Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane ... one reason for taking the picture of the mitten is because on that background, it is drop-dead gorgeous! One thing I'd want to take to the desert with me is your eye for beauty. Do you lend it out?

Louise Gallagher said...

Hello Joyce. Like you, I love the bloggin process, the meditation, reflection, writing -- and sometimes I struggle with what to write -- must I always be upbeat?

What I often find happens is in the writing of 'upbeat', no matter my confusion, or sense of wandering, or loss, I become upbeat. The proverbial 'act your way into a feeling'.

Your honesty never fails to inspire me.

And, I am taking my silence into the desert. My silence and my heart and mind opened to possibility.



Dianna Woolley said...

The joy of blogging keeps me coming back. It's rather difficult to those of have never participated in the activity nor have the notion of what richness and awakening it can bring. The lost mitten? I don't know if it's going into Lent with me or not but I'm all about "picking up something" in Lent so who knows this pink mitten may be just the thing! Thanks for always challenging my mind to go new places!