…when I lean over the chasm of myself—
it seems my God is dark and like a web:
a hundred roots silently drinking.
This is the ferment I grow out of.
from The Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke
trans by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy I, 3
I live in the Seattle area where spring is a mixture. One hour we are treated to sun and blossoms, blue sky, mountains and shimmering water. Literally, the next hour we are plunged into gloom and doom, whipped about by wind and drenched by an onslaught of rain, hail and snow. Natives, accepting this show as a struggle for primacy between winter and spring, don their coats and await the next hour.
I write on the Monday after Easter and the sun and blue sky reign. The blossoming trees surrounding my home call me to emerge from my writing-table and walk. Some traditions call this Emmaus Day and the expectation is to go walking where one can “meet Jesus along the way” and break bread with him, as described in the gospel story.
Our spring weather lately has awakened me to the experience of many who are stuck in the hour of doom and gloom surrounded by blossoms and blue sky and the expectation that they just get on with it and move into that hour of new life. They may be asking, “What is wrong with me that I cannot celebrate,” and they feel strangely out-of-place in this Eastertide.
Krista Tippett’s podcast, On Being, recently aired interviews with persons who experience depression and who professionally work with persons who straddle emotional seasons:
On Being https://onbeing.org/programs/parker-palmer-andrew-solomon-and-anita-barrows-the-soul-in-depression/
I found the podcast inspiring, comforting and helpful. If you do as well, be sure to pass it on.
May the promise of Easter enfold you,
Photo Credit: jcolman N00/3475838105″>The Olympic Mountains in morning sunlight via photopin (license)
For a while now I have been yearning to hear mention of the Common Good in the media and on the lips of everyday people. Today, it seems, the Common good is often equated with political correctness in America and is scorned as a weak liberal conspiracy to rob people of their rights. But, plain and simple, it is just kindness. May we begin a movement of kindness right now, today, within our circles of influence. **
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Naomi Shihab Nye
You can listen to Naomi read her poem here
You can hear the story behind Naomi’s poem here.
**Find an excellent explanation of a circle of influence here.
Photo Credit: HUFF POST.COM