Friday, May 9, 2014

Momentary Awareness

There’s a kismet that follows me around all my days that is often fodder for these writings. Though clarity on these expressions of grace doesn’t happen often, when it does, I have to share.

It’s typically when I am down and out--for any reason--that something or someone either touches me on the shoulder or swats me on the head, depending on how delusional I am.  This go around, I got a swat by none other than Rumi, à la Coleman Barks: a poem called “The Guest House.”  Waiting for me after weeks of having put the book down, my bookmark was in the page, and the poem there spoke directly to me in the moment.  This kind of breakthrough happens for me with the Bible or with material I’m reading or discussing for class, or a conversation with friends or family, or some sort of discovery while I research, that sort of thing--but this came up to me and engaged me in a most unusual way, as I felt particularly drawn inward by sorrow, by rumination of what ifs, knee-deep in discernment.  It was startling to read.

The poem:

I’m feeling especially human these days, and this poem reminded me of what that can mean, but also what we don’t want it to mean: the rude houseguests that are our emotions and flaws, sorrows and insults, doubts and misgivings, invading us. To entertain them, to laugh at them?  Someday I want to be able to do that with relative ease. Today may not be that day, but I am finding appeal in the idea of these rude guests “clearing [me] out/for some new delight.”

Better yet being grateful for such things--for the “dark thought, the shame, the malice”--is probably the single-most cherished ability I seek. To meet sorrow and joy with equal measures of gratitude. Somewhere inside of this oxymoron is truth. Somewhere outside of it is God, waiting to open the door.