I am going to post this blog. I promised myself that I would blog in 2011. I finally set this site up a couple of days ago, but couldn’t quite get it to look as I’d like. It still doesn’t, so if any of my tech-y friends want to help me, I’m all in. But, late though it is, I am keeping my commitment to myself to start a blog. Part of what has taken me so long is that I don’t often think I have anything to “say,” despite my friends who have pushed me to the blogosphere, insisting. But here goes. I can tell you now, that though I am a “scholar,” I am mostly and primarily a lover. And that–love/r/loving/being loved–is what this blog will (mostly) be about. I’m sure I’ll slip into occasional rants or academic-ese. I’m sure I’ll think out loud and write poetry here. I am, after all, a poet. But today’s reflection comes from my meditation and prayer time, and is more of what I’ve already posted on my FB page. I’m trying to learn the pieces of “social media,” (even when I don’t think these methods are so social sometimes).
Everyday on Facebook, I post a reflection based on what comes up in my meditation and prayer time. I am thankful for the discipline that has set in for this year in a new way. Sometimes those posts are as simple as I’m alive. Thankfully. Today’s reflection is about the highlights from 2011. My (former) pastor Frank A. Thomas asked me: What were your highlights of 2011? Some questions dig into you. That question was one that made me really consider how the year had gone. Years end, and often, my friends and I will ask, “where has this year GONE???” I feel some of that this year. But Pastor Frank’s question pushed me not just to think about how much of a whirlwind 2011 seems to have been, but really what I received in this year. And I am able to see even “losses” as gifts I received this year.
My “highlights” are varied and include strengthening my meditation practice which has served my life invaluably. Years ago, I read a book by Huston Smith on being zen and Christian. The book captivated me at the time and I begin to practice sitting and walking meditation, among other gifts from the Zen Buddhist tradition. I come out of a branch of Christianity that frowns on such syncretism, but I learned so much about myself, about the world, about the Divine when I meditated. I stopped along the way for fear, really, of not being “truly Christian.” But this year, when I decided as a Lenten Discipline to focus on the first part of the Serenity Prayer (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change), I knew I would need to meditate. I did it while watering plants, or sitting meditation, or walking the dog. At the same time, my prayer life changed. My prayers became less “give me, do this, do that” and became more centering, more focused on releasing my expectations, my disappointments and living into the moment (not as easily done as said). In the midst of all that meditation and prayer, I was overwhelmed by LOVE.
I begin to reflect on and try to practice love as a purposeful discipline. In the coming blogs, I might be able to say more about what that looks/ed like. But I began to embrace love with all it’s complexities. I paid attention to the cost of loving and found myself saying, “I can’t allow someone else’s fear OF love make me afraid TO love.” This statement comes from the possibility of having one’s love rejected. And still loving. I am learning to treat LOVE for what it is: the power that drives a life filled with purpose and that works for justice.
In the name of love, and on advice of my doctor, I got a true “road dog” and companion in Solomon, the Wise Yorkie. Solomon is a rescue dog, 5 years old. And he’s a “velcro dog,” given a chance always at my hip. He has two nannies who love him as much as I do. And he, too, has because my teacher about love.
I’ve had some amazing opportunities in 2011 that I never could have imagined just the year before. I’ve lost relationships that I had imagined were so rock solid that their loss took my breath away. I’ve also gained relationships that have watered my life with grace. I’ve recalibrated my expectations around call, vocation, ministry, and work in such away that I can live in the dichotomies and the paradoxes. Perhaps the biggest lesson LOVE brought to me was to teach me to honor my regrets, fears, and disappointments for what they are/were (teachers along the way). I’m not one of those people with “no regrets.” But I’m learning. And that is the gift of Love.
I enter this last day of 2011 with the SURE KNOWLEDGE that LOVE finds a way, always finds a way, is the way, always is the way. Love is the ultimate “human project.” It is “in this place, we flesh.” If I cross over into 2012, I will do so with Love. If today is my last day on the planet, I will have died in the arms of Love.
And so it is.