They mentioned that it was a private adoption, but they knew a little bit about the background of the adoptive parents and their first names, all of which they shared with me. It felt like a bolt of electricity had just shot through me. I was shocked by what I’d just heard. “I know them,” I gasped.
Posts tagged ‘spirituality’
I will never know if I would have gone through with ending my life that night, or if it was just a step I was taking in testing this option . . . moving closer to it to see if it still felt like the answer. I will never know because I have never felt that way again. . .
Last night around 11PM I quickly climbed outside my second-story bedroom window onto the roof that sits above the kitchen addition. The roof is narrow and flat and covered in rubber. I was in a hurry to shoot the full moon before it moved behind a stand of tall trees on its trajectory across the night sky. I am a 55-year-old woman with dimensions incompatible with squeezing through a small opening in a big hurry. I barked my shin on the way out, bumped my head and cursed that moon. Rushing and grumbling, I impatiently set up my tripod and took a few quick photos only to find that my camera settings were off. As I anxiously readjusted the ISO and F-Stop, that beautiful annoying moon slipped behind the treetops and hid from my view.
It was near midnight as I stood high above the earth, irked at the moon. Then I noticed how quiet the world was. How the air was soft and cool and the black rubber roof, still holding the heat from the day’s sunshine, was warm beneath my bare feet. I could see the neighborhood houses had closed their eyes, save for a few lighted windows winking at me through branches moving in the breeze.
Behind me, in the home I was leaning up against with one shoulder, my husband and children slept. Our big, sweet, retriever dog Baloo had followed me to the window. Looking confused as I squeezed through the narrow opening, he’d cocked his head from side to side, and was watching me still. With a heavy sigh I heard him plop down below the windowsill inside to wait for me. I took a deep, contented breath and did the same on the other side of the wall. And there I sat, like a happy gargoyle perched on the roof, inhaling the silence, waiting on the moon.
By the time she sauntered into a gap between the trees about 30 minutes later, I was calm and ready. I had a heart filled with love. Love of this home, this family, this neighborhood, the sleeping people, this night, this moon. I stood and put my eye to the viewfinder and seeing her full in the frame I said, “Well, there you are. Took your sweet time, I see.” She smiled and said, “Cheese!” as I clicked the shutter.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon
smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction flows
through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
Hamza El Din
This 'Way' of being in the world, of seeing the world as inherently good, of life as ultimately hopeful, and beautiful and sacred, is an exercise in flexing my ‘intention’ muscle every day. This loving outlook is an awareness I cultivate consciously. It is my spiritual practice of divine perspective. It is an intention of being a non-judgmental observer of myself and others. It involves, much of the time, my being unreasonably optimistic.
We often think the meaningful stuff of life will happen for us in big ‘Ah-Ha’ moments when we suddenly see what our purpose is, discover our passion or perceive why we are here so we can get down to the business of living our truest life. But what if because we are looking for what we assume it will look like, we are missing that it is already here, right in front of us?
Today, as I sat in my idling car at a red light on one of the coldest days in Minnesota history, I suddenly remembered a sunny summer evening sitting on the grass outside an elementary school down the street from our home. A school aptly named “Golden Years.” I was watching my youngest daughter wobble around on her little bicycle that had just recently metamorphosed from four wheels to two. She had begged me to take her to the park so she could practice riding on what she called the ‘pie’ court. She was referring to the tattered basketball court at the base of the sloping hill where I sat watching her ride; tanned legs pumping, brown braids flapping.
Round and round she circled the rectangle, carefully cutting corners and bumping over cracks in the tar where tenacious weeds found purchase and grew stubby and thick under the regular trampling of feet. As I watched her ride I began to wonder why she calls this the ‘pie’ court. It was obviously not round . . . I called out to her as she cycled by me; “Why do you call this the ‘pie’ court?” On her next pass she yelled to me,
“It’s because there is a pie in the middle!”
I looked, but I couldn’t see any circles anywhere on the court. “Where?” I shouted as she whizzed by again. This time she answered me well after she had passed by and I heard her words faintly trailing off, “It’s in the shape of the weeds!”
I looked again, this time really trying to see what she saw and suddenly, there it was. Not the pie I assumed I’d see–not the round shape with a big triangle slice cut out. No, the weeds growing in the cracks of the basketball court formed an almost perfect symbol for pi. Not apple pie, but mathematical pi! I was delighted to see it. My daughter was like a magician making something appear before my very eyes that wasn’t there a moment before (something children often do).
I hadn’t thought about that memory since that day a few years before and it made me feel a little sad. I realized there are so many details of my life that I will forget that are so simply beautiful.
I suddenly longed to remember all the small details that have made up this life of mine. I wondered, what if NOW is always the moment we were born for? What if every NOW contains the potential of living out our purpose, our passion, our reason for being? What if we looked at it that way, that we were born for this very moment in time, all the time? (Yes, even these moments in idling cars, waiting for lights to change.) I wonder, would we finally see the vast infinity of pi (even in the weeds) if we stopped looking so hard for that big slice of apple pie? I wonder.
Divinity in the Everyday
So what happens when we realize what we thought we were giving out of love, we were really giving in exchange for love? What can we do when we feel resentment or bitterness welling up over something we’ve given in exchange for less than what we expected?
Well, that’s the amazing thing about gifts of love–we can retroactively transform those past transactions into gifts by simply forgiving any perceived debt! We can just burn the invoice, tear up the bill, erase it from the ledger in our heart. The alchemy of this transformation is pure magic, and you and I, we are all magicians at heart.
At the time, I had been trying unsuccessfully for about six years to have a baby, so I asked him; “When will my baby be born?” After a moment, he shook his head, looked a bit bewildered and said; “Well, it’s not for me to question the information I’m getting, but I’m being told your baby will be born in January.” I said, “Really? January? As in two months from now?” He looked as perplexed as I felt and he nodded and said; “Yes. I’ve checked it several times. Yes, in two months from now.” Clearly, I was not seven months pregnant. We both would have noticed that!
Our every encounter with one another, all of our relationships in this life are holy. Each one has the potential to be a sacred exchange, whether it involves laughter or tears; a simple smile or even a sneer! We need only pay attention. There is so much divinity in the everyday if we have eyes that not only see but also perceive; if we can listen with ears that hear with an open heart. It is all gift. All of it. Keep watching, keep noticing, look and see beyond things. It really does expand your world.
I have set a trap in my front yard. The idea for it started a couple of years ago when I saw a ‘free’ sign scribbled on an old Adirondack chair while on a walk with my husband, Alan. Alan knows I cannot resist an orphaned chair. Soon enough he plodded back to where I stood admiring the chair and picked it up as I grabbed the matching footrest and we made our way home.
The old chair sat in our back yard for two years as an idea began to percolate in my mind. Finally, this year I set my trap. With the help of my bewildered husband, we laid fresh green sod on the chair’s seat and footrest. We built-up the arm rests and planted ground cover in them. We stapled chicken-wire to its sloping back and filled it with potting soil and upholstered it with hundreds of little succulent plants. We tucked the chair under the shade tree on our front lawn, right next to the sidewalk and waited.
My home office is on my front porch and I often get to witness the joy I capture in my trap first hand. It began with the children who often run ahead of the grown-ups on their walks. They are almost too easy to catch. With their fresh, inquisitive eyes and low stature, they are drawn into the chair’s whimsey from a block away and they easily ensnare their adult charges with squeals of delight.
The next to fall prey are the older men and women. Their un-hurried pace and seasoned gaze never miss the chair, and though they are not loud like the children, very much like the children they always stop and cheerfully go over every detail with wide smiles. Often I will capture the amused attention of dog walkers who notice too late the lifted leg on the chair’s footstool as they yank the leash and guiltily look up to the house. (It’s okay, I don’t mind!) New parents lazily pushing sleeping babies in shiny new strollers whisper their admiration.
But the hardest and most elusive prey are the joggers, with their headphones and determined, focused attention on the road in front of them. As I watched them pass by over and over again, oblivious to my joyful trap, I realized I had to do something clever to grab their attention. So, one beautiful sunny day I hung my parakeet’s cage from the tree, right over the chair. He sang and chirped his delight at being outside. “Irresistible,” I said to myself, “surely this will catch them!”
Soon I noticed a jogger coming up the street, she breezed past the bird and chair without breaking stride. I sighed. But, what’s this? She is circling back! She stands panting, smiling at the chair for a moment before bounding away again.
That’s what I love most about my trap, it’s a catch-and-release program!
While out watering the chair one day a man drove past, then reversed his car and pulled up next to me to say how much he loves driving by our yard on his way to and from work. He thanked me for creating the chair, for the joy it brings him.
And so it goes. Surprise, joy, delight and gratitude fill me too. Just one of the many ways extending even the smallest gesture of love comes full circle. Isn’t that just so beautiful, the way love works?
Mammaste, notice the divinity in the everyday!