"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Value in Making Peace with Mystery

By Micky Wolf
Mystery…something beyond our understanding

I confess. A series of unconnected events in recent weeks have made little sense to me. Which is just another way of saying “why”. You know the syndrome. Why God this? Why God that?

However, there is some good news in all this. When I find myself trying to figure things out—solve the mystery—it’s a sure bet I’ve slipped into my head. Which means I need to once again make peace with mystery. And that, fellow sojourner, is always an action of the heart.

What you and I consider to be mystery in our life can be unique to our personalities, our upbringing, the nature of the circumstances in our lives, those with whom we are in relationship.

At the same time, there are a multitude of ‘life mysteries’ that touch all of us, sooner or later. 

…Serious illness or death that strike with little or no warning. Mystery.

…Being passed over for a promotion at work—or worse yet, losing the job entirely—irrespective of competence, education, or experience. Mystery.

…Meeting someone for the first time—again—after decades of living separate and different lives. Mystery.

…Waking up one morning and realizing the life you’re living isn’t exactly the one you thought it would be, or planned for yourself, when you were years younger and shades of hair darker. Mystery.

We can expend a lot of energy trying to demystify mystery. Maybe the better choice is to decide to accept it, even so far as to embrace it, an action that is more than enough to open our hearts to experiencing the peace that has been there all along. 

All along? Yes.  

Like the lung that breathes in the air not of our seeing, so too is the reservoir of peace the Divine makes available to us. 

But as with the lung, we must be willing to let go, suspend our need to know, surrender our demands for answers and explanations; to breathe deeply of the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Mystery matters. It serves a valuable purpose. In God’s economy, it helps us remember that we are finite. And that while we are responsible for our choices, we are also not held accountable for the things permitted and comprehended within the purpose and plan of the Divine Will.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Swimming in the Stream of Change

By Micky Wolf
My beloved and I enjoy taking walks in our neighborhood. Without fail, we will be treated to at least one experience of change with each day’s jaunt. And not just those that relate to the four seasons.

Maybe it’s a new seedling tree placed with care among a section of perennials. Or a resurfaced driveway at another home. Then there’s the basketball hoop, the familiar marker no longer near the garage. Where did it go?

Sometimes we hear or see workman. Painting. Hammering. Digging. On other occasions we wave at neighbors mowing, trimming, or raking.

Rarely is the journey the same as it was the previous day or week.

Reminds me of the moment I was bent over our row of basil pots a few days ago, quietly gathering a large handful of deep green, luscious summer goodness to add to the pesto-in-process.

A low volume hum not too far from my right ear. Ever so slowly I raised my head—there, mid-air, the whir of tiny wings, luminous blueish gold points of light as it dipped in for a quick drink at the hummingbird feeder, and then was on its way.

We understand the changes in nature, although given most people’s busy lives, many of them go unnoticed. The ones that do get our undivided attention tend to be focused on those that have significant impact on our daily life. Floods. Blizzards. Extremes of cold or heat.

And yet, there are other kinds of change occurring moment-by-moment, hour by hour. Less obvious maybe, but no less meaningful and important.

These kinds of changes have to do with transformation—of the heart, the soul, mind, body and emotions—all the ways you and I think, feel, and behave. Unfortunately, we can be dismissive, even cynical, of these kinds of experiences.

“Oh, he’ll never change.”

“She is so slow to get it.”

“You’d think they would have learned by now.”

The truth of the matter is if we are open to transformation—change that will make us or our life better—we need to cooperate with the process as the Divine works within. Like a lot of things, we tend to want it fast. Read immediate gratification. When we go that route, we can miss the beauty, the delight of the moment, the details that make up the bigger picture.

In fact, we can spend so much energy and effort trying to see the bigger picture—the end result?—we forego the joy and the blessing that can only be experienced by savoring and tasting the now.

If the infant did not crawl, would it see the ladybug wending its way across the weathered plank of the porch floor? If the toddler ran but never walked, would it know the sensation of bare feet on warm sand?

If the intent of life is to see how big, how fast, how soon we can define, pursue, and accomplish a goal, like the swimmer who sees the water only as means to serve a certain purpose—how little peace or joy there will be in getting from one side to the other.

On the other hand, if the swimmer chooses to slip into the stream and glide along—actively observing and feeling the ebb and flow of the currents, noticing the shadings of the shoreline—this person will be the one who not only reaches the goal but becomes enthralled by the journey itself.

Transformation begins as we are born and enter this world and continues until our final breath.

What if we were to choose to see and feel this one life as a flow of moments with endless opportunity to grow and nurture an ever deepening relationship of love and intimacy, not only with the Divine who inhabits our being, but with those we encounter in the unfolding days of the journey? 

See you in the stream.