Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘Light’

Leaving the Dark Forest

Just on the Edge

~~~ Part 3 ~~~

One day as you are walking you notice something is different. You are no longer fighting with the dark forest. Either you get to the other side of the forest or the forest itself lifts from around you. You gradually begin to see brightness. The heavy forest foliage is thinning…tiny beams of light are making their way to you.

Not sure if it will last you search for the source of the light. Sometimes the light and the darkness dance with each other. Sometimes they play tug-a-war with each other.

It is clear that the light is becoming stronger. The light wants to lead you to a place of even greater light. Part of you finds comfort in the dark forest. Part of you detests the dark forest. Part of you wants to hold on to the somber feelings of the forest. Part of you wants to run joyfully through the field of flowers singing at the top of your lungs.

You eventually come to that moment when you realize that the person you miss and love wants you to experience joy. They want you run through the fields of flowers. They want you to hear the birds singing again. They want you experience the joy of a butterfly in flight.

I want to leave this dark forest behind. It has been exactly one year…365 days since we lost a special person. She is beckoning me to come be with her. She is not in the dark forest. She is part of the light. She is the child running through the wild flowers with total abandonment and joy. She is in the melody line of the bird’s song. She rides on the wings of the soaring butterfly.

If I close my eyes

I can almost feel her beside me.

To leave the dark forest is honoring a loved one’s memory much more than staying there.

You cannot really live in the dark forest. That is why it is so dark; life in there barely exists.

You cannot grow amidst decaying debris.

Emerging from the forest initially feels odd. This forest of grief has become a way of existence…notice I did not say living…just existence. When you come out and begin living again…living in the light…living in the joy you feel clumsy.

But when it happens and you leave the dark forest you keep walking deeper into the light where the flowers are blowing in the breeze. I know this is where I should be…this feels right…I can feel the sun smiling and warming me heart. I can hear the bees buzzing from flower to flower. I can enjoy the freedom of the butterflies.

I can appreciate the beauty surrounding us. I can hold her with me every day. She is a part of my heart and not even the dark forest can take that away.

As St. Paul wrote so well…Love endures all things, believes all things….Love never fails. Recently while sitting quietly in church I experienced a rush of deep peace and joy entering into my body. It was so strong that it almost had a tangible effect on my body. For a moment time was suspended. I wanted to hold on to the feeling but it was gone almost as quickly as it had appeared.

I firmly believe it was my friend letting me know it was time…

If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one I urge you to trust deep in your soul. Trust that you loved one does not want you to be sad. Believe your loved one wants you out in the sunshine. The dark forest is no place to build a permanent dwelling.

I look forward to the days ahead as the dark forest gets farther and farther back in the distance. This journey has changed me forever. If nothing else I now have a much better understanding of the whole process.

We all experience deaths in our lives all the time.

Sometimes these deaths are not even people we love. You can experience death in a relationship, even a broken promise. Writing about this process carried me to the edge of the forest. Writing kept me grounded while enduring the dark forest. Writing encouraged me to keep moving on.

In Memory of my dear friend.

I will always love you.

May you dance among the angels forever!

New Life is Possible

Out of the rubble of death and devastation new things erupt.

Recently as I entered into our newly enlarged and renovated worship space I could not help but think about what is now new in my own life.

The death of my friend certainly left devastation within my heart,

but new life is breaking through.

As I sat in our new church I found myself reflecting on the timing; so fitting. I can enter into this space with a new sight, new light, and freshness of spirit. The months of the dark journey of her illness seem to be lighter in this new space. I can carry her in with joy in my heart…Joy and the peace in knowing that she is now also new in the Lord. She is clothed in his brilliant love.

 This new space is bright, clean, simple, inviting and welcoming to all. She would have felt peace and joy here too. When you lose a loved one it is good to create new memories…not to replace the old memories, but to keep your heart and soul in a state of growth. I read somewhere that one cannot remain stagnant; we are either moving forward or moving backward.

There were many days during her illness that I knew without a doubt, I was moving backward. I think grief has a way of making you feel as if you are literally falling backwards. As you are falling backwards time seems to move in slow motion or even at times remain as a ‘freeze frame’. It is not good to stay in this state for long.

Shortly after a forest fire there can be seen tiny sprouts of green popping up amid the charred parched land. Amazing! These new seedlings now have less competition for sunlight and rain water which enable them to mature faster.

Tiny little signs of hope;

all is not lost.

Tiny little signs that even here

new life is possible.

Tiny little signs of a powerful

unseen force.

Signs that remind us that we

are loved by a life-giving God.

Signs that we live in an environment

 filled with our Creator’s energy.

Today, as I write, marks the end of this Liturgical year. It is the end of the previous Mass translation we have used for many years. We are also on the threshold of Advent…a time of new beginnings.

We are a people called to choose life…for living consistently embraces the new.

So while I will miss some of the familiar prayers of the Mass. I am committed to moving forward integrating the new into all that has made me the person I am today.

Integrating the loss of my dear friend into the person God wants me to become; is still a difficult work in progress, but it must continue. “…you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord, my God.” (Jonah 2:7)

There is no going backwards or standing still.

There is only moving forward

however long it may take.

Inside the Bubble of Grief

As I prepare your funeral services my heart is not unlike your delicate skin… Bruised purple, black, and blue…weeping from tiny almost invisible pores. My deep sadness seeps out almost unseen by others. One droplet at a time with each beat of my heart. I have spent the week mopping up the grief within. This grief is rising; this grief swells and creeps up around my heart. Will the waves become turbulent and drown my heart? I must quickly seal these invisible wounds before they become too serious to be restored…to be whole again.

I watched your tiny frail body be ravaged by something bigger than life. The sheer power of your death, beloved, seems to be worse than we could possibly imagine. Perhaps our hearts are protected so that we cannot fully grasp the power of death until it comes and knocks you over. I was prepared to let you go, to surrender. We were blessed with so many precious moments. We could see and feel death coming like a tidal wave.

Death crashes like an angry wave around your heart. You cannot escape; you can only collapse under the power of this wave. You can only submit and let it knock you down flooding completely over you. The water will recede, but things will never be the same. What remains will be partially devastated, like a hurricane stricken town. It takes time to rebuild. I will be patient.

The days immediately following death are as if you exist, but not in the real world.

Normal things are happening, but you are in another state of mind. You are in a bubble like state of mind. You see and hear everything around you but it does not seem in focus…sounds are muffled. You frequently forget what you are trying to do.

 When I remove my glasses the world is a very fuzzy and distorted place. That is what enduring the death of a loved one feels like to me. It is as if I am inside this invisible bubble looking out. There is a thin membrane…the view of life is distorted…but I am somehow protected by this delicate fragile membrane.

Bubbles can remain intact for only as long as they can retain their surface moisture. It was always exciting when a child would discover; it is actually possible to put something inside of a bubble without causing it  to pop.

Bubbles reflect brilliant colors. These colors come from reflections of the white light that falls on their surface. Science tells us that white light, whether from the Sun or from a light bulb, contains light of all colors.

We are children of THE Light!

Reflected light separates into the colors of the rainbow. Even the tiniest bubbles show the full spectrum of colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet — just as a rainbow does.

This rainbow of color shimmers across the surface of each bubble.

Next time you have the chance to blow some bubbles I invite you to think about how you reflect the light of God to those around you.

The Holy Spirit guided, lifted and carried my bubble these last few days. The Holy Spirit created the brilliant reflected colors of so much during this time. Inside the bubble I could not see the reflected light. But I continue to be overwhelmed by so many things both big and little that have happened in this past week.

Others have come inside the bubble with me to stay for awhile. We have held each other close in shared consolation. We have lovingly exposed our grief to one another.

 

We cannot stay in our bubble of grief we must emerge renewed and restored by all that God has blessed us with.

We have been called to shine the light for all to see; not to just peer out from within our little bubble of grief.

My dear friend you could not have loved me any more than you did.

I hope and pray that I loved you back equally as well.

You will forever be in my heart. Love has power over death!

Light of Christ:50 Days after Easter

Have you ever noticed how often Jesus interacts with people while they are going about their normal daily routine? The Emmaus story is just such a story. These two friends were walking along back to their home, a bit sad. Their hopes and dreams for the Messiah had not come to fruition. He did not appear to secure their freedom from Israel.

We spent forty days preparing for Easter. Fasting, sacrificing, and spending more time in prayer, becoming more penitent for our short comings and our sinfulness. So now what? Now is the time to rejoice and celebrate the love and light of the world. Alleluia! Alleluia!

My favorite part of the Easter Vigil liturgy is the ritual lighting of the new paschal candle from the newly created and blessed fire. This fire burning brightly in our church is a reminder of what should be burning brightly in our hearts. Just as the two companions experienced their hearts burning as Jesus spoke to them. Can we not expect to experience the same burning each time we pray with scripture? This burning is not from a consuming fire, but rather a stirring of excitement within…a realization of what has been done for us.

During the time after Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to those who loved him calming their fears, erasing their doubts, and even nourishing their bodies. With each encounter, he met them where they were, from the upper room to the seashore.

The Risen Christ wants us to believe that he is with us and will be with us until the end of time.  

These 50 days after Easter are building towards the magnificent feast of Pentecost. It is the perfect time to let your eyes sparkle with the light of Christ. It is the perfect time to speak words of encouragement lighting the way for those around you. It is the perfect time for a gentle touch to warm the heart of someone lost and alone.

Let your Baptismal light shine through in all that you do. Christ is the Light of the World and we have been brought into that light to shine with his love.

 Let your light shine! (Matt. 5:16)

Lord, lead me through your holy Light. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet! May your words light the path of my journey through life.

Christ be our Light! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

 

Soul Stirrings: Transfigured

Recently while browsing on another blog I was fascinated by the tag cloud. As you rolled the cursor over the list of tag words each one seemed to pop up from the screen and enlarge. Well today that is how I felt as I attentively listened to the proclamation of the Transfiguration. Here are the words that popped out to me: 

 I was filled with how these words created for me a thread of meaning.

Here is my personal message summary.

 

High upon a mountain appeared

a bright white light

covered by a cloud

casting a shadow

imbued with the name

“Beloved”

from the one who was pleased

 The others falling prostrate

afraid  touched

by the vision of Jesus.

My dear, Lord, transfigure me to become brilliant with your holiness.

Change my heart to be filled with the light of your unconditional love.

 

God is Light: Wordle

God is Light

 This is the time of year when ceativity reaches a peak. Decorating your house for Christmas allows all sorts of creative juices to flow…after all it’s Christmas and anything goes.

Wrapping paper in all colors and patterns…matching bows curled or looped…candles in every size, color, and fragrance imaginable…gifts that fit in the palm of your hand or on a finger to ones that defy being wrapped…visits with family (now I admit sometimes that really requires some creativity) what will we talk about???? Let’s see… “No” not that subject…”how about ____? “No that will never work.” So we end up resorting to polite frivolous small talk.

“Lke, what dessert are you having first?”

Oh my, Creativity is so much fun during the Christmas holidays!

So I want to offer you an opportunity to explore your creative side with Wordle. I used Wordle to create the picture at the top of this post.

Here are the directions:

First you type some text you would like to use. I used scirpture passages from the readings for this week.

Next you go to www.wordle.net

Click on the “CREATE  your own” button. Once there copy your selected text into the box or you can just type your text right in their box. 

Then click on GO button.

In seconds you will have created your very own Wordle “word cloud”. Now you may be excited with the results, but I encourage you to “play” with the many different options offered. At the top of your newly created wordle are some buttons; the color, font, and layout are the ones you should explore.

Find one you like and celebrate that you can be creative in many ways.

I believe creativity is inspired by God, who has certainly given us numerous examples of his wild creativity…just look at nature or the animal kingdom.

Show your children or grandchildren  Wordle and let them have some fun together.

Now I am going to create one with the names of everyone in my family. That will surely give us something to talk about…!!! I must make sure that I do not forget anyone’s name!

~Christmas Blessings~

May your life be overflowing with JOY…and generously sprinkled with FUN.

If you have any questions about Wordle just send me a message.