October 31, 2009

A Friend Passes

This autumn an elderly friend died. She was ready, and her family was ready for this transition. There was a “Memorial Meeting” in the Friends tradition to honor and remember her.

A Friend, after sitting with her thoughts about Roberta for a long time, stood and said, “Two types of metal keep coming to my mind, and they describe Roberta. The metals are tempered steel and silver bells.” The Meeting made verbal utterance as to the perfection of that metaphor for our friend.

Earlier, I had risen and shared two things about Roberta. One was an experience that she had shared with me many years earlier that she said she hadn’t shared anyone because she didn’t know what to make of it. Roberta had told me that one day, in autumn, she had been looking around her farm, and “a golden maple tree just lit up, as though it were electrified.” The shock of the color went right through her, and changed her. I could tell by her voice the vulnerability of one who has been changed by things not understood by the mind.

The other sharing I offered was that although during Roberta’s early life she was engaged in a very structured religion, in her later years, after she had long given up that structure, she became more and more open. So open, that she would often ask in the silence of Meeting, “What is God, anyway?” with a completely open heart.

I have been richly blessed by knowing Roberta; I feel her spirit now moving in me.

October 28, 2009

The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent.
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten,
where you have been begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you are the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher lovemaking
sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.