May 17, 2017
confession: I've been struggling lately. usually believing that love will win, that justice and truth have a tenacious persistent will to find the light that no amount of greed or deception can deter, I've caved. I just can't right myself.
usually a peptalk, I went to church a couple weeks back badly needing something uplifting but Nathan was speaking that sunday and he was rattled by the recent death of yet another young black man in dallas. he was flying back from a couple conferences and lobbying in Washington dc and then NC with a layover in dallas. he had just enough time there to watch the local news about a community (again) in turmoil over this recent shooting. not only was the young man killed but his brother was also being held in jail and when their father went to the police station to see about both his sons the father was also arrested! so the sermon was about suffering. and I suppose it was along the lines of first we suffer, then we rise. except that day, I just couldn't get past yet another instance of suffering. my soul obviously wasn't ready to rise.
the next day at a Samaritan meeting I pulled s aside afterwards and told her how low I felt, that I needed a minute, maybe some of her usual s shine would wear off on me. and she mentioned a monk offering a visual to her once when she asked him this same question, how to get beyond the suffering, how to get back to the rise. he pinched his fingers together in the air over his heart, then raised his pinched hand over his head and opened his fingers, a pantomime gesture of plucking the sadness from one's heart, then the release on the winds, letting it go.
so many times that week, reading or watching the news, I pulled up that visual.
s called later that day. could I come over for coffee early Monday? we could sit together and talk a little.
s is very busy. I hated to take her time. but she insisted.
so on Monday, at 8.30 we visited.
let me just say this...i'm so grateful for the strong women in my life. I've known many. and I've known a few that are so remarkably strong, such powerful souls even tho they are inside such diminutive and gentle bodies and gestures. and you know, don't you, when some new mentor comes into your life? someone so connected to a higher plane of living and thinking and loving that just being in their presence for minutes your whole being knows on the deepest level that you will remember them, that they will shape and influence your life forever more.
she doesn't watch much news. just enough she says to get the highlights. she's too busy for more. i was only there about 1 and a half hours. her phone rang 3 times on Samaritan issues.
on Monday, in my email inbox, i found this: Idea of the Week: Kindness in Action: Spend Some Time with Someone that Nourishes You. that's when i knew i was supposed to interrupt s's early morning on Monday and spend some time with her.
do you want some coffee s asked? well, do you have it made already? oh no, she said, but i can make some for us. oh, no, i said, don't go to that trouble. but, r, her husband, said, oh, that's a mistake. you really want some of s's coffee. no one makes coffee as well as s. so we laughed and i said, well, in that case, yes, i guess i must!
you know how the Japanese turn tea making into a ceremony?
that is how s makes coffee. it's like a work of art. the care, the presence, the ritual, the presentation like a gift. it's impossible to forget s making coffee. or the froth on your lips as you take the first sip on her back patio.
so yes, nourishing. and healing.
on Tuesday, we took, s driving, the Samaritan van down to the border and across to el comedor. there were about 35 there that day. a few men in the clothes they'd been issued on the day of their release from prison. cold, that morning, they arrived in blue t shirts. s ran for the donated sweaters as soon as she saw them, holding up sweaters, guessing sizes. and women there too, one having just been torn from her children in Houston only a couple days ago. but i'm not a criminal she'd told the ice officers. yes, yes you are they said and took her away in handcuffs. her two children are now living with relatives, her husband in detention on his way to deportation currently in CO. who knows why? she was whisked away with only the clothes she was wearing also. so grateful for the few items we had to offer.
on Monday, s showed me a small book of drawings made by children who had survived the Nazi camps. 15000 children, only about 1100 survived. the book is a book of the drawings from those who survived. s, at el comedor, whenever children are there, asks them to make a drawing too. we looked at the book first, then the drawings she's collected over the years from the migrants. they are so telling. so very similar. so direct. like arrows to the heart. then she showed me a butterfly. a real one, she'd found on the sidewalk. it was dead. but so perfect! really, as if someone had preserved it at it's most perfect form just as it took its last breath. no longer alive, but all its beauty still very much alive, just resting there in s's palm.
carrie newcomer, "Gavin, the UPS driver stepped out of the truck in front of Janet's house. He picked up a small card lying on the sidewalk. He read, 'There is still wonder in the world." It's been propped up on his dashboard ever since."
i'm still feeling low and fragile. but i'm feeling so much better than i was. i have some visuals now to help me. s making coffee. her pinched fingers opening, letting suffering go. a butterfly resting in her palm. it's not exactly a note on a dashboard, just memories in my mind, reminding my heart, indeed, there are still wonders in this world.
and, she told me, she wanted to meet me for coffee because she wanted to invite me to something else, if i'm free, if i might like to go. a group she sometimes goes to. they meet on Thursdays at someone's house. they meditate together for a while. then afterwards they talk, share some light food, cookies, nuts, walk around the garden maybe. would i like to come maybe?
i would like. yes. i would most definitely like.