skip to Main Content

A Place for Sanctuary. Daily Dose. (Sept 13 – 16)

Tuesday — Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.  All things break.  And all things can be mended.  Not with time, as they say, but with intention.  So go.  Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.  The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. (Thank you L.R. Knost)

And let us not forget: We are all of us, wounded healers. Where our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing. But it helps to remember that this isn’t an assignment or a strategy. It is an invitation, to spill (share) healing that comes from our heart’s honesty and vulnerability.

Which (I confess) sometimes unnerves me. Gratefully, music helps bring down my defenses, and connect me with my heart.

Not that music always has its intended result.  Several years ago, Zach and I are tooling down a Vashon country road, Matisyahu’s One Day blasting (what is heartfelt music, if not loud?), and me singing along with unabashed gusto.
“Dad,” Zach says, “Shhhh.  You know these feel-good songs, the ones where you can almost taste the sadness?  Well, the way I listen to them is to become like an Indian doing mediation.  And Dad, when you sing along, you mess up my mantra.”
Ohhhh. Okay. Thank you, son. I know I can’t carry a tune. I just never knew I could mess up someone’s manta. 
I do know what he means though. About the almost taste the sadness part. Music has a power that enables it to find its way into the crevices (yes, even broken places) of our soul.

So, where do we find and spill the music of healing and redemption? Music that gives hope to people around us.
Pete Seeger believed in the power of music. It was his “weapon,” and he sang and lived his life in support of peace, and of international disarmament, and of civil rights, and of environmental causes. And he paid a price for his beliefs, and for his music. In protesting war, members of his singing group, The Weavers, were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In The Power of Song, the documentary about Seeger’s life, he talks openly about death threats he received. One man in particular, followed Seeger’s concerts, making his intentions clear. Pete’s wife Toshi finally suggested that Pete simply talk with the man. On one occasion, before a concert, backstage, the stalker and Pete spent time in a room alone. 
“What happened?” Seeger was asked.
“Well, we talked. 

And then we sang together, Where have all the flowers gone? 

And then we cried together. 

And then the man told me, ‘Thank you. I now feel clean.'” 
I get too easily cynical.  And I will admit that some part of me doesn’t want to believe stories that have peaceful endings.
But in my heart I know that only light can push the darkness away.
Light.  And very, very loud renditions of love songs.
Quote for our week… This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender.  (The motto emblazoned on Pete Seeger’s banjo) Where have all the flowers gone

Wednesday —

This week we’re talking about (and digesting) Henri Nouwen’s observation: “Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?'”
When we do, we are Tikkun Olam, repairers of the world.

This reminds me of the book, Gracie; Love is Blind, about the power of shining light in our small world even in our woundedness. Gracie is a Petite Basset. And Gracie is blind. “Life doesn’t always go as planned and love doesn’t always make sense,” Patsy Swendson writes. “I was to be profoundly blessed to witness Gracie as she would take control of rooms full of patients or in private visits with warriors returning from combat missing arms, legs or eyes. She commanded these moments and filled them with nonjudgmental love and warmth. I am certain that Gracie was put on this earth to help alleviate pain, if only for a moment. To know that you are loved unconditionally, completely and wholly, can allow you to take the first step toward learning to be who you are despite what has happened to you… she offered light in places where people needed it the most… Gracie has been a heart healer from the first moment I saw her.”

Yes. And here’s the necessary paradigm shift… Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ reminder, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.”
Okay. So, where do we begin in our broken world? In our small world? Rear Admiral Thornton Miller Chief was the Chaplain at Normandy in WWII. Someone asked him, “Up and down the beach, with the shells going everywhere, why did you do that?”
“Because I’m a minister.”
“But didn’t you ask if they were Catholic or Protestant or Jew?”
“If you’re a minister, the only question you ask is, ‘Can I help you?'” 

Thursday —

I love this story about a certain African tribe. Some stories are good for whatever ails us. This is one of those.
When a woman in the tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness to pray and listen until she hears the song of the child she bears. This tribe recognizes that every soul has its own vibration, expressing its unique flavor and purpose. Then the mother to be teaches the song to the other members of the tribe.
The tribe sings the song to the child at birth.
They sing when the child becomes an adolescent, when the adult is married, and at the time of parting and death.
But there is one other occasion when the villagers sing this song. If at any time during his (or her) life, the person causes suffering to another member of the tribe, they gather in a circle and set him in the center. They sing the song, to remind him not of the wrong done, but of his own beauty and potential. When a child loses the way, it is love and not punishment that brings the lost one home.

I cannot tell you your song. But I can tell you this: you have one.
Count on it.
And if you sit still, you may hear it.
It is the song that reminds us we are beautiful, when we feel ugly.
It is the song that tells us we are whole, when we feel broken.
It is the song that gives us the power to dance, even when we feel shattered.
It is the song that reminds us of the story that keeps our hope alive.

I cannot tell you your song.  But I can tell you this: you have one.
Count on it.
And if you sit still, you may hear it.
My friend Larry Murante has a CD called Patch of Sky. And one of my favorite songs is Hungry Ghost.
A few of the lines make my heart come alive…
Everybody is who they are, because somebody loves them…
Everybody’s gotta live their truth, but they need someone who knows it…
Everybody’s got a forgotten song…
You wanta get back your forgotten song.

Speaking of the gift of needing someone who knows it. My friend Mary Tuel writes a wonderful column in the Vashon Loop. She talks about her former husband Rick, being clear eyed about the marriage of grief and a realistic understanding that Life is hard. Relationships are hard. And it is easy to feel undone. Mary says, “But we always ended up giving each other enough grace… So today, Give yourself grace.” Amen Mary.

Today. Listen for your song. If you don’t hear it, no worries, it’s still there.
I’ll give David Whyte the last word… “We have this odd assumption that we will fall in love with ourselves only when we have become totally efficient organized beings, and left all our bumbling ineptness behind. Yet, the opposite is true; in our vulnerability, our awkwardness of not knowing, of not being in charge. In vulnerability we are open to the world.”

Friday —

We are, every one of us, broken. Thankfully, no one of us is on this journey alone. Meaning we can all be wounded healers (where our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing). What does that connection look like?

Rabbi Bumam once said “I learned the meaning of friendship by overhearing a conversation between two Polish peasants in a tavern. They were somewhat inebriated, and one said to the other ‘Are you my friend?’ and the other answered ‘Of course I am.’
And he continued ‘Where does it hurt me?’ And the other said ‘I do not know.’
Then the first man responded, ‘Then you are not my friend.'”
Rabbi Bumam continued, “To be a friend is to know where the other hurts.”

There’s a story about a teenage boy mysteriously losing weight. His doctor, stumped by the symptoms, huddled with several other caregivers to decide which medical tests to run. There was no shortage of assessments and opinions, and quarrels about who is correct.
Then a nurse asks the boy a simple question, “Are you hungry?” He nods.
You see, it turns out that the young teen had been homeless for some weeks and had eaten very little. Because of his condition, he had been understandably embarrassed to speak up, and was relieved someone had finally talked to him.
We can be so focused on a “cure,” that we miss the opportunity to be present (yes, to know–to ask–where the other hurts), where we can make space for matters that hydrate and nurture health.

Do you know the word Ubuntu? A Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity” often translated as “I am because we are,” and also “humanity towards others”, but is often used in a philosophical sense “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” As chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu used descriptive words to speak about Ubuntu intimately binding it within Christian principles of goodness.
He describes the person true to Ubuntu as one who is “generous, hospitable, friendly, caring and compassionate.” He says it as a state in which one’s “humanity is caught up and inextricably bound up” in others. Tutu says of Ubuntu “I am human because I belong, I participate, I share.”

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
As the light of dawn awakens earth’s creatures
and stirs into song the birds of the morning
so may I be brought to life this day.
Rising to see the light
to hear the wind
to smell the fragrance of what grows from the ground
to taste its fruit
and touch its textures
so may my inner senses be awakened to you
so may my senses be awakened to you, O God.
Celtic Benediction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top