Some stories are good for whatever ails us.
The husband knew he could not adequately care for his wife, now in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. He found a compassionate facility, and visited her every day. At noon for lunch.
Noon. Every day.
Until the day of a minor accident when he found himself in an Emergency Room, his arm being stitched by a nurse as the clock approached the noon hour.
“I need to leave,” he said ill at ease.
“Hold on,” she told him, “we’re not finished here.”
“But I must visit my wife at noon,” he said.
“Well,” she told him gently, “today you can be a little late.”
The man told the nurse the story of his wife and of the facility where she lives and how when he visits, she does not even recognize him, does not know who he is. The nurse patted his hand and said, “That’s okay hon. You can relax. If she doesn’t even recognize you, there is no harm in being late this one day.”
“No,” the man insisted. “I need to go. I need to be there at noon. I know she doesn’t recognize me. But I need to be there because I still recognize her.”
This is a story about the power of being seen.
And the power in seeing, spilling the gifts of nurture and hope and dignity.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.” (From Paul’s letter to the Romans)
And yet, in our topsy turvy world, it is easy to forget that each one of us carries these gifts, and the capacity to spill them.
It is the reminder in this heartening story about a certain African tribe. 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.
The song is a way that the child in each and every one of us knows:
You are seen.
“I know she doesn’t recognize me. But I need to be there because I still recognize her.”
Or, as Mother Teresa would say, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”
And if we sit still, we may hear that song.
It is the song that reminds us we are seen, when we feel invisible.
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 write this on Mother’s Day (or as some now coin it, Happy Nurturer’s Day.) Today, is also the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1416). (Well, today for Anglican, Episcopalian, and Lutheran. May 13th on the Catholic Church calendar.)
Speaking of spilling the gift of nurture, “Julian taught us that ‘God is delighted to be our Mother’ and that ‘Christ is Mother’ and that the essence of motherhood is compassion. In this way, we are all called to be God-like and practice compassion in that most ‘nearest, readiest and surest’ way that mothers do. Julian is a leader in deconstructing patriarchy that has taken over western religion and education, law, business and economics over the seven centuries since her time.” (Thank you Matthew Fox)
There are times when we lose our song. Or it gets buried. Or we get numbed. Or feel invisible. And yet, I’m so grateful for the nurturers in my life who have said (and continue to say), “There is in you an inherent dignity that no one can give you, and that no one can take away.”
I’ve spent a good bit of the day grinning and watching mommas here on the pond. Dottie with her three goslings.
And a momma Mallard with her 10. My Oh My… She gets a tip of my hat, but may prefer a babysitter, a warm couch and a hot cup of tea…
Speaking of smiling big, aptly named Rich Strike, an 80-1 longshot, pulled off the second-biggest upset in the Kentucky Derby’s 148-year history one Saturday. Wow.
This week, let us spill nurture and hope. And remember, it’s the little things than make a difference…
I’ll give the last word to Jan Meyer.
Happy Nurturers’ Day
This is a day that honors all the
women who’ve ever nurtured / mothered any small thing…
Put a baby doll or raggedy stuffed animal to bed.
Fed a wild quacky duck at the park.
Laughed for the hundredth time at a family joke repeated once more.
Hugged and soothed a scared puppy during a thunderstorm.
Listened to a hurting friend’s words on a late night call.
Taken homemade chicken soup to a grieving family.
Smiled at a stranger for no particular reason at all.
Given love from a heart missing some of its pieces.
Today we honor all these women who nurtured / mothered us in the past, and
those who continue walking beside us today.
Quote for our week…
The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never be conquered… Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. Vasily Grossman
SABBATH MOMENT BULLETIN BOARD
Today’s Photo Credit: “Dear Terry, I look at this photo I took several years ago in Yosemite, and I can still feel the quiet, peaceful stillness of the moment. It was a God moment for sure, a blessing. It is the same feeling I get after reading your Sabbath Moments. I don’t know it you can use this photo or not but I just wanted to share it with you. Thank you. God bless you always. Sincerely,” Denise Mehan… Thank you Denise… Keep sending your photos… send to terryhershey.com
Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
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NEW EVENTS —
May 13 -15 Siena Retreat Center, Racine, WI (Creating Spaces for Self-Care)
NEW Book – Stand Still: finding balance when the world turns upside down
NEW Audio SM… Enjoy — Brokenness is never the end
Join us every Wednesday… Audio Sabbath Moment
Letters that do my heart good…
–Hi. Terry, My Dad used to catch blowfish at the Jersey shore. The other fisherman threw them back into the surf because they were inedible, but Daddy knew their secret. He brought them home, sat on the boat dock and cut the poisonous part out and threw the rest of the fish to the sea gulls that hovered over the canal, and fighting screeches were so loud that we could hardly hear each other talk. Nothing was wasted. Mother sautéed those delicious little pieces that looked like the large part of a chicken’s wing–and we and the gulls had a feast. It was lovely to see the Celtic Caim Prayer today. I learned it from my book Celtic Daily Prayer years ago. It asks God for all we’ll ever need. Peace, Gloria
POEMS AND PRAYERS
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Thomas Merton
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come, to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted,’ from To Bless the Space Between Us (US)
May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.