Monday, February 24, 2014

Faith in Poetry

We all sit around in a circle and suppose,
but the secret sits in the center and knows.
~ Robert Frost

Last week I was asked to share some thoughts on faith with a group of college students at the weekly chapel service. What do I know about that? But share I did, to a group of very attentive, gracious, promising students.

I have found my faith by being able to sit still enough to listen to the God voice I have within myself. My grandmother taught me at an early age to listen to what she called "angel thoughts." As I've sought to find my meaning in life, I have come to realize that I find the presence of God when I am centered in quiet. One of the easiest ways for me to center myself is in nature. I also find the quiet in seated meditation. During those times, my heart is full and my mind is empty. I am then able to connect to the highest, formless intelligence that is Divine Love.

It has been a struggle to learn how to be still and quiet enough to make this magic happen. Some days are easier than others to reach that space. Yoga helps. Stepping aside from the busyness of life helps. Writing helps. Poetry helps. Nature helps.

As my prayer became more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
- which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.
~ Soren Kierkegarrd

Poems such as this provide an example to me of how God is at the center of my heart. This center is the invisible and untouchable space within all of us. This is the Namaste, the good within each of us, that is only seen from the heart, not from our physical senses. This is the thought within the thought that is God. I find this pure magic, much as Rumi says:

Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing,
Those which average eyes would see as fixed and still.
~ Rumi

The college students provided a warm and welcoming audience to my thoughts about faith. Perhaps not the usual thing that is heard in a chapel. I was honored to be with them. I was also honored that my husband was present and accepts my sharing in such a loving, unconditional way. Life is beautiful.

Prayer is the little implement
Through which men reach
Where presence-is denied them
They fling their speech

By means of it-in God's Ear-
If He then hear-
This sums the Apparatus
Comprised in Prayer-
                                       ~Emily Dickinson

Monday, February 10, 2014


Always be on the lookout for a sense of wonder. 
~ E. B. White

There are moments that I have to wonder if I am dreaming, so full of wonder is my life now. 

Years ago I found myself in a marriage that had fallen in shatters to the floor, preparing for a move back to familiar territory in the Midwest. I knew the marriage was over, but I also knew I wasn't in a position to raise my young son so far away from family, in a location that would have been difficult to support us economically. A day came, in preparing for the move with my then-husband, that a voice came into my mind, "There will be a place for you at the college." It was clear and wondrous, this voice.

I followed the leadings of that direction. Once we were settled in, Derrick returned to school, resume updated, I started looking for a job that I knew I would need in order to position myself for the freedom from that marriage. The first time I used the Internet for a job search. I looked, not nearly as surprised as I should have been, to see a job posted at my alma mater. Straight to the college I went, handed to give the director of personnel my resume in person. A few days later, October 8, 1999, I had my interview, was offered the job and never looked back. For years I thought that job was the place for me at the college. I thought that was the life saving message received.  That wasn't the end of the story.

The Universe is full of wonder. We simply have to be open enough to receive the messages and to step into wonder with faith we are doing the right thing.

The wonder for me is that now, all these years later, I have returned to the town of my alma mater. The third time I've come to this small town. The first as a student, the second as an employee and mother of a young son. Both, times of great healing and personal growth. I worked in a department that fully supported one other. One of the best work teams I've ever been privileged enough to be a part of. We accomplished great things together. As part of fulfilling my personal dream, I decided to resume classes again while working there so I could become an elementary school teacher. That I did, teaching in Indianapolis in an urban environment since then.

Seems the Universe wanted me back here in this place. In a fairy story style way. Someone I knew from those days of working and I lost track of each other for years. Our lives were meant to be lived as they were. But life changes struck us both. We reacquainted ourselves this summer. The friendship planted in dormant soil so very long ago quickly sprouted into a strong relationship. Even though an observer might think this has all moved quickly, we felt it was clear that this was simply meant to be.

When we reconnected, T was living in Pennsylvania. Our beginning email/telephone/Skype exchanges led to eventual visits from him to Indiana. There was never a doubt for either of us that we were meant to be together. Serendipitously, at the same time, he was recruited back to this town in the same position he held those years ago.

So . . . wonder of wonders, on January 1st T and I were married! I am certain I am in the place the Universe wanted me to be!