You'll find what brings you that moment of relief in the darkest, smallest of corners. A dear friend and one of the most insightful people I know, a Presbyterian Minister, wrote something and sent it to me during the blur I'll call The Holidays. It was the context of her sermon (December 22, 2008, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia). A poem written by Joseph Enzweiller called Christmas 1963:
Because we wanted much that year
and had little. Because the winter phone
for days stayed silent that would call
our father back to work, and he
kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.
Because I was young that morning
in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped
along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large
they made the spaces between them
to take the place of less. Because
the curtained sun rose brightly
on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years,
have grown too small to see, the emptiness
measured out remains the gift,
fills the whole room now, that whole year
out across the snowy lawn. Because
a drop of shame burned quietly
in the province of love. Because
we had little that year
and were given much.
The durge of January has taken us on. The winter winds are swirling into the niches of our house, niches we haven't yet been given the go-ahead to find. When reading Enzweiler's poem, I wonder what will fill our spaces, this winter quiet.
The exercise, do you do this? Do you wake from a night's sleep and take a sip of water, then make your mental or even written note of what you're most thankful for? I know for certain that you can count on 2 hands the people who, in consolation, urge you forth to reflect on the myriad blessings that bestow your shimmery existence, despite what woe betides you. Your health, your fine children, the food in your pantry...
Oh, I've tried the exercise, you have as well. But as "Insiders" we know that before that second blessing crosses our consciousness, the tides of the everyday surge past it and we're left where we started when eyes flickered open - with the dread and consignment, here we are now, with acres of space between. Blessings?
So I'll do this for you (if you promise you'll do it for the next person). I'll offer you a blessing, and it's happening this weekend. Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor are going to strike up the band. The Rev Gene Robinson will say a prayer to keep us clear that none of us, not one, is perfect. We'll all be there, present, shoulder to shoulder heads held up to the wind.
We will unite for this, for there is not one person alive, pro or con, who does not seek balance and closeness and healing for our Country. Our greatest blessing is that January 20th, the Inauguration of Barack Obama will take place. We still do not know what it's all going to look like, but this is the "winter phone" and it's ringing. Closing the spaces between.
Read this, it's all you need to know to show up: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/12/obama-inauguration-lincoln_157215.html