Friday, January 30, 2015

Not sure how it works - just sure it does.

I don't have a clue how the mind works,
not just mine - which (as Anne Lamott says about hers)
 "is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone" - 
but THE mind;
 the organ within our skulls.

How it takes random, seemingly disparate events, thoughts and emotions
 and, under the cover of darkness, 
jumps across God knows how many neurons 
to make connections 
and form some sort of cohesive 

Speaking of God, 
I believe his fingerprints are all over this - 
since he exists across all that we identify as boundaries 
of time and space. 
(With apologizes to those who need to see a female pronoun for their deity.
I'll go one on one with you for NOW membership cards and beliefs 
championing female empowerment, 
but I long ago moved on from needing my sexual assignment or orientation 
to be reflected in my speech about the Divine.)

Stay with me as I try to tell you about 
some of those seemingly random thoughts and connections 
that have coalesced into wholeness -
through a process I don't understand.

Maybe if I go chronologically as events unfolded...
Do you remember that this time last year,
on a visit with my niece,
to see Art Boy in KC
I had my aura photographed?

(If not, refresh your memory here)
There was an obelisk 
(or penis, depending on your frame of mind) 
on the left,
connected to my head with a stream of deep red.

At the time,
we speculated it might be 
a monument or some sort of statue 
I would find in Spain while walking the Camino.
Although I never saw anything coming close to resembling it
even though I looked!

Just keep that image in mind for a minute while I tell you about last week.
As you know,
I believed the post retirement phase of my life would include servant ministry
through my national church deployment office - 
most probably serving on a reservation 
in Canada or the Southwestern United States.

Yet, despite a promising flurry of activity, discernment and conversations in the fall,
nothing seemed to be happening on that front
in the months that followed.

What did come through,
in fully funded being,
 was the wild card -
a 2 year grant position back at the hospital
working with much the same team as before
although in a completely different capacity.

There have been weeks of negotiations about salary,
chain of command, office location, job description, etc;
but in all honesty,
the biggest stumbling block has been internal.

Was I really being called back to work in pediatrics
in St Louis -
or was I merely falling back into financial security,
the known
and the exact combination of factors
that had been SO soul destroying before -
and from which I was just now recovering?
Last Wednesday night,
I had a dream.
Who all the players were isn't important -
although I will say it was a delightful cast of characters.

We were talking about symbolism and auras
as we stood around on a balcony looking at the sunset
and - from behind me -
I heard a voice I recognize as the voice of God
"You haven't figured it out yet, 
so I'll give it to you -
it's a standing stone."
(No surprise that when I turned around to see Him, he wasn't there.
God is helpful but generally elusive, right?)

'standing stone';
I've heard the term
but had NO emotional or intellectual connection with the reality.

Checking Google when I woke up fully,
I realized that Stonehenge is a collection of standing stones
although there are literally thousands of them,
most frequently standing alone, 
doting the countryside in France, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

 These ancient stones are steeped in history
and are generally believed to possess magical powers;
little is known about the true meaning they held for the ancient people who revered them
and even less is known
about how they came to be where they are placed -
the specific type of rock is NOT characteristic of geological formations
in the areas in which they are found.

These rocks have stood for centuries,
always there,
valiantly resisting decay,
in places where they don't belong.

(In fact there are even two standing stones 
that are measurably getting bigger over time - 
challenging the accepted scientific 'fact'
 that rocks don't grow!) 
 All very interesting
but germane to my life -
(I can be quite dense much of the time -
now wonder God has to get vocal with me!)
Later that day (Thursday)
I got a call from the physician heading the grant,
asking that I come to a meeting the next day
with State and Local officials about the new clinics roll out;
asking that despite not being 'officially' hired
or emotionally signed on
 as the Coordinator,
I start putting faces to the names of the people who would be playing a huge part
in the clinics future.
So, on Friday morning I headed Midtown,
on a route my car can drive on autopilot.
I, however, was NOT on autopilot.

I was paying very close attention to my body and how it was feeling
as I turned into the hospital parking lot
and entered the building.

I won't bore any of us with ALL the details of that day;
just know that I left the building
feeling far more energized
than when I had entered it.

I was also acutely aware of how often during the meeting
there were references,
from multiple people,
to 'standing by' some of the most vulnerable people in our society -
kids in foster care;

"standing by and providing them with a medical home
no matter what adults are coming and going in their lives";
"standing by,
letting them know they matter
no matter what circumstances they find themselves in-
circumstances that are generally beyond their control";
as one official with whom I've worked for decades
said to me
"using what's always been your strength of standing by
but just in a new way;
being a voice and advocate for those who are in danger of standing alone,
without the foundation of strength you have".
Here's the part where it gets wrapped up with a bow.

I left the meeting at the hospital, went home and 'pondered all these things in my heart' -
as I stripped wallpaper far into the night.
The next morning, I went directly to a meeting at church
to participate by teleconference in a seminar from Trinity/ Wall Street
on Economic Inequality and Creating the Common Good.

I sat down in my place -
and the first participant up on the screen -
to get us hooked and involved before our caffeine or breakfast had kicked in -
was a 'vocal activist'
(a descriptor I couldn't love more!);
a black female, cross dressing baritone.
God I love the Episcopal church!

She lead us responsively in a song she'd written -
a simple Taize like chant of two sentences -
gorgeously melodic and richly layered.

The words of the song?
"I will be your standing stone;
I will stand by you".

Hand to God!

I know you don't believe me -
so here is a link to it !
(This is a tape from a concert in the spring
and shows the essence of the song.
If you want the whole session from Saturday morning,
the link is here )

I don't know about you
but singing while I'm sobbing is hard.
Half the time,
I just let the words and sound
wash over me and sink into my soul;
as balm directly from God.

Could it be any clearer?

Any reservations I had
have been swept away.

(Yes, I just now heard it -
although no pun was intended).

I should start work within
the next two weeks -

and I can't wait!

Be happy for me.


Mary said...

I am. I'm happy for you. And I believe it all.

Kim said...