People often ask me “How do you keep going?” It’s a silly question.
My daughter is in the CICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston, and if you want to know more about it you can follow on her fundrazr page where I’ve put far more details that I don’t want to type again. She also has a Facebook page with more pictures and updates and stuff.
If you know me personally, or you’ve read some of my past stuff, you’re aware that fourteen years ago I spent seven days in the NICU with my first child. He didn’t survive. It was very difficult.
An ICU stay with my infant child is pretty much my personal worst level of hell; it’s the nightmare I can’t wake up from. I can safely say I would rather entertain rabid howler monkeys with a sock-puppet made from my own scrotum than spend so much as one more minute in a C/N/PICU with my child. And yet, this is the ticket that I’ve punched, this is the journey that I get to make again. Continue reading
…It sounds like the start of a bawdy joke. But honestly the only bar in this story is the one that has been raised, not one that purveys drinks.
Some housekeeping notes to start: I don’t tend to write extensively about my spirituality. I find spirituality to be a sensitive topic, and while I certainly don’t shy away from it in posts that deal with difficult topics, I don’t tend to try and impart my personal spirituality directly to others. There’s a basic reason for this, which is that I often feel like the least-qualified person to write ABOUT spirituality specifically. When I have tried to write specifically about spirituality, it often ends up feeling very flat to me.
This is why I was surprised recently to be invited to a writing group being put together by a pastor in Portland that I knew as a teenager and have interacted with (largely via Facebook) over the years since then. Pastor Marc has gathered such an interesting group of people that I couldn’t help but try to join in, as much to be a part of their conversation as for any specific insight I have to offer.
This week’s writing assignment is based on a sermon that Marc gave recently. The entire sermon is available here on youtube. The topic is actually something that I have always had an opinion on, and though I’m a couple of days late, this was a pretty easy topic to tackle. Marc’s topic, and the topic at the heart of this blog post, is the role of women in spiritual leadership.
One man’s opinion about women leading spiritually after the link…
“The silence of sitting will tell you everything you need to know.”
It was the kind of fortune-cookie bullshit you hear a lot of at Zen meditation retreats offered in Northern California by Northern Californians. Actually, that’s not fair. You get that kind of bullshit in Portland or Seattle or Denver or New York too, but this dose of bullshit was the first cohesive collection of words I’d heard in what felt like forever – and it wasn’t helping.
There’s this point in an intensive meditation retreat where you’ve been actively concentrating on your breathing and your posture and how your knees are now made of concrete and that the small of your back is the all-consuming heart of a great vortex of pain that is actually absorbing the pain from all living beings for hundreds of miles around you and compressing it into a perfect symphony of agony composed in a language of utter suffering that you will sing through clenched teeth until you finally embrace the sweet release of death.
I had passed that point something like a lifetime (or at least forty-five minutes) ago, and what I was not prepared for was a lesson on sitting in silence. I was ready to flex my legs, stand up, bend backwards until I cracked my back like a machine gun, and then reconsider the life choices that had led me to think a three-day retreat in the middle of nowhere between Ukiah and Clear Lake California was “exactly what I needed.”
Truth be told, I had no idea what I needed.
Zen and the art of divorce and self-discovery after the cut…
I will go into more detail about this later; probably a lot of detail, and probably not much later:
For Lent, I’m giving up Agnosticism.
(That line KILLS in the right circles.)
What follows is a quote I’ve spent a lot of time reading over and thinking through. For all three of my readers, I realize I’m the only one who can read it as quoted. Sorry about that.
Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificétur nomen tuum: advéniat regnum tuum: fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cœlo et in terra panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie; et dímitte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris: et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem. Sed líbera nos a malo.
Líbera nos, quæsumus Dómine, ab ómnibus malis prætéritis, præséntibus, et futúris, et intercedénte beáta et gloriósa semper Vírgine Dei genitríce María, cum beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andréa, et ómnibus sanctis, da propítius pacem in diébus nostris: ut ope misericórdiæ tuæ adjúti, et a peccáto simus semper líberi, et ab omni perturbatióne secúri.
Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus sancti Deus.
Per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
I promise: not preachy, just personal. To each his own.