Peace for your Path...

"peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." (unknown)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

candle prayers and sea glass

Broken. I am broken. Truly...

Perhaps we all are, in our own ways, as broken and as beautiful and as precious as discarded glass washed in from the sea after years of being tossed and tumbled and refined. Our brokenness is our gift. Our brokenness is our treasure.

This morning, I was flipping through my study bible, looking for a particular verse. Usually, I make it a personal practice to avoid using scripture quoted out of context to support an argument or a viewpoint. I just don't think God intends for His Word to be used in such a self-righteous way.

Yet, I was feeling particularly sure that in this one particular situation, I was completely and particularly RIGHT. So, there I was hobbling around my kitchen on one leg bible-thumping like mad and fuming at what I considered to be a true spiritual injustice. I was intent on finding the location of the line of scripture I wanted to send in an email to the person who had totally hacked me off.

I found the verse I was searching for in the concordance and flipped angrily to the Book of Joshua. On my way, a tiny yellow slip of paper between the pages caught my eye. There, printed in my friend's own handwriting was her name. 

The name of my friend who taught me how to use breath prayer. The name of my friend who encouraged me to introduce myself to another soul mate when I was hesitant about doing so. The name of my friend who introduced me to the life-changing spiritual formation study called Companions in Christ which just happened to begin on September 11, 2001. The name of my friend who first brought the labyrinth to St. Paul United Methodist Church that same year. The name of my friend who, as a going away gift, gave me and my family a replica of her beautiful Circle of Friends candle holder which we always lighted at the beginning of each meeting of Companions in Christ. The name of my friend who encouraged me when I felt prompted to pursue my labyrinth training with Veriditas yet didn't fully know why. The name of my friend who brought that same portable labyrinth from St. Paul to the Louisville Seelbach Hotel two years ago for a workshop I was in town leading and then stayed to help us pack it up, not getting home until way after midnight. The name of my friend who dropped everything and picked me up last fall at The Louisville Presbyterian Seminary for a last minute dinner when I didn't have a car, and then sat listening to me blabber on and on late into the evening regarding whether or not I should take over hosting The Wisdom of the Labyrinth radio show. The name of my friend who never, ever gives advice but just practices Holy Listening. The name of my friend whose soft, southern voice sounds like an angel's, and who I was talking with on on the phone the very week before she collapsed unexpectedly at almost the exact same moment that I broke my ankle. The name of my friend who is in the hospital at this very moment battling leukemia.

The name of my friend....

Virginia's name has been living in our family's bible for years. It was placed there by one of us when either my husband or I were matched up with her as a prayer partner. Neither of us can remember which one of us it was, as we have both shared so many bible study classes and so many prayers together over so many years. Virginia is more than a pastor, more than a spiritual director, more than a prayer partner, more than a friend. Virginia is a section of our beating hearts. She is a part of our living prayers. She is our Virginia. She is a human embodiment of Christ and of the Sacred Feminine to us.

Sister Kathleen Deignan gave me a beautiful phrase to meditate upon a couple of weeks ago: "Wise as the Serpent and Gentle as the Dove." The moment I saw Virginia's name, I felt a whisper of understanding in my soul as to what that verse meant to me. Thankfully, I stopped in my tracks and did not send that extremely self-righteous email which I surely would have regretted and which had nothing at all to do with Christ's teachings or His love.

Instead, I carried Virginia's name with me to the labyrinth and placed it in the Center. I held it close from the wind with pieces of broken sea glass found on our family beach walks over the past six years of living here in Florida. Soon, other labyrinth walkers arrived and added their own written names and pieces of sea glass to the base of the candle.

We walked with prayers of healing in our hearts. We walked in our brokenness. We walked in our Hope.

Thank you, my Wise and Dove-Gentle friend. Scott and Dylan and I send soft wings of Love to hold you now as you heal.

Be well. Be wholly well. Be Holy Well...

I love you,


deborah said...

i know you write this with deep feelings and your words here are powerful. your virginia is such a blessing. my own pastor years ago would say that so much of the Bible is about how we are "blessed to be a blessing". you are that. p.s.--that church was also a St. Paul's. :)

Robin Bradley Hansel PT, CPI said...

Thank you, dear friend. "St. Paul". Just another amazing connection we share....