Week Three: Tuesday
In this sometimes bittersweet season, where joy can be so elusive because of all the activity, anxiety, and noise which surround us, I turn in this journey to the Light to the wisdom of a current guide, Brother David Steindl-Rast, an American monk born in 1926 who still is leading us forward. What draws me to Brother David is his work with interfaith dialogue (because none of us has “God in a Box”) and because of his work integrating spirituality with science, both areas of interest that resonate with me. In 2000, he co-founded A Network for Grateful Living (gratefulness.org), an organization dedicated to gratefulness and thanksgiving as a transformative influence for individuals and society.
To be joyful, to be connected to that anchor of Love, includes the practice of gratitude, even (or especially) when shadows form around us. I admit that gratitude is something I sometimes fail to express, and because of that failure, joy can elude me. My husband (another wise guide) recently reminded me of the futility in balking against what we cannot control (especially others) because doing so only leads to misery. Instead, we look for those flickers of Light that point the way to something or Someone greater than us which is still, and always, connected to us. We are not left alone, and for that truth, I am deeply grateful.
Another path to joy is stillness, something that Brother David has taught and written about at length. We often are not a very still people. We like to have projects. We like to stay busy. We believe that producing somehow makes us worthy, and so we prefer being human doings rather than human beings. Perhaps by avoiding being still, we add to our misery or discomfort because we may be missing an angel’s message of peace.
An image of stillness that has been with me this turbulent year is of an old sturdy tree, perhaps an aged hickory, oak, or tupelo tree, beside still waters, with its roots sunk deep within the earth. It does not speak or make noise as it yields in true trust to the passing of each season, from birth to loss, from loss to birth. I wonder what it hears in its own listening that keeps it so grounded. My guess is “peace.” May we, too, accept the invitation to hear. Blessings to you.