Why, friend, do you seek Love?
Love is inside your seeking.
Look through the surface
to see the Depths,
as Love looks from the Depths
to the surface.
It's both ways,
that's the Way.
Isn't the taste of Wine
in the Wine?
And many wines
while one Wine?
For Love, simply Love,
is looking from behind every face you meet,
offering Herself totally to you,
as though you are the only you
She can offer Herself to.
* * *
A surprising call received during a surprising time. I had just tendered my resignation, due to many reasons, but mostly I felt a strong, clear Divine guidance to do so. There were practical reasons, additionally. I had no job to move into, but felt a Call for rest, spiritual retreat, and preparation for relocation. My last earthly parent had died. Also, I had recently moved, partly due to a flooding, three times in recent months. I had worked many hours overtime for two years, much too many for my body healthily to continue to sustain it. And all this while working with death and dying. So, entering this in-between time, what confirmations would I receive affirming I was hearing well and moving in the right direction? After all, I had "misheard" before. One such, of other, confirmations I share here; so, ... and the message is about so much more than the transition I was entering into.
* * *
A phone call came from an RN of a shared patient. The patient was nearing transition toward death. This patient I had visited one time. Initially, the family and patient had declined a visit. On the requested visit, after sharing with family first, while the patient rested in her bedroom on the bed, I sat beside the patient. She shared about dying and, also, her faith in her God. I provided safe space for her to share whatever she wanted, affirming and reassuring her. Near the end, after some forty-five minutes, she asked for prayer. I placed a hand on her arm and prayed, she rested eyes-closed. What I immediately sensed was a powerful sense of presence covering her and a felt-presence hovering to her left.
Afterward, I counseled a family member, her daughter, of death as spiritual process. Tears flowed from her eyes, as she affirmed how helpful the time had been that day. Later, the RN notified me of how much the family had been inspired by the sharing. I was, somewhat, delightfully surprised; yet, this confirmed, as many times prior, loving patients and families in a simple way, not trying to fix, but mostly being present and allowing them to be loved simply was a powerful gift. Of course, in doing that, I had seen how they had become gifts to me, likewise.
* * *
Now, back to that surprising call that began this musing... The family and patient requested to see me again. What was most surprising followed. The RN called informing me the patient, now in pronounced mental confusion, surprised her by having a break in the confusion, saying, "I love Chaplain Brian!" The nurse was alarmed that such clarity could arise from such marked confusion. I was amazed one visit had left such an impression.
I received this as one of the confirmations that the apparently crazy thing of leaving work for a time was a move in the right direction. I felt Grace confirming I had a gift at connecting and comforting through a quiet, contemplative presence, or being-with in safe, nonjudgmental sharing. This was likely prepared for by the intense spiritual practice engaged many years. I took this moment as Spirit affirming that gift would be used in another place, in time. I was not moving away from something as much as moving toward something ~ indeed, no one at the company had wanted me to leave, and I had been offered new opportunities at the company to remain. But, I had learned, I am not in charge of my life ~ even to say my is misleading.
* * *
A second intuition this dear patient's words confirmed to me is the power of a simple loving. That is, being-with as communion, heart-with-heart, not merely self-with-self. This means sharing from deeper than words, from where words arise to be means of blessing. This means not seeking to give canned answers or fix anyone. This means seeing the other person as more than a person, seeing him or her through person, person being veil of essence, of Essence.
we are all Temples
walking on this Earth,
we remember this through the mirror
of the otherness of another
who is that we are
This means appreciating the unique artwork of Grace she or he is in all his or her individuality expressing a common Source. This means seeing one Being being in that one moment of togetherness. In this communion, Love meets Love, and Love loves.
* * *
The words for this, resonating within me, are simple loving. Simple in the sense of pure, innocent, even primal and timeless. This is never about simply you, me, anyone, for something so much more is happening in that common, sacred space. And this sharing Presence is so much more than simply sharing a common space. A common space is the venue for the common heart.
* * *
Again, by request, I visited the family and patient other times. The patient was no longer able to communicate with me, even look at me. I loved her quietly, and, so, loved myself. For in loving another, we love ourselves. There is only one Love, one loving.
* * *
Thank you, dear one. Thank you, for loving me and reminding me of the Gift that arose in the quiet heart-with-heart in those moments of deathless communion. Thank you for being you, and for the means of Grace you were and are to me still. You live within my memory; you live.
* * *
Reflecting on the above reflections, a scene from the Gospel of Jesus, as quoted below of a woman being made whole from a discharge of blood, keeps returning to mind, as it has for many days now.
As Jesus walked, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, no one could make her whole. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately ceased her discharge of blood. And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Teacher, the crowds surround you and are pressing in upon you!" But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling. Falling down before him, she spoke in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been immediately made whole. Jesus relied to her, "Daughter, your trust has made you whole; go in peace."
This story speaks of wisdom that 'transcends' any religion associated with the name Jesus. One thing remarkable in the story is that Jesus does not choose to heal the woman. He only recognizes the power moving from him. He speaks of it after the restoration to wholeness. He never claims to have healed her, he attributes the healing to the woman herself; she had trusted and reached out. The healing, likewise, was more than physical. With the issue of blood, she was considered unclean ritually to participate in the faith-community, she was spiritually alone, alienated, from her native people. She was restored to them, returned to belonging. The social stigma, for religion and society were one in her time and place, of unclean was removed from her, by her trust and action thereby. In a sense, she reclaimed her rightful place among the community, even as her body reclaimed its wholeness. The whole community, from which she had been seen as unfit, was witness to this transformation.
I believe this dying woman, in High Springs, Florida, could say out of the fog of death, "I love Chaplain Brian!", for something had happened through her trust. The Love within her had received the Love within me. She had welcomed me, a stranger, after first denying such, to her bedside. She had chosen to divulge her thoughts and feelings to me, as I sat silently beside her. She had reached out with her whole being, even reaching out her hand for me to hold, touch forming a bridge between us, body and, yes, spirit. In all this, I was simply a receptive presence to her choice to touch and be touched~and not all touch is physical, there is a touch much more subtle, deeper, bearing the unspeakable perfume of the Heart. In such sacred sharing, Love meets Love, intimacy arises between two, for a time becoming one, a single, still yet moving closeness, a single, alive withinness.
*Brian Wilcox. 'Into the Light~Androscoggin River Series no. 5'.