It isn’t often that I feel speechless.
This week has been pretty close to one of those times.
My tear ducts, however, seem to be working overtime.
My dearest friend has been in a hospital in Florida all week, gravely ill, and I can’t leave yet to be with her, because of Hurricane Irma.
The hospital is now running on generators and they’re taking her back to surgery.
As I imagine so many of you have done, I’ve practically worn the buttons off my cell phone checking on her and all my other friends and family in the path of this storm.
I grew up in Florida.
My heart wants to be there now.
Instead, I am rationing my Weather Channel time to leave time for praying. (And sanity!)
There are lots of ways to pray.
I, who am what is now called a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), have been learning to pray the rosary. My friend is Roman Catholic.
This is not something I learned in Seminary. Imagine my surprise when I discovered, after looking it up on my cell phone, how much this ancient practice includes many of my own traditions!
I am stunned by all the connections I feel.
Fires. Friends still struggling out from under Harvey. Friends not heard from yet in the early days of Irma. Another friend’s family near the center of the earthquake in Mexico. My family. A beach restaurant Bill and I love, complete with treasured memories of Key Lime pie and strong coffee with real whipped cream for breakfast.
Those connections are a huge part of the reason for these words, in this moment, now.
I’ve also been doing a lot of what my Pilgrimage friends would call painting in dots. Tiny random-esque polka dots, applied with the handle end of a paint brush to the image of a Black Madonna I’ve been painting. Each dot an immediate prayer with, in my case, a name attached to it.
My friend. Her daughter. Her mom. My family. And, the all-encompassing Irma.
It feels a great deal like meditation. Somehow making the dots seems to engage more of me in prayer. It feels like help in setting down some of my anxiety and doing what I can in the moment.
It seemed somehow out of context when the Facebook elves reminded me, yesterday afternoon, that today is “Grandparents Day” in the U.S.
Honestly, I had a bit of trouble finding space for that particular piece of information just now. And yet, despite the fact that I clearly did not get the Hallmark genes in my family, it tugged at me.
Then I figured out why.
You may have heard these words by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes here before, for they are among my favorites:
Do Not Lose Heart. We Were Made For These Times.
“I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now.
Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is, we were made for these times.
One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or despair, thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl.
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.
The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these, to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.” And neither are we….
No matter who you are…if you are a grandparent, or hope to be one, or had one who loved you, or cherish in some way the archetypal grandparent energy in our world, please imagine that this is your “card” for today.
Live who you are.
With hope and blessings for all the world, Sue