Sickness All Around, Life Goes On, Prayer
Monday’s Meditation: Sickness All Around
May has been a hard month due to sickness arising. A week ago being dealt a blow by the news of a dear friend’s prognosis with her battling cancer, then last night being informed of another dear friend having surgery in her battle with cancer, and this morning receiving the news of another friend’s mom falling and breaking her pelvis in two places – a terrible road of suffering ahead. On Friday I too entered this fray of the unknown and perhaps in the next few days will undergo a set of tests with totally unknown prognosis at this time. So here we all are in the Mystery. Already I am aware that sickness has a way of helping us set priorities and focus on what is important. Or, said another way, makes it very challenging to focus on what suddenly seems unimportant.
And yet life goes on. In these other areas of my life I find I am unsure on many fronts. How are we to move forward with the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork (MAP), even with the issues of the future of Pathwork itself over these next few years as it faces a need to change how it operates. And fiscally, facing the challenge of running a Retreat Center in a sustainable way seems ever present to us in leadership. Then, more personally, there is the dilemma of how to support in love my three children in their challenges of day-to-day living, and prioritizing my longing to grow closer to Pat and other friends. Yes, the agenda of life is rich, challenging, and long.
In this I am drawn to the suffering of Jesus. I have often wondered why such large sections of the canonical gospels deal with the suffering of Jesus. Perhaps the reason is that the inevitable suffering we face in this earth existence is where we do our most meaningful growing, and Jesus was modeling this for us.
Jesus’ modeling includes staying present through it all, being fully human through it all – staying in our own truth, even if our truth in moments means doubting the very presence of God at those most agonizing times, rather than faking an idealized version of how we would want others and ourselves to see how, in our spiritual maturity, we face suffering in courage and trust. Jesus’ modeling also includes praying for deliverance and help yet surrendering to what is, honoring with dignity all involved in the process – even those who have, in their humanness, done less than their best or even done needless harm. And finally, having compassion for ourselves in our humanity – holding ourselves in dignity despite our human weaknesses and foibles. Yes, Jesus modeled this all for us.
One aspect of which I am aware is that these experiences pull us out of our heads and into our hearts. Even with the few short days that I have sat with my own state of not knowing what will come I would say I see the movement toward more heart connection unfolding for me.
Focusing Statement: Pathwork Lecture 80 Cooperation, Communication, and Union, ¶6
Understanding the need for communication and cooperation on the physical level will make you realize that mental, emotional, and spiritual subsistence is necessarily just as dependent on cooperation and communication. You know that the same laws hold true for all levels of existence. It is one of the great errors and tragedies of the human race that this truth is ignored. If people were taught to understand this truth your world would be very different.
I find these words truthful – the need I now have, in working with so many others around me in various capacities, to be pulled into deeper levels of communications and cooperation. How can we more deeply hold each other? How do we connect, truly connect, not only in meeting physical needs, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Expanding the dimensions of connection among us seems like a rich and fulfilling pursuit. My awareness of this has grown in these few days.
For me this awareness of a broader set of connections opens up beautiful possibilities. I barely connect mentally with others. My “Puffed Wheat Cannon” style of communicating via explosive bursts of words and ideas needs to be slowed down to connect even on a mental level. But what would it be like to go more effectively into the other dimensions of communication and cooperation – to connect in the dimensions of our physical, emotional, and spiritual subsistence? Perhaps this is what I and what others in my circle of friends shall learn in days and weeks to come.
And as I enter this Monday morning with the uncertainties of what will arise I am moved to pray. As with Jesus, I pray that those of us involved in this phase of life’s journey be spared suffering. But also, as with Jesus, I pray the following for myself and for others on this journey…
1) I pray that I may grow through this experience – especially in my depth of connection on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels – including, of course, with God.
2) I pray that a spirit of love, dignity, acceptance, and honor emanates from me for all involved in this process.
3) I pray that I may remain in the truth of my experience as a human being with human limitations, and that I may have compassion on myself in those times when my truth is to cry out, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me.” I pray to know that it is OK to be fully human and to be in that truth of doubt when in fact I doubt.
I invite others to join in with such prayer for all of those who may be suffering in whatever way.
Shared in love, Gary