Love is born(A prayer, from one of my new favorite books). The theme for this time of my life seems to be grace. Grace, in a transcendent, transformative sense, not just the opposite of clumsiness, though they are likely related.
with a dark and troubled face
when hope is dead
and in the most unlikely place
Love is born:
Love is always born.
God help us to live slowly:
To move simply:
To look softly:
To allow emptiness:
To let the heart create for us.
As I find myself reflecting recently, it seems that life - love - is so very much about the connection between sorrow and joy. Like in the cycles of nature, the decaying of old organic matter provides nutrients for new life to emerge. These tender green plants, nurtured by the sun's warmth, grow forth from the dark moist soil of life that has passed.
Anyway, that same process occurs within us. Over and over, sorrow wrenches from us that which we clutch. Over and over, loss increases our capacity. And grace, love as a force in the universe, restores and replenishes when we are certain we have run dry, each time, as we allow it. My focus during Lent was to empty myself, to allow the process to happen, to not hold back and to not push forward. Each time I denied myself (dessert or candy or cookies) served to remind me of this focus with which I entered the season. In many small ways, I learned to experience love - fierce, terrifying, joyful, surprising LOVE - at a greater depth and breadth.
A couple friends and I attended the Easter Eve service at Trinity Church. The ancient traditions, gently blended with modern sensibilities... the sacred decorations on the walls, windows, arches... the candles, the standing, the sitting, the kneeling at the altar and being blessed. The symbolism of the service truly resonated through my soul and body as we, strangers and friends, made the collective, symbolic journey from darkness to light, death to life.
The next morning, at my own faith's Easter service (LDS), the volunteer choir performed many carefully and sincerely prepared songs, and a few different members of the congregation shared their thoughts and feelings on the season. The final hymn was for the entire congregation to sing. For some reason, I wanted to stand to sing it. I wanted to feel the notes of praise and reverence coming from deep within me. I looked over at Julia and could tell that she wanted to stand up too. So we did. We stood up and began to sing so loudly and so joyfully and motioned to Rachel, who was sitting between us and stood up too. Nobody else joined, though.
For several lines of the hymn, at least. Then, out of the blue, the stake president and one of the members of the bishopric who were sitting at the front of the chapel, facing everyone, stood up. Then the rest of the bishopric. I don't know why they did it, maybe because they didn't want us to feel like we were standing alone. Since they were standing, though, everyone else in the entire meeting stood up as well. Feeling, seeing everybody rising up around us, joining together in this familiar song, made me feel so much a part of this congregation, something I had not felt in an LDS congregation in so long. So many things (doubts, questions, struggles with gender roles or gay marriage and other "official positions") make me feel separate from these brothers and sisters. That is not the point, though, for anyone to feel alone or separate, but to become whole, as individuals, and unified, collectively. And I know others struggle with these same things, but for once I felt a beautiful sense of belonging and support. Standing together, whole, different, unified. This is Zion.
I hope that I may continue to allow emptiness, to allow myself to be filled. I hope that I may continue to see small glimpses of the face of love which leave me trembling and blessed.