Come, Come, Whoever You Are wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi
Dear friends, near and far,
I have not forgotten the troubles of the world. I advocate and counsel and serve as ever. I’m exploring the healing power of public storytelling. Nevertheless, I am mindful of my need for stillness. As the poet Hafiz said six hundred years ago:
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare—
Don’t mix them!
You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
For God. ~ Hafiz
I grew quiet in October when my Susanna Noel died peacefully in my arms. Liliana Mistletoe, Susie’s aristocratic sister, and her little adopted sister Emma Jane remain lovingly with me. Lily is an “upstairs cat”, intelligent and wise, content on my lap as I write. Emma Jane, younger, sensitive, reactive and athletic is never far from her feral roots. She tears around the house in the evening and spoons peacefully with me at night.
Now the bridge between my monkey and my queen is gone. Susie was the glue that softened all the edges in our life together that didn’t otherwise fit. She was kind and endlessly forgiving; the “meeter and greeter” in in our house who could charm the socks off the most crusty of workman. Never one for halves, offering full fluffy tummy for a friendly scratch was simply Susie’s way of saying hello and welcome. The downstairs is too quiet and Susie’s favorite chair too empty.
With the loss of Susie, I have grown softer and more still. It feels strange at a time in the world that calls for so much strength and action. I don’t think it is the softness of weakness but of waiting, of listening, of preparation. At 65 I find the cliché true, that I know less as I grow older. Yet the things I do know have deepened in certainty. The wise seek and wait in equal measure. They initiate, going first into unknown places on faith of finding truth. They bring gifts, chosen by heart, rather than traveling empty handed in expectation. They are humbled by and grateful for what they find, often in the most unlikely of places. They take time to pause, to reflect, to ponder.
In the midst of this meditative time, when something speaks to me, it does so deeply. I was moved during the funeral of GHW Bush at the mention of a plaque he had kept for many years before giving it to a friend, passing the wisdom on. “Preach Christ at all times. If necessary, use words.”
Just as in more active times than now, I use direct words of faith rarely and trust that my commitment to inclusion and compassion speaks for itself.
By whatever name the Divine is known to you, may you dwell in grace.
Today I’m flying low and I’m
Not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes as it must,
The bees in the garden rumbling a little,
The fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
A terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
Into the temple.
~ Mary Oliver
Though still, I’m not hard to find or follow:
Jeanne C. Folks, D.Min, LPC
CT Psychotherapeutic Resources
12 Old Farms Road Avon, CT 06001
Web site: http://CounselingWithDrFolks.com