Ordinary Time

My grandmother and mother in the coal mining town of Windber, Pennslyvania. Peace and blessings be upon them.

Once a month, on Monday mornings, I join a group of soul divers for a Soul Writer's Circle. We putter and write. We read poems and talk about mystery. We laugh and cry and breathe and come home.

Yesterday's meeting was an exploration of acceptance. To give you a taste of the wisdom that was shared in the circle, here's a smidge of what I wrote down from the gathering:

This is how trust builds - by meeting the impossible over and over.

I want to get close to the truth.

Acceptance is the invitation to stay because something showed up.

When I forget, acceptance remembers me.

The beauty I find every time I step into the flow of my life.

Even the no is shining.

If you find yourself exhaling at the medicine each sentence offers, you're not alone. Can you imagine that such extraordinary people exist?

And that they might be the person standing next to you at the grocery store check out line, or the gentleman who's mowing his lawn across the street? Or even you?

One of the writing prompts we were given was about facing our own death or the death of someone dear to us. What came to mind was my mom and dad. Both rounding the bend to eighty, each visit I have with them is a reminder of impermanence and the particular preciousness of loving another human being.

Ordinary Time

The last time you saw your parents you

hugged them, hard, at the sliver of airport

curb. They looked so much smaller than

you'd remembered them – your dad in his

baseball hat and jacket, your mom in her

black cardigan and slip on shoes.

As a child they seemed like giants. When

did that change? You do not yet feel as

solid inside as they felt to you then, and

this frightens you. When they are gone, will

that solidity sprout?

When you visit them, you do not do

much. You deadhead the lilac bush and rake

leaves. You sit together in the soft mornings

and read the paper over breakfast. You sort

the puzzle pieces into boxes in the basement.

Their home is so generous. In every corner

a memory feeds you:

Here is where the cousins piled onto

mattresses on the floor, pillows and stuffed

animals and a night light behind the fan.

Here is where you left cookies and a carrot

on Christmas Eve, and where your brother

ate the milky communion, keeping the

story of Santa alive for one last year.

Here is where you had the argument

you were certain could never be repaired

that has taught you more about love than every

shining moment.

When they are gone, will

the feeding remain?

As a child, you were afraid

of loss – moving the furniture

or cutting your hair created a hole,

a crater that swallowed you until

the change became the new center.

When they are gone, what will open?

What will be your center, then?

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