From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:
Hardly recognizing I’ve been washed
I catch the scent of sun-sweet cleanliness
and wondering about the source
don’t stop to ponder greater need.
Seeing that the new spring rain
has made all Nature fresh again
I leave to her the task of self-renewal
and disregard my likeness to her own.
But restlessness o’ertakes me
and I no pleasure gain from her fair form
as I encounter winter in my spirit
where new April life should be.
I cannot rise in rapture
to match the show of beauty splashed about
but witnessing new wonder
feel myself begin to plummet to despair.
I question her concerning this
and hear her say
my clothes are soiled beyond restoring
and I must discard all
before I can be washed full clean.
I cannot readily agree to give up favored garments
and cast aside what have become
the ordered habits of my days.
Then I an inventory take
of all these purchased,
and old ones altered to conform
to the image I’ve desired for all to see.
And realizing all are worn and dingy
and no longer hold the shape and newness
they once had
still wonder what replacements
I can find more worthy than these wraps
I’ve clung to for so long.
While pondering this question
I become so conscious of anxiety
at present state I cannot find a
single satisfying garment wrap around.
I think of all my dreams
where I run free
while all the others
stand by and stare.
And realize the message of the dream
directs me to an inner casting off
where I unhesitatingly
walk about with barefoot spirit
happy to be free
of all encumbrances.
And thinking of the ancient rite
of river cleansing
seal of sacrament
concluded with new convert
wrapped in clean white robe.
I remember Nature’s words
and tell her in hushed voice
that I agree my washing need is great
and looking to her purgatorial source
to take away my soul soil utterly
I cease debating how or when or where
some earthly pure white robing might occur.
From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:
Is suffering a choice? Leigh says “yes”; Betsy disagrees. And neither has had a particularly happy life. But the fact that suffering might be chosen should give us the impetus to walk lightly along our paths. As the sympathetic executioner is reported to have said to Socrates on handing him the hemlock: “And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs be . . .”
Sometimes the best therapy is going to work each day. An easy attitude toward one’s duties is a remarkable coping mechanism. Should one resist, the force field may become stronger, and the flow all but gone.
David said that he thought I would be very good at library administration, but that I would be perfectly miserable in my work. Yes, I too fear I would be in a place where no birds sing.
So I risk making a mistake by avoiding this challenge in order to travel peacefully along more pleasant pathways.
After all, the A Course in Miracles says, “Heaven asks nothing. It is hell that makes extravagant demands for sacrifice.” (W-pI.135.24:3-4) In the cool of fading evening, I think I will be glad I listened to the songs of birds.