There are good friends among us who believe that this life, this body, is all there is and there is no more.
But what happens when, not if, in the sweep of the journey, our bodies fail as they invariably will? What are we left with which will sustain us to our dying breath?
All our lives, we are told that our bodies are the temple of God and that it is important to take care of our bodies, to keep them fit by what we eat and drink, what we ingest. We are told to exercise if we simply walk and breathe in and out. We are told that worry, stress and negative thinking are not in the interest of a healthy or well-rounded life.
May I assume there is more to us than our bodies? And while I am at it, may I suggest that every single one of us has a spiritual dimension, something within which sustains us when our bodies cease to be all they once were?
Maybe we are body, mind and spirit and all the parts of the whole are to be nourished as we change and grow and become.
Since I know my body is not what it used to be and my mind is still strong but sometimes fails me, there is a spiritual dimension of who I am where I want to dig deeper, discover new dimensions of being, explore the possibilities, and live on the cutting edge.
Like yesterday which I can only describe as a sweet day from dawn to way into the night, when it seemed that I was especially in the flow and in touch with the part of me which is spiritual and yes eternal.
Quite by accident of timing when I was out on another errand, I wandered into the weekly celebration of the Eucharist at my church. I was disheveled and unshaven yet I was in the company of eight presently earth-bound fellow-travelers and yes the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.
We shared the bread and wine which is more and more the indispensable nourishment of my journey. We later ate piping hot homemade soup and fresh baked bread at a round table on a winter day. It was home. It was what matters to me.
My son and I talked by cell phone of old memories of home and place and family when we reflected on the anniversary of my mother’s birth. We were touching the eternal attributes of love and grace and care which sustain all of us with the passing of time.
In the afternoon, I read The Cloud of Unknowing in preparation for the spiritual direction for the coming year I will gladly receive from Victor Kramer, a Thomas Merton scholar whose books on Merton, James Agee, and Walker Percy are quite enriching and compelling. I feel the need for this dimension of spirituality and next year, I hope to turn increasingly to the great religions of the east, including Taoism.
The Cloud of Unknowing by an unknown writer in the 14th century is full of grace and mercy, eternal dimensions. The book elicits a hunger for contemplation in a world far too noisy, a world which can never satisfy the soul.
I finished the last hours of my day with further preparation for the leadership I am providing in Adult Formation for six weeks at church around Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward/A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. All fifteen copies of the book are being read and discussed with an extraordinary group of fellow-travelers.
My friends of a certain age, are sharing more and more of the places where they are summing up, being and doing the things that matter most to them. I am exceedingly grateful for this chapter of the journey.
Here the mourning doves come to drink as they do every day.
With thanks to bardcat