“Abwoon d’bwashmaya” (Our Father which art in heaven)
“Nethqadash shmakh” (Hallowed be thy name)
Boy, the past few days, have I been a mess. Everything, and I mean everything, suddenly came crashing down on me: my age, the loss of a significant friendship, my mother’s illness, my children living their own lives, my marriage challenges, my impending monthly, allergies, exhaustion, there’s probably more that I’m forgetting because I need to add forgetfulness to the list – and all that black swarming cloud of anxiety has been following me to bed, where it hovers over my head and keeps me awake. I didn’t sleep again last night, so I came into the living room and sat down on the couch. I checked my stuff online. I set my computer aside and made some tea and went back to the couch and drew in my art journal. Then I spent some time looking around the room, thinking about decor for awhile. Then I picked up my Prayers of the Cosmos book, the one in which the author presents the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic and offers his insight into each line. I’m only up to line two at this point, but this is what happened to me today.
There I was, breathing in “Abwoon d’bwashmaya” and breathing out “Nethqadash shmakh” several times, over and over, when – to my surprise – I began to feel as if my insides were awash in a warm bath of the most accepting love ever. Then I heard in my spirit:
You’re back, Kelly. You know that, don’t you?
Me: Yes Lord, I know that. I’ve been away for a long time, haven’t I?
No, you haven’t. You’ve been right here the whole time.
And then I started to cry. Like I’m doing again now, telling you about it. (Incidentally, I love how it works that even when God isn’t speaking through anybody but yourself, there’s still paradox: I’m back, yet I never left. I freaking love that, it’s one of my favorite things about God.)
I don’t know how long I was there, curled up and unmoving on the couch, saturated in the overwhelming love of God and feeling of home, but it was a good while. When my mind began to stir again, I thought about how Thich Nhat Hanh reveres Jesus, and encourages the westerners who flock to his Buddhist sangha in droves to go back to their Christian roots because that’s where they belong. He tells them that it’s good to take back whatever they learn from him and others, but to stop rejecting where they had been born, and to whom they had been born. And it reminded me of what I’d just read in 2012: The Return of Quetzlcoatl, where author Daniel Pinchbeck relates that he had begun to think seriously about Jesus — startling to him because he’d grown up an atheist, and had never thought much of Christianity at all. He wrote several pages about it, but this is the part that struck me so powerfully:
The figure of the sacrificed Christ represents an awkward antipode to contemporary trends, suggesting that the pursuit of meaningful spirituality requires a commitment to the collective that goes beyond the limits of what is comfortable or reasonable. Among contemporary yogis and post-modern mystics, alienation from the revolutionary figure of the biblical and Gnostic Christ may represent a necessary phase before we can return to this tradition, integrating it at a deeper level of understanding. Since we are removed from all spiritual dogma, we have the opportunity to explore our own heritage as if it were new and original.
Maybe this was what was meant when God said I’d left but had never really gone anywhere… I love it! I still have my Buddha sitting on a shelf, out of gratitude for what I’ve learned from his teachings, but after having read that passage, I dug out of storage an old family etching of Jesus on the cross and am going to put that up in the living room today. It’s pretty big! There’ll be no missing it, that’s for sure. This morning, I’m at peace. Love to you all!