"Yours is to live it, not to reveal it." - Helen Luke
"...I've come to understand her last instruction as an invitation to shed any grand purpose, no matter how devoted we may be to what we are doing. She wasn't telling me to stop writing, but to stop striving to be important. She was inviting me to stop recording the poetry of life and to enter the poetry of life.This passage struck me deeply. What does it mean to "devote ourselves to the life at hand?" Looking up "devote" and "devotion" tells us that it involves wholehearted giving of oneself and one's resources; the root is in "consecration," - the word's origin is "vow."
"This lesson applies to us all. If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising."
It resonated with one of my favorite passages in "Radical Grace" by Richard Rohr. Writing about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her actions upon receiving the visit from an angel who announces Mary's pregnancy, Rohr says:
"The events themselves will be her guide and teacher. She does not need to figure it out and plan accordingly; the plan will be given by God through life's encounters. Reality is her teacher. That is why she could hear angels.I held on to this passage when Katie was in the hospital. My prayer practice had been so peaceful and regular, before her illness; once we were uprooted and transplanted from our old life, my practice became prayer-in-action, pray-as-you-go, the prayer of living service. It was the prayer of devotion, wholehearted giving. Now, eight years later, I pray to work and live as wholeheartedly today as I did then, in the midst of the crisis of illness.
"Decisive action beyond our fears gives us a sense of our own power and the power of God within us. [Mary] can hold her power comfortably because she knows it is from Beyond."
Since Katie's passing, I have accepted invitations to serve in places which - eight years ago - were not even on my personal radar: the University of Washington's School of Medicine and Field's End Writer's Community are two examples. Serving on panels, taking classes and teaching classes are fun and rewarding ways to give. Now, I have entered a new field of learning and service: I recently completed the first level of Jikiden Reiki training. Reiki is a spiritual healing practice which is not linked to a religion. It originated in Japan, and it is a way to practice healing prayer, relying upon the power of Universal Life Force, or ki (which is another name for God). I am enjoying the practice enormously.
This is a natural step, after a summer of suffering physical pain, limitation and the medications which masked it. It is also a natural step, considering my attachment to my DVD project as "the" way to help clinicians deal with their grief and pain. In releasing my grip on that project, I can now see other ways to serve. Reiki is practiced in medical centers and has unlimited potential. Its Gokai, or five principles, are:
Just for today -
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Do your duties
Be kind to others
In "Do your duties," I hear, "work wholeheartedly," or "devote yourself."
Life itself is revealing where I need to go. God provides the inspiration, and the power of His creativity and love, and I follow, as wholeheartedly as possible.