F Words: Fog, Floods and Friendship

I have spent all of November in a bit of a fog, under doctor’s orders to rest. I can hear you say, how wonderful, and I didn’t mind either to begin with. This was the “cure” for for Lyme disease. But it’s not as easy as you think. It’s been a very good challenge for my ego which likes to plan, be active, productive, hey, even do the things I feel “called” to do. And just as things were starting to go well…..

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Selkie wondering which way to go!

I had to cancel the lovely group of women who meet here to delve into the gospel of Thomas, postpone a retreatant, advise others that I couldn’t offer retreat guidance, abandon the garden, limit phone calls with friends, and cut out most if not all social activity. Thankfully I was able to still take Selkie out morning and evening, watching daily as the river rose to flood level, bursting its banks and curtailing our walks in places.

I read a quote a while ago which went along the lines of “find the place in you that lives beyond death”. I think that’s what this recovery process is about. I’m not indispensible, people will find their way spiritually without me. It’s a very interesting process to reflect on the fact that life will go on for others after we die.

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Selkie found this melee of mandarin ducks in a flooded pond

The flip side of this coin if you like is learning that we are loved for who we are, not for what we do. I don’t know how this gets so ingrained in us, but I did get some clues about my own propensity for performance enhancing love on my recent retreat. Richard Rohr wrote in a recent piece “this God wants to love and be loved rather than be served”. Our calling is to relationship, not to a task.

About 30 years ago,  I had a bathtime spiritual moment, when a voice clearly said to me “I have called you to be a friend”. I have lots of good friends, and I find it easy to carry that out when it comes to them. I had also made some steps towards  embracing people who I don’t find easy to befriend. But on my recent 30 day retreat, the penny finally dropped that the primary relationship with the Divine, God, the Centre, is friendship.

“The journey of the pilgrims is two steps and no more:

One is passing out of selfhood,

And one towards mystical union with the Friend”.

From the Secret Rose Garden, written by Shabistari a 14th Century Sufi mystic.

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A very full river Dart at Staverton

 

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