Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wherever you are, whatever you do, be in love

The words of the Sufi mystic poet Rumi. I find myself
travelling on the Seattle to Victoria clipper. Snowcapped mountains rise straight out of the Puget Sound. And I’m listening to my new love – Krista Tippet and the wonderful speaking of faith program on American Public Radio. Since Padraig introduced me to the wonder of Krista I’ve listened to the programmes with John O’Donohue, Elie Wiesel and Karen Armstrong. Today I’m listening to the Ecstatic Faith of Rumi with Fatima Keshavarz of Washington University.

Rumi was a 12th century Sufi mystic and poet who wrote in Persian and his influence is huge. He inspired the whirling dervishes by spinning around a column as he recited his poems. He also wrote some amazing sensual poetry. Fatima Keshavarz describes him as someone who saw human love as a mirror of the divine. His poetry is simultaneously in praise of God and also a more earthly love. He said everything is quickened or whirling in the face of love and there is no boundary between the two.

“How did Jesus raise the Dead. Kiss me on the lips. That is how.”

Longing itself is redemptive. Valuing perplexity – not knowing is a way of learning and propelling us forward. Rumi says we can never be done.

“Stay bewildered in God and only that.”

And perhaps finally something for our own fundamentalist age.

“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrongdoing is a field. I will meet you there.”

The full programme is fantastic. Click on the title above to go straight to the Speaking of Faith website. I really believe it is the best thing on public radio. So check it out. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.


Monday, June 16, 2008

In the twinkling of an eye

So I've been away for a while. Thanks to those who have kept dropping in to the blog. I cant promise any more regular blogs over the next while but there is a reason. So let me tell you a story. Its like this........

In the blink of an eye life changes. Sometimes it starts with something as simple as a conversation. In an old house, in a glacial valley we leaned in, elbows on the table, and talked quietly over the soup and wheaten bread. She smiled and looked at me with clear blue eyes. Somehow that was enough. A risk was taken, and an adventure began, the end of which is not yet written. It felt like coming home, a harbour for my weary soul, that first sight of land after a long ocean voyage.
A few nights ago we drove to a beach in Donegal for a picnic but the rain fell, glittering on the windscreen like jewels in the evening light. We couldn’t sit on the beach, but instead broke bread in a car made magical by her presence. Add in fresh cheese, olives, peppers stuffed with feta, strawberries and cream and some chocolate. And yet with a glass of wine in hand it’s the conversation that seems rich. Time slows down and just before the sun sinks away the rain stops. We walk on the cliffs for a few minutes, hand in hand silhouetted against the red clouds. I don’t know what the next chapter will be but right now this is enough. Right now I am content and secure in the present – almost to content to write. I have been surprised by joy and there is so much to say and share with each other that the blog world is fading in significance. I will be back at some point.
In the blink of an eye life changes and for that I’m truly thankful.