My grace is enough for you.
When you are weak
My power is made perfect in you.
-Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
So much pain. So much change. So much fear. Such was the last couple of weeks. My mom, who is in the Bay Area, suffered a stroke. She is now in rehab but that means her decreased mobility will make it harder for her caregivers, my sister and husband.To keep my schedule flexible just in case, I had to cancel my friend Pat's arrangement for me to fly to Denver to teach a couple of yoga classes. All designed for me to meet with a dear friend for some deep talk.
Then I treated a yoga friend to a birthday dinner. She told me that she only has $3 in her checking account and does not know where her car payment will come from. And of course my daughter is still looking for a job.
Another friend emailed me and said that her husband wants a divorce. Living with him was a roller coaster ride because of his temperament. She is gripped in fear. She is now at a retreat house pondering her situation while also trying to keep herself together.
So it was a welcome break when last weekend my wife and I attended a weekend retreat at the Palisades Retreat Center an hour away from home. The silent contemplative retreat is an introduction to Centering Prayer, founded by Fr Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk. This was special to me because this is one time that Annie joined me in a spiritual retreat. I met a couple of wonderful nuns. And I learned another prayer method to help me deepen my quest for intimacy with the Beloved.
My practice is centered around the idea that the heart can be open at all times, especially when hell is breaking loose. When the heart is closed, with the illusion that it is protected, it misses the beauty, the goodness, the delight, that flies with these arrows of the night.
My friend with the problematic husband conveyed that the Sanctus 15 prayer session from my book helped her calm down. Here is a portion of Psalm 55:
Attend to me and sustain me;
I am troubled in my complaint.
My heart is in anguish within me
The terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
But I call upon God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he will hear my voice.