Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hope as a Spiritual Practice

A monastery where I've found some peace and some spiritual direction burned to the ground at the end of April. Doesn't that just figure? That's what my cynical self asks -or suggests. The place I find solace burns up; my power to attract negative energy apparently knows no end. (insert eyeroll here... I don't really believe that.)

But they're rebuilding. I don't know what their meetings are like. I don't know what their individual reflections are like. There must certainly be moments of despair and darkness, particularly for the person who's single-handedly financially supported the monastery. However bleak those moments are, though, they're choosing to rebuild.

(If you want to help them, go here: John Michael Talbot)

One chooses -they're choosing- to act as if they're certain that there is goodness in the world, that given the opportunity people will do the good thing, that the universe will support any effort to bring good into the world.

I know, in a way I never knew before, how much courage and faith that takes, and I stand in absolute awe. I've spent the day putting my phone away where I can't reach it. I've wanted to talk to Dave -the one I used to know- so badly today that I can hardly stand it. The thing I have to do, the grownup-Andrea-thing, is not do that. I have to remember that no good ever comes to me from that. There is no hope there. I don't mean hope for a marriage. There's been no hope there for a long time. I mean there's no hope that he is who I want him to be -that he is the man he ought to want to be.

Work was hard -and I'm bloody TRYING to bring good into the world. The legal stuff was hard, and I'm trying to do that gracefully and without too much malice. Is it wrong or naive to want to talk to someone -to talk to my husband- about that? Of course I know it is. But I'm thinking that the universe should jolly-well step up to the plate and support the people who try to bring good to the world. So how do I reconcile these two things -the courage to believe that the universe supports the good and the courage I need -to believe that this particular person will take advantage of the fact that I'm trying to be and do good? Or am I just failing to live up to the possibility of hope as a spiritual practice, and I ought to act differently?

Here's all I have right now. Their fire and my trial-by-fire... it all does the same thing. It strips away all the stuff you think you need -the buildings and the history in their case, the relationship and the history in mine. It teaches you who you are. It teaches you that you can live with terror and even move through it, slowly and carefully if need be. It teaches you to hope for the right things.

They might wish that their buildings and artifacts had never been burned. I might wish that my life hadn't been ransacked. But so what? Wish all you want. What you have is right in front of you. Deal with that. Move forward from that. The right hope is in the belief that you can.

Right this minute that hope -for me- is feeling as fragile as it felt in the beginning of this process.

1 comment:

Nina said...

The monastery is a good metaphor. Fire is a good metaphor. I, too, believe that the universe gives way and finds a place for goodness and love to thrive.

I also believe that the universe has ebbs and flows and forces that should be kept at bay. Hide the phone. He's not at the other end.

Don't listen to country music.