Depouillement–Letting Go

I have neglected this blog for over a year…a year of letting go, multiple challenges with the death of my mother, some remodeling, my husband’s recent surgery and more–I spare you the details.

Through it all, my strength has been my morning prayer time and many times throughout the day when the Lord has gently reminded me that he is walking with me.

I began to write a book of daily meditations on the Gospels , intending to write 365 to publish in hard copy and on Kindle. This project began in June. I have only written twelve. God has been prompting me to move on it and I have decided to offer them here, instead of in book form–hoping that dropping the idea of so many reflections in a reasonable period of time will free me from the paralysis that comes from feeling overwhelmed. Little by little, I will share them on this blog with the desire that they bring whoever reads them closer to the Lord. Just the process of writing them has brought me great joy and new insights into Jesus’ life among us.

Today, I would like to share with you a poem that I posted recently on my poetry blog. It deals metaphorically with the letting go of aging–a period of life that invites me to greater intimacy with God.

Depouillement*
A Haibun

Do falling leaves ache with the pain of letting go? Or do they revel in the freedom of floating and of the taste of earth? Did they boast of glorious colors that they wore in days before releasing their hold on life?

And the trees—do they grasp obsessively to their robes of glory, regret the day that finds them stripped, exposed and naked—vulnerable to cold and rain.

I am October now, buffeted by aging. I hurl my somethingness into the great unknown, one gift at a time. I face the imminence of winter, move beyond the sting of loss into the joy of unknown expectations. I am old but full of hope, in the springtime of new life. Beneath the soil life pulses.

Je suis depouilée
stripped bare like October trees
richness lies hidden

Photo: Victoria Slotto

*The French word depouillement means stripping. The verb depouiller is to strip. The first line of the haiku translates : I am stripped.

Haibun is a Japanese poetry form that combines a short introduction written in prose, followed by a Haiku.

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“Catching Sight of God”

“Immediately, upon catching sight of Jesus, the whole crowd was overcome by awe.”
Mark, 9, 15 (NAB)

Photo: consecratetheday.com

Photo: consecratetheday.com

This verse from Mark caught my attention this morning. It occurs at the beginning of an account in which Jesus heals a boy possessed by a deaf and mute spirit that threw him into what we would describe as epilepsy. The disciples lacked faith to heal him themselves and Jesus got on their case for that before asking the lad’s father to believe. The entire story is full of lessons and points to ponder–but it’s that verse I quoted above that commanded my attention today.

Two points: the preceding account is that of the Transfiguration in which Jesus gave Peter, James and John a glimpse of his divine beauty–or perhaps it was the Father’s doing. I have to imagine that after that, Jesus still had a radiance about him that struck the crowd.

I’ve seen that among his followers, haven’t you? The knowledge of God, an experience of his presence in our lives, really does transform us and there is a certain joy, a radiance that shines through our physical person. In my work with death and dying, I’ve even seen it in the midst of pain and impending loss when there is an undercurrent of faith that supports both the patient and their loved ones.

Second point: we, too, can catch sight of Jesus in the unfolding of every single day…perhaps in another person, perhaps in moments of prayer, in those moments that we can cultivate when doing the most menial of tasks like laundry or dishes, during a commute, working in the garden where we can appreciate the wonder of creation and the need of the constant attention needed to pull out those darn weeds (guess what I did this morning).

Jesus shows up, sometimes when we least expect it…if we look for him. Would you share (in comments) how he took you by surprise today. Or is there an event from the past you would like to share. Maybe this will help a fellow follower to zoom in on the Presence.

Thank you.