Beyond Ordinary Time: Meeting in Rumi’s Field

"Let us go to the house of the Lord." Artwork: Psalm 122:1 by Okaybabs

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

Happy End of Ordinary Time! On this day after the Feast of Christ the King, after we have made our way through the celebrations that surround Thanksgiving — preparing our turkeys,  transforming and gobbling leftovers, watching enough football, playing our board games, or having enough conversation to keep us tided over till Christmas —  I’m giving thanks for today. I’m celebrating that one particular family member that drove me a bit nuts, the conversations that stretched me in my capacity to be compassionate, and for what now informs my heart, mind and spirit, as I lean toward the next liturgical season in our church. I am inviting a deeper sense of awe, a more inspired capacity to wonder, and opening up the door of my contemplative heart to welcome Advent.

In my prayer and meditation this day, I turn toward poetry. Conscious of the shift in time noted by the liturgical calendar, and what my spirit knows intuitively, I hold images of a God who reigns as Creator of the Universe; I think of a King who leads through service; I usher in the tender images of child resting in straw; I stretch to see that babe grown and nailed to a tree. And I ready my heart through prayerful poetry.

As we turn to this holy season of Incarnation, I invite you to join me in wonder, in awe, in a wordless space of contemplation and deep reverence for our God, our Universe, for Love.  I invite you to join me in this field, as described by 13th Century Sufi poet and mystic, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi:

I will meet you there.

I will meet you there.

I will meet you there.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.*

–Rumi

We are full. We empty ourselves. We soften. We surrender. We stop to rest and become conscious of what Love has invited us to see.

Will you join me in this field? Will you help me walk toward Advent with an ineffable sense of awe, a bewildered sense of joy, a consciousness informed by humility?

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*Coleman Barks on Rumi’s “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing” Hear translator Coleman Barks read this poem and talk about its meaning.

Falling in Love…with God

Holding hands

"I am thankful for...."

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

I love falling in love. I keep thinking and ruminating on this. The falling-in-love-phenomenon that is my life, that is all of our lives, if we are so lucky. That tingly, beside-ourselves school-girl experience that makes you giggle and blush and rejoice in your daily tasks. I know Love. I know God.

These musings bubble up in my prayer as images: the delight in a child’s face, soft skin of chubby cheeks breaking into a smile as I enter the room; the touch of a hand on mine when I gasp during an action scene in the latest 007 film; the connectedness of a faith community circled in prayer reciting the Our Father — all eyes closed, lips moving, palms upright; the sight of a nun driving a mini-van en route to her home town — returning to attend a conference, but shepherding me along the scenic river route to the city where her call originated. In and through all of these, I recognize a benevolent God at work; a Creator firing my own imagination — my heart, mind, spirit.

I’m in love. I know God.

Counting my blessings this day, I keep giving thanks. On facebook, I note the phenomenon that is gratitude list-making  as we count our November days. I am tempted to start a litany of my own: “Ways I know God’s love as we all make our way toward Thanksgiving and the Advent Season.”

Here’s today’s attempt at such a gratitude list:
I am thankful for….Rumi’s poetry. Notes from Claire. Invitations from a Vis Companion. Lunch with Marsha. A joke told by Francois. Crusty homemade bread with butter. Sharp Vermont Cheddar. The wrinkled hand of a sister holding my own in the hospital. A recorded birthday message incorporating a strumming ukulele.

I’m in love. I know God.

***

In the quiet of your day, in your cubicle; as you bow your head before a meal; or before you lay your body down to rest, I invite you to reflect on the ways that you know God’s love. How do you find yourself falling, in deep, abiding, joyful love for your life– for the small ways that you know Love’s invitation to immerse yourself in a moment and say, “Thank you”?