Years ago, a woman I knew experienced some serious suffering, and I remember being astonished to hear her say, in the very midst of her misery, “I can’t wait to see how this is going to transform into something good for me.” She was smiling as she said it, not a wide, showy smile, but a modest one that simply said, “I see something good in all this.” There was a sense of self-assurance, almost a sanguine buoyancy in her smile, as though she understood that goodness sometimes leaves its best gifts in the center of suffering. She was almost excited, it seemed, to see how peace and wisdom would somehow work their wizardry inside her suffering – somehow transform her anguish into understanding and expansion. I think of her sometimes when I’m working through some small misfortune. I see her smile in her wise way. I hear her say, “A gift is being given to you. Don’t miss it.”
Well, on our walk in the Peace Sanctuary this morning, we discovered that some kind of ‘gift’ is being given, because the house at the top of the drive into the sanctuary has been revamped into rubble.
There’s a major transformation – a ‘gift’ – happening there, and we’ll be watching for the good that – somehow, someway – will arise from the rubble.
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AN ELDERLY, AFFABLE LIFE
(a poem about Bill M., 87, Blessings, CT)
In his elderly, affable life,
he can usually see the darkest valleys
transforming into fulfilling hills,
and he makes mountainous troubles
soften simply by looking at them lovingly.
The breathing of winds and mist
and sunshine and the songs of sorrow
seem fascinating to him. He always holds
whole bunches of brand-new thoughts
inside him like families of flowers
he can easily love.