I’m not Catholic, but I pray the rosary. I had been intending to learn the prayers and explore the process (very intellectualized, I know), and then my father got very sick. On the weekend that he was receiving a risky treatment simply to try to save his life, I picked up the rosary and my little booklet into which I had scribbled my versions of the rosary prayers, and I learned. In desperation and need of grounding and comfort, I began to say the Aves and the Love Prayer (the Our Father), holding desperately to the beads. When I had no words for the mix of terrible anxiety and holy presence I was feeling, I walked the path of the beads.
Perdita Finn and Clark Strand, in their book The Way of the Rose, speak about holding the beads as holding the hand of The Mother. Comfort and peace and tenderness upwelling in the midst of whatever life is bringing: crisis or joy, or the quotidian rhythms of the day.
Here is my version of the Our Father. It changes every once in a while, as praying it brings me new insights into what I mean when I say the words. I’ve gotten a little wordy on the sign-off, but that’s my own flourish. It feels right to me:
Lately, when I say the line, “Draw us ever closer into right relationship,” I see in my mind’s eye several of the people who have hurt me. Of course, I mean them when I pray that line–still, they intrude upon my peaceful prayers. Today, when it began to happen, I invited them in. I had also been thinking about how this is the day of the Archangels, the Feast of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. And so, instead of simply holding the idea of being drawn into right relationship with them, I asked the archangels to invite their angels to witness my prayers.
It feels really weird to write that, but it felt so right in the moment, and continues to feel right. My rosary prayers also became more lively, more awake, more focused. I felt safe (who doesn’t feel safe when surrounded by angels and Mother Mary?). It feels like the line in the Psalm: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” I’ll admit, when I got to “Keep us from walking the paths of destruction,” I found myself talking very directly to their angels, and “Deliver us from evil” has a new sort of ring when you say it in presence of the angels of people who have harmed you.
I don’t know whether there will ever be reconciliations and restorations on this plane. I’ve walked away from that door. I won’t wait around for that to happen, and making it happen will take a great deal of work on someone else’s part at this point. But I might continue to invite their angels to the table of my prayers.
3. The rosary
4. Always something new to learn, some new way to deepen
5. Celebrating thirty-two years with my soul-mate. Such a good, good man.
May we be draw ever into right relationships.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” —Maya Angelou
“Sometimes it seems as though the Wildest One (you might call her God, or the Universe, or Love) is actively meddling in the affairs of mortals, like I am given a thing to learn, and then immediately after am handed the situations necessary for practice and integration.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider
“You don’t need to attend every argument you are invited to.” —anonymous (possibly Zig Ziglar
“It’s hard to be mad at someone who misses you while you’re asleep.” —Calvin, of Hobbes (Bill Watterson)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings;and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any– lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
―e. e. cummings, read by Anne Marie at our wedding on this day in 1990
“To live a creative life,
we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
―Joseph Chilton Pearce
“If music be the food of love, play on.” ―William Shakespeare
“At the still point, there the dance is.” ―T.S. Eliot
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” ―Leonard Bernstein
“To speak about that location from which work emerges, I choose familiar politicized language, old codes, words like ‘struggle, marginality, resistance.’ I choose these words knowing that they are no longer popular or ‘cool’ – hold onto them and the political legacies they evoke and affirm, even as I work to change what they say, to give them renewed and different meaning.
I am located in the margin. I make a definite distinction between that marginality which is imposed by oppressive structures and that marginality one chooses as site of resistance – as location of radical openness and possibility. This site of resistance is continually formed in that segregated culture of opposition that is our critical response to domination. We come to this space through suffering and pain, through struggle. We know struggle to be that which pleasures, delights, and fulfills desire. We are transformed, individually, collectively, as we make radical creative space which affirms and sustains our subjectivity, which gives us a new location from which to articulate our sense of the world.”
From the essay: ‘Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness;’ From the Book: “Yearnings: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics” (1989 ) by bell hooks