Who could have predicted that flame? On the same day water took the Titanic, who could guess that fire would claim the cathedral of Our Lady?
Or that the mosque on thrice-holy Temple Mount would on the same day see its courtyard catching fire? We want our works to last forever, our ships unsinkable, our mosques and temples and cathedrals proof against the ages, against the ravages of time.
We weep for beauty and reverence lost, tossed by water, by flame, into the void. And we stand, unified in our common horror, to gasp at the falling spire, to sing in the face of that which claims us all in the end.
Do you feel how the world comes alive?
How even underneath its coat of snow,
inside the bright crystals of the ice,
something in the Earth is stirring?
Within your own eyes I see it rising–
in this breath,
and now this one–
the Dreamer is awakening.
The dawn has come,
spreading its golden road before you,
asking, “Will you step upon the pathway?”
As you move out onto the road, Brigid’s sun upon your face will trace your outline full behind you, defining you in the Shadow which will be your soul’s companion into spring.
Brigid’s Day has dawned bright and sparkling. The groundhog and her rodent kin have seen their shadows. The crone can merrily wander through the woods edge and hedgerows to gather firewood for the next six weeks of winter.
And here’s one of the sacred truths of the moment: If I’m willing to look deeply into the reality of my own shadows, if I’m willing to know them, to understand how they reflect me and show my inner realities, then I have nothing to fear from the shadows. I have nothing to fear from the coming weeks of winter.
Yesterday after I got home, I went out to shovel the drive so it would be easier for Jon to get up the slope. My neighbor came out to help me. She loves to shovel snow, she said. She loves winter, especially when it’s cold and snowy. And for those moments with her, shoveling and talking together, I too loved the cold and the snow. For the beauty, for the exercise, but mostly for the neighborliness.
Questions to Contemplate in the Season of Brigid This is the season of sunlight and shadow: What is the shape of my shadow? How does it hamper me? How does it hold me? How does it tell me the shape of my soul?
Brigid is the Smith, she who works the forges: What within me is being tempered this season? What is being shaped and shifted? What sacred patterns are being traced along my edges? What useful tool am I being forged to become?
Brigid is the Healer. The waters of her well bring wholeness. What spaces within me need the touch of her waters? What dis-ease drains my vitality? How can I offer the waters of healing to others?
Brigid is Patroness of Poets. How do words shape my reality, like iron is shaped in the forge? How do my words bring healing, like water from the well? How can I speak poetry into the cold and the shadows of the season which is upon us? Can I offer my daily words with the care and the artfulness of the poet?
Gratitude List: 1. Elderberry wine. It’s a great comfort for a cold. 2. Windows, on many levels 3. Quiet and solitude 4. Color 5. Dreams—The dream as I woke up this morning went like this: Two sisters were holding each other. One says, “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be okay.” The Other says, “I wish I could believe that.” The First says, “It’s okay. I’ll believe it for both of us. You just concentrate on taking one step at a time.” This was after a harrowing dream about trying to get somewhere that I needed to go, and trying to contact Jon to tell him I would be late, and the taxi just wouldn’t come, and my phone was blinking out, and I couldn’t remember whether I had closed the door to keep the cats from getting out.
May we walk in Beauty!
“Quiet the mind enough
so it is the heart
that gives the prayer.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” —Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Creative acts of social justice constitute life’s highest performance art.” —Rebecca Alban Hoffberger
“If you will, you can become all flame.” —Abba Joseph
“Become all shadow.
Become all light.”
“You cannot use someone else’s fire; you can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe you have it.” —Audre Lorde
“The first duty of love is to listen.”
“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith. The opposite of faith is certainty.”
“When you go to your place of prayer, don’t try to think too much or manufacture feelings or sensations. Don’t worry about what words you should say or what posture you should take. It’s not about you or what you do. Simply allow Love to look at you—and trust what God sees! God just keeps looking at you and loving you center to center. ” —Richard Rohr
“All through your life, the most precious experiences seemed to vanish. Transience turns everything to air. You look behind and see no sign even of a yesterday that was so intense. Yet in truth, nothing ever disappears, nothing is lost. Everything that happens to us in the world passes into us. It all becomes part of the inner temple of the soul and it can never be lost. This is the art of the soul: to harvest your deeper life from all the seasons of your experience. This is probably why the soul never surfaces fully. The intimacy and tenderness of its light would blind us. We continue in our days to wander between the shadowing and the brightening, while all the time a more subtle brightness sustains us. If we could but realize the sureness around us, we would be much more courageous in our lives. The frames of anxiety that keep us caged would dissolve. We would live the life we love and in that way, day by day, free our future from the weight of regret.” —John O’Donohue
“People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.” —Charles Fort
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.” —Shakespeare, The Tempest