ROMANCE OF SUN AND MOON

The moon was alone one evening, shining in the midnight sky. Although she was surrounded by myriads of tiny, sparkly stars, she felt as if there was no one to understand her. She eagerly searched the skies for a friend, perhaps a meteor, with whom to discuss the joys and sorrows of her life. But there was nobody.

On the other side of the world, the sun yawned and awoke to shine his light upon the blue-green temples of God. He heard the call to worship, and saw the waves of people bowing and praying. He felt full of good will and charity towards the masses of God’s servitors. Perhaps they were not holy, but at least they were faithful.

The moon stayed alone, suspended in the sky with none to touch her. A tiny star whispered to her of a great being, the sun, who brought joy and light to the world. She listened with interest, for it seemed that once, a long time ago, she had seen a being such as this. Beautiful as he was, the sun seemed always just beyond her reach. She would visit the places where he had been, and would always find that he had just left. Those who knew him spoke of his wonder and his glory, and she felt unworthy to be in his presence.

Now the sun was unaware of her yearning, for he was too busy making the crops grow and warming the world. Those who wished his light had only to look upward to heaven and he was there, beaming down upon them.

The moon continued to follow the sun, always coming nearer to him, always hearing that he had just left that portion of the sky, or was just over the next mountain range. Where before there was despair, now she was ever more hopeful, for she knew that she was approaching his presence.

She came closer and closer, until one glorious day came when she stood before him, naked and unafraid. The world looked up and saw only blackness – in the middle of the day. But the moon stood mid-way between the sun and the earth, and all of his glory was for her.

His light blotted out all of her loneliness, all of her pain, all of her past. She stood bathed in wonder before him, and his light filled her soul.

She passed away from him full of light and joy, and though his light was too bright to remember, it was also too powerful to forget. She was dizzy with wonder. As time passed, it seemed that she once had been a being full of light, yet it was so long ago!

Source: crystalrivers.com

CONSIDER THIS

Sometimes, I think of the sun and moon as lovers who rarely meet, always chase, and almost always miss one another. But once in a while, they do catch up, and they kiss, and the world stares in awe of their eclipse.

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EVEN TEACUPS TALK

A grandfather and a grandmother are in a gift shop looking for something to give their granddaughter for her birthday. Suddenly the grandmother spots a beautiful teacup.

“Look at this lovely cup!” she says to the grandfather. He picks it up and exclaims, “You’re right! This is one of the loveliest teacups I’ve ever seen.”

At that point something remarkable happens – something that could happen only in a children’s book. The teacup says to the grandparents, “Thank you for the compliment, but I wasn’t always beautiful.”

Instead of being surprised that the teacup can talk, the grandparents simply ask,  “What do you mean when you say you weren’t always beautiful?”

“Well”, says the teacup, “once I was just an ugly, soggy lump of clay. Until one day someone with dirty wet hands scooped me up and threw me on a potter’s wheel. Then she started turning the wheel faster and faster until I got so dizzy I couldn’t see straight. ‘Stop! Stop!’, I cried.”

But she repeated, ‘Not Yet!’

“Finally she did stop. But then she did something even worse. She put me into a furnace. It got hotter and hotter until I couldn’t stand it.  Again I cried out, ‘Stop! Stop!’

“Still she said, ‘Not yet!’

“Finally, when I thought I was going to burn up, she took me out of the furnace. Then some short lady began to paint me. The fumes from the paint got so bad that I felt sick. ‘Stop, stop!’ I pleaded.

“The short lady too said, ‘Not yet!’

“At last she stopped. But then she gave me back and that other woman put me back into that awful furnace. This time it was hotter than before. And I shouted, ‘Stop! Stop!’

“The woman peered in and said, ‘Not yet!’

“Now, at long last, she took me out of the furnace and let me aside to  cool – ‘Phew.’ When I was completely cooled, a young boy put me in a box with straw all over me and other teacups too. Then a pretty lady put me on this shelf, next to this mirror.

“When I looked in the mirror, I was amazed at myself. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I was no longer ugly, soggy, and dirty. Now I glistened. I was beautiful, firm, and clean. Oh, how I cried for joy.

“It was then that I realized that all that suffering was worthwhile. Without it I would still be ugly, soggy and dirty. And it was then that all that pain took on meaning and made some sense to me. It passed, but the beauty it brought remained.”

Source |  Brian Cavabaugh, Sower’s Seeds of Encouragement: Fifth Planting
(Paulist Press; 5th edition, 1998) pages 21-22

CONSIDER THIS

Like clay in the hands of a master potter, so are we in the hands of Life.

 

 

BECOME A LAKE

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter” spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Source | A Hindu parable as told by
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening
(Conari Press, 2011) pages 17-18

CONSIDER THIS

“The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.” | Wayne Muller

 

GET OFF THE NAIL

There was a young man walking down the street and happened to see a old man sitting on his porch. Next to the old man was his dog, who was whining and whimpering. The young man asked the old man “What’s wrong with your dog” The old man said “He’s laying on a nail”. The young man asked “Laying on a nail?, Well why doesn’t he get up?” The old man then replied “It’s not hurting bad enough.”

Source | Les Brown, Live Your Dreams
(William Morrow Paperbacks, July 1994) page 194

PONDER AND CONSIDER

There are two reasons people make changes in their lives: inspiration or desperation. In the final analysis what really matters is not what happened to you but what you are prepared to do about it. Are you going to  moan, groan, and complain, shrinking into fear or are you going to wake up, get up, and tap into the seeds of greatness and possibility within you?

  • “To have something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done.” | anon
  • “If you don’t make things happen then things will happen to you.” | Robert Collier
  • “Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.” | Henry Ford
  • “If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” | Anthony J. D’Angelo

 

THE GIFT OF AUTOPSY

There was a man who was feeling very poorly, so he went to the clinic for a complete checkup.  When it was all over, his wife asked what the doctors had decided was the problem.  “I really don’t know,” replied the man.  “They wouldn’t tell me a thing.  But I  did eavesdrop a little, and I heard one of them say something I can’t quote figure out.  He said they’d find out for sure at the autopsy!”

Source Dennis R. Clark, Sunday Morning, Reflections on the Word

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • “I do not believe that sheer suf­fering teaches. If suffering alone taught, then all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. All these and other factors combined, if the circumstances are right can teach and can lead to rebirth” | Anne Morrow LindberghHour of Gold, Hour of Lead
  • Not all news is good news. Bad things do happen to good people. Sooner or later every heart gets broken. And even the youngest and tiniest among us know what big hurts feel like.
  • How do we respond to the hurts and losses that stab out hearts?  One creative way is to receive them without fear, naming them with eyes wide open, taking them in, not running away, but walking through them. As we do that, we find that tucked in right next to the hurts is a source of  life, a seed of fresh possibility.

THE STORY OF BAMBOO

Once upon a time in the heart of the Western Kingdom lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day the Master of the garden liked to walk. Of all the creatures of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was a gracious and noble bamboo tree. Year after year Bamboo grew yet more noble and beautiful, conscious of her Master’s love and watchful delight, but always modest and gentle.

And often, when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside her grave stateliness to dance and play merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance  of the Garden,  which delighted the Master’s heart.

Now one day the Master sat down to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy, Bamboo, in a passion of adoration,  bowed her great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke: “Bamboo,  I would use you.”

Bamboo flung her head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which she had been made, the day to which she had been growing, hour by hour, the day in which she would find her completion and her destiny. Her voice came softly:  “Master, I am ready. Use me as you will!”

“Bamboo,”  – the Master’s voice was grave, “I would like take you and cut you down.”

“Cut … me … down! Me, whom you, Master, have made the most beautiful in all your garden … cut me down! Not that, not that. Use me for your joy, O Master, but cut me not down!”

“Beloved Bamboo,” – the Master’s voice grew graver still –  “if I do not cut you down, I cannot use you. 

The garden grew still … Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent her proud and glorious head. There came a whisper: “Master, if you cannot use me unless you cut me down … then … do your will and cut!”

“Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I need to cut your leaves and your branches from you also.”

“Master, Master, please spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust, but would you  also take from me my leaves and branches?”

“Bamboo, if I do not cut them away, I cannot use you.”

The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low, “Master, cut away.”

“Bamboo, Bamboo, I would also split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I don’t  I cannot use you.”

Then was Bamboo bowed to the ground: “Master, Master … then cut me and split me.”

So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo and cut her down and hacked off her branches and stripped off her leaves and cleaved her in two and cut out her heart. And lifting her gently, he carried her to where there was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of broken Bamboo into the spring and the other end into the water channel in his field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo. The clear sparkling water raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted and the days went by, and the shoots grew, and the harvest came.

In that day was Bamboo, once so glorious in her stately beauty, yet more glorious in her brokenness and humility. For in her beauty she was life abundant, but in her brokenness she became a channel of abundant life to her Master’s world!

Source | Daniel O’Leary, Year of the Heart: A Spirituality for Lovers, (Paulist Press 1989), pages 85-87

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Amidst brokenness, how do we become channels of abundant life?
  • Contemplate the story through two different frames: First, be the bamboo. In a second reading, imagine yourself the master. How do you respond to the two readings? 
  • “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. | Mark 8:34,35
  • “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24