By day 3 of the cruise, Cindy and I were well acquainted with the evening dinner routine, the others at our table (#408) and our serving team, Nadan, Darko and Josephus. They were impressive. Their dedication to pleasing the customers was superlative. The effort (time+energy+enthusiasm) with which they performed was inspiring. Their smiles were constant and bright. They anticipated every need, often like mind-readers of our next request. And with aplomb they carried the trays laden with 3 tables’ servings: 24 covered dishes–8 stacks of 3 each! Piled high and heavy!
It happened during that third dinner. Everyone at our table had dinner in front of them. Securely. I was already a couple of bites into mine, in fact.
We heard a detonation somewhere close to our table. Not just a rumble, more like a short, powerful avalanche. Others at Table 408 commented: “Oh my!”, “That isn’t good!”, “I hope no one was hurt!” Each of us looked around curious for the cause.
Our servers were standing at the serving table just outside the swinging doors to the kitchen. They stared at the kitchen with familiar alarm. Looked like they could see right through the doors that I could see were closed. Nadan lowered his eyes. Darko shook his head. Josephus turned away.
Then they returned to duty. Bringing drinks. Asking if anything was needed. Refreshing the bread basket. I was hesitant to ask Nadan what had happened. He read my face’s curiosity and simply said, “They were on the wrong side of the door.”
We never saw but each of us surely imagined 24 entrees strewn across the kitchen’s entryway. 24 brown plastic covers scattered like soldiers’ caps after battle. Shards and chips of plates that didn’t survive contact with the floor. All from being on the wrong side of the door.
We never saw who was carrying the full tray to serve three tables. Someone intent on giving their time, energy and enthusiasm. Someone who was going out the wrong side as someone else was coming in the right side, just one beat sooner. The evening went on.
So, it’s a story with no end. Which means it lets us write the ending. From our hearts.
- I see that serving person quickly looking around the mess, sighing with regret (dismay, sadness, upset) and feeling foolish for taking the wrong door, the wrong side. And you see?
- I imagine others in the kitchen quickly coming to voice both sympathy and assurance, to gather broken plates, to sweep up food, to offer any way to help. And you imagine?
- I think of Darko, Josephus and Nadan surrounding their fellow server with friendship and support and encouragement. Perhaps sharing their own “when that happened to me” stories. Surely allowing their colleague the peace from self-forgiveness. And you think?
- I am certain that person guards closely the memory of this event, uses it as continuous reminder to avoid the wrong side of the door. And your certainty?
You present us, gift us, with so much that affirms
we are the wonderful creations you have made.
You grace us with the freedom to be, to do, to have
what we choose.
You free us to create and find and enjoy
what is good, joyful, peace-filled.
You allow us to choose routes with potholes,
beds with splinters, and shirts that scratch.
You love us as we soar and as we stumble.
You bless us when we cry and as we laugh.
You smile on us whether we choose the door
on the right side or the wrong side.
We thank you as we repair what’s broken
and as we enjoy what works.
We thank you, God, that we are always home
And so it is. Amen.
5 December 2016
In: Energy, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Humility, Humor, Joy, Peacefulness, Prayer, Strength, Thanksgiving · Tagged with: Energy, Forgiveness, Joy, meditation, Prayer, spiritual simplicity, Strength, thanksgiving
Haggling is not my thing. That’s probably why I love Hafiz’s poem “Manic Screaming”.
We should make all spiritual talk
God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.
That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling
Your manic screaming over the price!
Rings true to me. The price of letting go of my understanding is sometimes too high a price for my linear, rational mind. The cost of letting go and letting God means sacrificing being in charge. If that’s to be, what did all the school and sports and discipline that were supposed to teach me how to be in control mean?
If you feel God is selling you something, the price may feel too high. Still, somehow I know there is no sense in trying to talk down the price.
Now, too, I know some people cannot take the image of God selling us anything, certainly not awareness, truth, faith. They can only see God giving it away. And at the same time, if they think it’s being offered for free, then they think it’s not worth much. I think of those I know—and in some cases I have been myself—who insist that anything free cannot be any good. Haggling in reverse. If I don’t have to pay a fair price for it, it cannot be worth much. Another form of Hafiz’s manic screaming, yes?
So how about this:
If you see God as selling you something, you can pay full price…in trust.
If you think God is offering it to you for free, you can receive it twice: for you and for God.
Fair Trade Spirit,
The lesson that your love costs nothing
is beautiful to learn.
The truth that you offer completely free
the joy and grace and peace which bless Oneness with you
is fantastic to realize.
And a struggle.
So, thank you for your never-ceasing help
that lets us know that loving you
is worth whatever effort we expend.
As well you let us know
that we create our struggle, we scatter our own rocks
in the path to loving you.
Thank you that we may know the effort is ours alone,
that you attach no price or sacrifice
by which we demonstrate our faith.
And so it is. Amen
29 November 2016
In: Commitment, God, Grounded, Humility, Oneness, Peace, Prayer, Praying · Tagged with: Divine Spirit, Energy, Faith, Oneness, praying, spiritual simplicity, Strength
Not far from home, one of the busier sidewalks is inlaid with the Solar System. It is in perfect proportion. The Sun, a yellow circle outline, fills the sidewalk’s width. How big a Sun would fit the sidewalk determined, then, the size and spacing of nine Mercury-to-Pluto tiles, along the side of the walk.
I walk the Solar System in 68 strides. I run it in 52.
Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I had just run past Pluto. I noticed ahead two women with three dogs. They chatted as two of their dogs waited, likely ready if not eager to get on with their walk. Dog Three was nosing around the sidewalk’s edge. Sniffing Mercury. Wandering farther out to catch a scent of Venus. He obviously made up his mind. He turned, glanced at the lady holding his leash, and walked back to the Sun’s southern rim.
As I was crossing Jupiter, I saw him lift his leg. I slowed to a stop. To the leash-holder I grinned: “Excuse me, ma’am. Your dog just peed on the Sun!!”
She held her breath only long enough to decide I meant no offense. She laughed. Then she laughed some more.
Her smile turned into a gotcha grin as she answered: “Thank God he didn’t put it out!”
For the rest of my run and even beyond, I laughed at her response. I felt thanks that she had laughed at mine. I enjoyed the exchange of two strangers finding humor in both sides of an uneventful event. I appreciated that humor is such a good, good thing.
Living, laughing Spirit,
thank you for the limitless laughter chances we encounter.
Thank you for each time you let us recognize those chances to laugh
and thank you all the more that we are unafraid to grab them.
Thank you we then laugh.
Thank you, GOD, that we can laugh out loud at funny expressions
in trees and clouds and car grills.
Thank you, GOD, we laugh in tune to funny lyrics
and in time to wind chuckling autumn leaves.
Thank you, GOD, we look into ourselves and find what is amusing
meant to be or not
and laugh our gratitude.
Thank you, fun-laughing GOD.
And so we let us laugh. Amen.
27 November 2016