Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Musings

This morning I had the unexpected pleasure of hearing a hospital chaplain friend of mine give a sermon at his church. He shared with us his personal story of loss and darkness woven masterfully with the readings of the day from Exodus 33:17 (where God says to Moses “…I know thee by name”) and from Revelations 2:17 (where the those who “overcome”—did my friend know that the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial was dedicated today?—will be given “a white stone, and in the stone a new name written”) and with the birth and naming of his first son. He thought perhaps the name at time’s end written for him in the white stone might be ‘the carrier of sorrows’ but should one turn over the stone, one might find also the name of joyousness.

After service, my friend reminded me of the psychiatrist (Peter Wilkins, see blog post of 9-9-11) who was asked how he could bear listening all day to the sorrows of others. Then I thought of my answer to the many times I have been asked such a question: I do not bear others’ sorrows as some burden, but rather I embrace them, with joy of communion, and with the recognition of the privilege that is bestowed when others share them with me. Then I thought of a person I see, a Buddhist who lessened her burden, not by bearing her sadness, but by giving it a name, by making it a companion always beside her, recognized and acknowledged, both sides of a coin, or of a stone.

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