Friday, December 14, 2012

Touching the Holy

We have only one reality, and that is here and now. What we miss by our evasions will never return, but if we squander ourselves, then too we lose being. Each day is precious: 
a moment can be everything.
Karl Jaspers

A few months ago, I began working with a beautiful Native Gila woman whose six-year-old son was murdered last year. With her permission, I would like to share this spirit stick and sage wrap she made for me and a handmade owl icon, in recognition of our very sacred and painful grief work together.

And this is the spirit stick prayer in honor of her beloved son, J:

The Making

As my hands wrap this leather around the wood 
I remember your hand in mine
Fingers entwining with mine
And do you know, I would jump across to the other side if I could catch you?

These four directions to which I raise my hands
These clouds that I stare at, 
And the wind that brushes across my skin,
It must be you
And do you know, I would jump across to the other side if I could catch you?

I hear your voice in the water that rushes by
I see your reflection in the sun that shines in my eyes
The beauty of it all brings me to my knees
And do you know, I would jump across to the other side if I could catch you?

The moon is shining for you and the stars light up the sky
As I wrap your four directions into my soul
And do you know, I would jump across to the other side if I could catch you?

And this is her email to me:

My father- he taught me to make these...the wood has been buried in the earth by the river area on my Rez...I buried the wood shortly after J is Cottonwood... it's been buried for a year and now I have it with me...I need and want to pass it on -  this is what I need to do...I have an owl feather that I would like to attach to it...owl feathers are rare (the owl was not harmed) but there must be a reason that I have received this feather...we attach the feather of the bird of who will guide my son or who represents his spirit...and I thought of you Dr. C and your connection with the owl... it's the right way I believe for you to have it...maybe my son in my dream with you he telling me I can tell you everything... and it feels good to finally tell someone...thank you from my heart.

Wow.  I wept. For her, for her son, for the pain she feels, and for the connection we share in grief.

The true healing in the "I-Thou" relationship (Buber) cannot be contained in the pages of a book or in a manual or in numbers or digits assigned by outsiders.

"What we miss by our evasions" and when we "squander" with both self and other, "we lose being."

Thank you dear mother of J for inviting me on your journey. It is a journey I wish we never had to take.

Thank you for your willingness to entrust me with him and for your open, albeit shattered, heart.

*Our hearts go out to the families in Connecticut and in China whose beloved young children were murdered today.  The death of a child to homicide is an unspeakable, incomprehensible loss. We share in your sorrow, across the land, beyond the waters, and carried on the winds into eternity.*

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The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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