Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself in conversations with all sorts of dear friends experiencing trauma and personal pain beyond belief. Last Sunday I was chatting to my closest childhood friend who knows me better than anyone. She was telling me of a terrible thing that had happened to one of the children in her after school program. An unthinkable accident that took place during a loving family event. We were talking about the hows and whys. Can we ever really comprehend? Then we got onto the topic of my father’s death just a year ago this week. We talked about what a beautiful transition it was. The impact of the loss, and the sadness that still sits just at the surface somehow stronger now with a sense of reality that comes with the passage of time. A few hours later I received an email from her that was like a touch of velvet from the Gods. I cannot explain it. I can only share it because the message is too important to keep all to myself. Here is what she wrote with a little help from Rumi:
“Pal o mine,Thinking of the week ahead and the milestone that will be marked…one year since your father began his new adventure…by now he has settled in to whatever comes next and is able to be closer to you than ever…hummingbird, butterfly, sudden scent and his voice reminding you of what is true…of what you already know…to balance the other voice that comes with fear and fatigue. I know you miss his physical presence, his grace and courage and kindness, his wit and the way he saw you…how you could see that in his face.
At the UU church this morning I picked up a copy of an old sermon on Rumi. One of the poems sounded so much like you…the way you approach the good, bad, ugly, scary that is the human experience:
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
I love you, Mary.