Filled

There are times in our lives when we feel filled...

I thought of that this morning when I visited the river for some "Loving-Kindness" practice after my morning prayers and meditation. The river had swollen over its banks and almost up the entire boat ramp area due to the gentle falling rains of the last few days. The rain has been mostly steady, but a couple of days ago when I visited, the river was still pretty calm. But not so today...

I could see a lot of debris floating downstream with incredible urgency, as if all the pieces of tree trunks and limbs were late for a date or something. Still, what captivated my thoughts was this image of fullness - of being filled to the brim, like this river that was bursting at the seams and over its banks.

Yes, there are times in our lives when we are filled...

We may be filled with many things. We may be filled with love, or happiness, or a sense of goodness or well-being - which are not all that different from one another. We might even be filled with compassion, or with faith...

I've been reflecting on what faith is - and what it really means to me. It has never meant an assent to a particular set of dogma or beliefs, or even a religious tradition. It always meant something more. And so, I was very much captivated by this simple definition I read in a book I just finished:

"... Ultimately faith is a love story..."

I stopped dead in my tracks when I read this sentence. I needed to savor all the words - roll them over on my tongue like a fine wine, noticing what delectable flavors I could sense and extract from them.

Yes, faith is a love story. And like any good love story - we fall in and out of sync with our faith over the course of a lifetime, if we are truly honest with ourselves...

I just finished reading the book Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church, by Kaya Oakes, and it was one of those reads that left me breathless. As a "former theologian," it was profoundly satisfying. It is irreverent, informative, passionate, funny, and profoundly moving - all at once! I related to it on so many levels. I thought to myself, here is a woman I'd love to meet and have a drink with! But, I digress...

Yes, sometimes we are filled - and maybe a few of those times we are filled with faith and we experience it as a love story.

My very first experiences of faith were precisely that - experiences of being loved profoundly and loving in return - even if my developing brain could not totally make sense of it. Many of these experiences were mystical and hard to put into words. But those experiences were there and very real to me nonetheless. 

Oakes also speaks of being drawn to saints and mystics who embodied "radical reinvention," calling others to a conversion of life and spirit in every way. The Church, being a human institution, has always been flawed and its members have challenged it to grow and evolve slowly over the course of time...

When I studied theology in the 70's, I thought big changes were right around the corner. And why not? I was a child of Vatican II. But, decades dissolved into more decades, and my enthusiasm soured. I needed to stop teaching theology, and I substituted it with teaching yoga classes and yoga philosophy workshops for more than a decade.

Now, I find myself called back to share whatever gifts may remain within me - in whatever ways may be necessary - very much aware that there is much work to be done and that nothing radically changed in my years of "non-involvement." Still, while I recognize things may not be the way I would like to see them, I can accept them as they are, grounded in a vision of all that could be...


"Some men see things as they are and say 'why.'
I dream of things that never were, and say, 'why not?'"
~ George Bernard Shaw

So today, on this gorgeous spring day after many days of rain, I AM filled! Yes, filled to the brim with love, with blessings, with gratitude, and with faith - and with my own personal love story with the Divine!

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