Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wild Geese

Some days, the sun rises, the birds chirp, the flowers bloom. It's spring. Some days, all looks right in the world.

And yet, sometimes, deep inside some of us, the waters lie dormant and the skies are dark. In fact, the pain affects not just some of us. The pain hits all of us, at different times. Depending on the day, we all can look out that window and wonder why the world looks so bright when all feels so gray in our hearts.

I've been trained and been serving as a Lay Counselor at All Saints Pasadena for almost two years now. We meet with those in our church community who need advice, an ear, a friend who isn't already mired in the problems they have. We direct people to professionals when their problems are beyond our abilities.

Most of all we listen. We listen. We listen, we ask, we comment, and we pray.

I empathize with those assigned to me because we all have those bad days, weeks, months.  We all notice that when our feelings seem misplaced, dark silhouettes block out against the bright sky. We feel isolated. We are dimmed by the eclipsing moon, in shadows when we yearn to be in the light. And over there, a few steps away, we sometimes see that others are not in the shadow. We don't know how to get there, at least not on our own.

So we cry out. And we hope someone hears us. If we can communicate and ask for a sound, a turn of the head, a honk, anything that can show that someone hears us, sometimes that's all we need to get us on our way. As a Lay Counselor, I think I'm there to listen and honk for you if you need to hear my voice.

I do it in the spirit of Christ. I do it in a community of people who help other people. And I do it because if we don't, we all might find ourselves adrift in the sky, wondering where we'll land.

And it's something we all should do.

Tuesday night, during our twice a month meeting as a ministry, I read a poem by Mary Oliver.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I imagine the geese, flying to far off lands without a map, with a GPS that's built into their very being. But they can't do it alone. And they don't do it alone. No matter the weather, no matter the world around them, they make sounds and gestures towards each other. They call on each other so that they can stay the course, whatever that course might be.

It's enough to keep them in beautiful formation as they slice through the skies. They may not know their way out of the storm or the desert by themselves, but they say things to each other. They say things, and they listen to each other.

And they soar.

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