Friday, October 16, 2015

Holy Discontent




The Rev. Nancy E. Gossling


I thought I was at peace, finally. Content with life and the way things are. Then I sat down for prayer. In a trusted community. In a circle of wisdom. In a place where I felt safe. Eagerly turning to the written materials provided, I started with the familiar ones, before turning to the new day's offerings. I began with John O'Donohue's poem, For Longing.


Tears welled up immediately. What? I was content, happy, at peace, even excited for life's unfolding today. And now this, that old familiar feeling of discontent. At first, I was shocked, even a little angry. Will there ever be any peace? Peace for my heart which is still "haunted by ghost-structures of old damage"? Must I find courage once again so that I don't "settle for something safe"? Will God provide that wisdom today so that I might once again "enter generously into my unease to discover the new direction my longing wants to take"? Is my longing an old and familiar discontent, or is it  "divine urgency"?


And then I remembered the wise words of an old friend, "Nancy, maybe God wants you to have this discontent for a reason. Perhaps your prayer is not for peace, and for the discontent to go away, but rather for you to embrace it, even love it. Call it your ‘holy discontent’." And so, sitting still, I began reading the new offerings for today's contemplation. And there it was: the invitation by Steve Garnaas-Holmes in his poem, A Cup of Tea.  Now with a cup of tea in my hand, in another room, I invited my Beloveds to make eyes at me and at each other. I asked my Beloveds to make peace with my wandering and wondering heart once again. Blessed be the longing that brought me there.

For Longing
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
and quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants to take.
May the forms of your belonging--in love, creativity,
and friendship--
be equal to the call of your soul.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of
old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
~adapted from John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us  

A Cup of Tea
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

The Beloved beside me
and the Beloved within
call out to one another.

Which is the Holy One?
and which is the wanderer?

Ah, I will make them both 
a cup of tea,

and we will sit,
the three of us,
without words

while they
make eyes at each other.