Monday, May 12, 2008

Silence Is The Perfect Note

Yesterday's weather was awful. It was cold and wet and dreary. High winds blew all night on Saturday. I really didn't want to leave the house on Sunday. Much of my long weekend I just stayed home. It's probably a sign of age that I would prefer to be in my home than just about anywhere. I stayed home on Friday and spent much of the day engrossed in a book. The rest of the weekend I finished the book and took one or two world class naps. I had the down time I needed and wanted. I would have extended my book reading, music listening, and nap taking to all of Sunday as well but it was Mother's Day and I also needed to visit my Dad in the nursing home. I drove over there in the rain. I went into the community room but no Dad. I went into his bedroom but no Dad. I finally found him in the dining room. He was sitting at a table with some other residents and my sister from New York. I didn't expect to see her until later in the week. Dad is actually doing pretty well. He was very coherent and talkative. He's actually showing a sense of humor about all his current trials and tribulations. Sitting at his table was an elderly woman who clearly had no idea what year it was or what planet we were on. She was kind of funny and kept talking to me as though she knew me. My Dad looked at me, then looked at her, then looked at me again and said, "See what you have to put up with when you are old"! Dad is showing a level of patience, humor, and acceptance of his life that I never expected. As you might expect there are some indignities and humbling experiences one must endure when others must care for your every need. Dad seems to be dealing with that very well and from what I can observe the staff at the nursing home is excellent. Dad seems to be treated with a great deal of kindness and respect.

Here's some poetry from Hafiz.

I Took It As A Sign Someone sent a band to my house and it started playing at five in the morning.I took this as a sign that God wanted me to sing!The the moon joined in and a few of the tenor voiced stars,and the earth offered its lovely belly as a drum.Before I knew it, I realized all human beings could be happy,if they just had a few music lessons from a sweet old maestro like Hafiz.

I don't think there is much in my life that wasn't made better when music was added to the mix. It could be a great day or a bad day. I can be with friends or sitting alone in my room. Have you ever been driving down the road on a beautiful day with your favorite music playing? It can be such a happy moment that you feel as though your heart might leap out of your chest. Its total joy, pure and simple. Of course, I must also agree with something said by Fr. Matthew at the monastery. Even Beethoven played all day is noise. This statement comes from a man who loves jazz but values silence. Even the contemporary artist Sting has said "Silence is the perfect note". I am a person who is something of a fanatic about music but I, too, value silence. I recommend a nice balance of both.

O God! What in your name do you expect from me? What is it you want? What is it that I should be doing if not what I am doing now? I think about these questions and more as I stumble down the spiritual path of my life. How do we know we are doing the right thing with our lives? How do we know if we are on the right path? Does the very fact that I feel like I am always stumbling down my path mean anything? Am I stumbling because its the wrong path or because it is the right path? Are the people and things that I sometimes consider obstacles in my life on my path through some divine intention? What about all the false starts and new beginnings? Are they indications of a confused or poorly planned journey? Am I a tourist, tour guide or an explorer on the spiritual journey? I do not think I am a tourist. If I am tour guide I should know the path well enough to lead others. If I am an explorer, I should be clearing a path for others to follow. If you are on a serious spiritual journey, I believe doubt is a healthy part of the spiritual journey. If you were certain of everything, you would not need faith. There is no map quest for the spiritual journey. There are no directions that say "Go 2.3 miles down this road and then turn left on another road for 4.7 miles until you see the light". Another thing that makes the spiritual journey challenging is that much of the time you are stumbling down an unknown path in the dark with blindfolds on. The best you can do is feel you way. Sometimes you will bump into things and lose all sense of direction. You can't read a compass in the dark when you are blindfolded. This doesn't sound like much fun, does it? What can you do? You can't stand still or you may always be lost and in the dark. All you can do is slowly move forward, inch by end, until you are out of the woods and in a clearing where you can see the sun and the stars. It is only then that you can know where you are enabling you to see the road that will lead you where you should be. When you arrive you will know what to do.

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