Oh my


Musing today on the Principle of INTERDEPENDENCE (Hexagram 30) ... and my first surprising thought is:

OK. I'll cling to God ... whatever God may be.

I like that ... whatever God may be.

Maybe there's a God; maybe there's not. I've given up trying to find out. I know in my bones that there's a Something rather than a Nothing ... a Primary Principle that creates, sustains, and changes everything that is.

I say to my nattering intellect, Enough now.

The rest of me remembers ...

... skinny dipping in a Muskoka lake for the first time when I was six ...

... briefly having the Caribbean sea as my backyard when I was three or so ... and chipmunks!!

... I remember a counselor at the camp my parents sent me off to for a  month the summer I was six. It was my first time and I felt lost. I fell in love with the chipmunks who skittered everywhere, with the lake, and with a girl named Heather who was my cabin counselor. Heather was about eighteen and had long, cocoa hair. My five cabin-mates were totally crushed on her too. Why?

She was kind.

One night we had a huge thunderstorm and anyone who knows Ontario's cottage country can attest to these holy, harrowing rollers. They tower up over the lake and then they arrive. KABOOM!

That night, after bedtime, the sky detonated over our heads. We screamed and squealed and bunted up to Heather on one cot, knocking her over and grabbing whatever part of her we could. She eventually -- somehow gently -- declawed herself of six panicked kids, sat us all around her in a squishy warm clump, and said, Listen. Shh.

She told us about storms. And she told us that thunder was the angels bowling in heaven ... and ... STRIKE! Terror turned to cheers and giggles.

One night when I was a naughty thing and wouldn't stop giggling with my best friend Dorothy, she brought me, my sleeping bag, and pillow out to the porch, tucked me in, and sat with me. I don't remember what she said, but it had to do with being quiet ... For all I knew, she used the word hush and stayed right there 'til I fell asleep, my head in her lap.

What I do remember is waking to Heather and another counselor ascending the cabin steps to the tune of a wavering flashlight. I had a vivid, alert sense of proximity, like a forest creature ... a chipmunk, or a fawn. My eyes were open a slit. Heather whispered -- I swear -- "Behold ... she's asleep."

To my six-year-old self, Heather was an angel. She was kind; she was gentle; she was fun. That night, as I pretended to sleep, she lifted me up and carried me back to bed. She laid me down on my creaky little cot, and padded away with her friend.

... Remember what the Dalai Lama said? ... "My religion is kindness."

***************

... Somehow I think that the 30th Principle of the I Ching speaks to our inevitable interdependence ... our recognition of it, and our actions within it ... This Principle is also known as Synergy, Bright Presence, The Clinging, and Shared Radiance. 

We cling; we bond; we have to. We depend. Chipmunks depend on acorns, and acorns on soil, rain and sun; campers depend on counselors, and counselors on their mentors, and all of us on one another and on the workings of Life's sustaining elements ... and most of all, we depend on that Something that is beyond all names ... that we raise our faces to and receive as rain, sunlight, stars ... and kindness.

Kindness is so simple ... so quiet ... so radiant.

... So is God, in so many ways ... n'est-ce pas?

Comments

Jan said…
I liked your stories about camp and about Heather. Was that the last you ever knew of her? Wonder where she is now and what she's like.

Your thoughts about kindness remind me of a card I bought about 15 years ago and framed--"The highest form of wisdom is kindess." (The Talmud) I believe that.
Buddha said…
Hi there!
I was browsing the blogosphere looking for people with similar interests that want to be friends - in a blogging kind of way, so I stopped to say hi!
Wishing you happy bloging and the best in your life.
BoH
Jan said…
Since I am learning so much from this blog, I mentioned it on my post about Blogroll Amnesty Day.
ROBERTA said…
fabulous story - it made me sit her and recall those strong memories of childhood when someone reached out in kindness - w/o wanting something in return - and those are the memories that truly stay with us and form our views of the world!
beth said…
Yes - How can a child understand God but by watching how adults treat one another, how they treat the child, the cat like awareness of these interactions and what they mean. I remember being "formed" more by how my teachers/mentors/counselors were BEING rather than what was said, etc. The attitude of concern, kindness, gentleness, respect etc.
Alexa said…
Yes, Beth! The being-with. I once had a teacher -- he supervised a pastoral care training I was in -- who kept telling us neophyte chaplains when we were new to the work and freaking out: "Be with them. Just be with them." Took me years, and much experience, to clue in to what he meant!

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