Wisdom Companion #4 from Sr. Rita. Season of Surrender
Another entry from my aman-cara, Sister Rita on the wisdom brought to her as she walks this path with cancer…
Welcome back and thank you for taking the time to read this. Yesterday I met with the oncologist, got my double shot of Fulvestrant and an additional shot of XGEVA – a supplement to strengthen my bones even as the other drugs treat the disease there. Today I finished my second course of Ibrance. There is a predictable but not alarming drop in my blood count, which we monitor every two weeks. I am so aware of the power of prayer. It feels like a double booster to my immune system — your good energy strengthens me.
As we prayed last night, anticipating the Autumnal Equinox, I experienced a flood of tenderness, a sense of being sympatico to the rhythm of the universe as we move from light to dark, from lush trees to barren ones. This is the season of surrender, of the stark essence of things, and the beauty of the unadorned. I will see more clearly the perched hawk, the ambling fox, and the frisky deer. I find myself one with the dark roots and unseen sap trusting their innate wisdom, resting, waiting, a hidden work. There is a sweetness, a comfort, a reassurance to live these coming days attuned to the sacred lands of the Lenape where I live.
In the Celtic Christian tradition, so wonderfully and wisely informed by their ancient Druid wellsprings, the believer is advised to read 3 books every day: The Big Book, the Little Book, and the Book of Days. The Big Book is Nature; the Little Book is Sacred Scripture; and the Book of Days, is best described as tracing the Sacred Presence of Grace in the ordinary. The Celtic Christians never forgot that the first word of God made flesh was creation. I try to read these ‘books’ each day, allowing any or all to speak to my heart.
It will take until December to get a picture of what will have happened in the interactions between the medicine and me. So I hope to live these harvest days and first frosts welcoming Advent/ Solstice with its deeper darkness. As I ponder the James Webb Space Telescope pictures, with the vast dark spaces and stunning configurations of light and matter, I remember what I heard about places in space, where something appears out of the seeming nothingness. Scientist Brian Swimme offers this name: “All-Nourishing Abyss” which sounds like the Divine Presence I know.
How can I not say with Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”
And here, From T.S. Eliot in the last stanzas of “Little Gidding”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Lauren here, just to say, a blessed Mabon/Autumn Equinox to all. May we all learn how to live in the Grace of surrender.
so happy you added Eliot!
I’m glad. I thought some people might not be familiar with this wonderful poem.
Thanks for the nourishing post on this rainy fall day.
I’m so glad you found it nourishing, Kelly. I find pretty much everything Sr. Rita says nourishing!
What a beautiful post! Love the three ‘books’ and their reflections of divine presence and the sacredness of ordinary things. Prayers for Sister’s return to full physical health.
Thanks so much, Carol. I know Sr. Rita will be grateful of your prayers.
And I, too, love the three ‘books’. What a wonderful way of looking at the world.