Tag Archives: blessings

Remembering Who We Are

Leaving the house in search of some downtime, I take a chance on spending part of the late afternoon at a charitable thrift store.

Pulling into the parking lot of one of this area’s largest stores, I find only two spaces remaining. Balloons and special signs tell me today is a serious sale day. People are everywhere, arriving, leaving and milling about.

Over the years I have lived here, I have come to recognize a few of this community’s most serious secondhand shoppers-not by name but by appearance. And, when I begin to bump into any one of them frequently, it is a signal that I need a few months off from my own charitable-thrift-store “ministry.”

Spirituality
Spirituality

This afternoon’s trip is about getting out of the house to regroup, ground and center, rather than being about hunting for something in particular. Walking into the warehouse-sized store, oldies blare through the PA. My mood, which is upbeat, elevates even more. And, though the store is very busy, the racks are full enough for the methodical shifting of garments in front of my chasséing body. I will be able to regain center amid the chaos of people.

Moving through one section of the store, I notice a mother-daughter pair, whom I have not seen in a long while. The daughter is a mature woman, and her mother looks more frail than she did the last time I saw them bargain hunting. More frail or not, the mother maintains her general sparkle—a sparkliness of countenance which I love seeing.

Two sections later and with a one-half-hour between us, all three of us end up in the same area. To bypass the lines at the dressing rooms, I use a full-length mirror to try a dress on over my clothing.

Setting her frail body down on a steam trunk which is for sale, the mother glances my way. “It looks like a fit!” she announces. (Supportive, team shopping is not uncommon in this area.)

Struggling to release the hem of the garment from the grip of my blue jeans, I answer, “Well, almost. I need to drop the hem to make sure.”

We talk a little more—idle chit chat of the girl variety. I am reminded that this type of banter is a luxury, a gift representing a certain amount of leisure time. We are fortunate. Having finally dropped the hem, I zip the dress up. It fits in a lumpy manner over my clothing, but it is good enough to take home and retry. Unzipping the garment, I slip it over my head and fold it, placing it on the small stack of items I have.

Readying myself to leave, I stop briefly in front of the elderly mother, with whom I have been conversing.

“Where have you been?” I ask frankly. “I have not seen you or your daughter out for a long while.”

“Oh, I have had such adventures this year,” she replies. “First I had a mild heart attack, then, a mild stroke. After that, I was mending.”

Worn into her daughter’s face are the lines of an exceptional care-giver. Every new line has been translated.

“Oh, my. You have had quite a year,” I respond simply.

Then, reaching for my hand, she takes it into the smooth cradle of both of her soft-skinned arthritic hands, saying, “You look like a praying woman. Please pray for me. Pray for my health.”

She has granted me a blessing. The blessing of being seen.

As she releases my hand, I assure her that I will add her to my prayers.

Spiritual Silence

Outside of a large, indoor flea market, near the metal railings around the expansive entryway, I stop unlocking my bicycle to look up. A middle-aged man is approaching, climbing a steep grade up from the lower-level parking lot. He is accompanied by three, young adult children. Everyone is fresh from church and dressed to the nines.

It is Sunday afternoon. My bicycle trip is a spontaneous break from the intensive gardening I was about all morning, designed to help me get the kinks out of my overworked arms, legs and spine.

Spirituality

Walking about four to five feet apart from one another, the family that is approaching me is so replete with the Light of God’s Grace that the space about them is suffused with a brightness akin to the light of the sun. My mouth opens involuntarily as I observe the spectacle of so much Light gathered about this one family.

Then, I watch as the protector of this group of amazing souls stiffens at the intensity of my gaping gaze, sure that my unkempt gardening clothes, mode of transportation and the dissimilarity of our backgrounds, our ethnicities, may also be putting him on edge.

I want to tell him about what I am seeing, so much Light; the love that each child holds; the radiant Grace present in their family; and, most especially, that his children are blessed and will be further blessed.

But, I say nothing.

Our physicality gets in the way. The physicality of our apparent dissimilarities shuts my mouth. The hurdle of inequitable social treatment silences my voice. Instead of inviting direct contact, I say a prayer of protection for this man and his children, asking God to keep these individuals out of harms way and to help them fulfill their holy blueprint.

Spiritual Blessings I

It is a warm, late afternoon on a Friday.  Outside of an acupuncturist’s office, I happen upon one of my favorite, former yoga students as I approach the building.  She is a woman whom I respect and admire because of the intense commitment she brought each and everytime to her yoga practice.

Initially, when we first see each other across the parking lot, we both light up with recognition; and, then, I watch as her face transforms itself before me into a site of pinched grief and worry.

When I am within range of her hearing, I ask her, “How are you doing?  Are you unwell?”

Spirituality

“It is not me,” she answers.  “I gave my husband, Paul, a ride into see the acupuncturist.  He has been battling cancer for eight months now.  He is down to one-hundred-thirty pounds,” she speaks quickly and with profound concern.

“Oh, my,” I answer with nothing better to say.  “May I ask what kind?”

There is a slight pause.  “Yes.  They think it started in his kidneys.  He thinks he can beat it, but they keep giving him too much radiation.  He does not have enough time to recover between treatments.  At least that is what he feels is happening.  But, the doctors won’t listen.”

“I see.  Hence, you’re seeing an acupuncturist?” I ask.

At this point, Paul emerges from the acupuncturist’s building, beginning his slow approach toward us.  Typically a full-bodied man, he seems a ghost of his former self.  He has also studied yoga with me.

With Paul’s arrival, a few more sentences pass between us about some of the health places I have visited.  At a break in the conversation, Paul reiterates his concerns about his health in a matter-of-fact and downcast way.

Then, out of my mouth and with a socially uncomfortable degree of loudness and formal conviction, I hear myself say, “You will not die.  No matter what they tell you, you will not die.”

At this point, my second-sight kicks in, and I observe Paul as he shifts energetic gears, straightens his lean frame and organizes his Light around his physical body.  He is glowing brightly now.

“That’s what I keep trying to tell them,” he says with renewed hope and vocal resolve.

After handing off some additional information, we part company. Darshan, a blessing of life, has been granted.