August 8, 2010

Boy, it took awhile to come down after my return to Phoenix on Friday morning. The jet lag really hit me Friday night, and it wasn’t until around 4 AM my body finally gave up and I crashed until 3 PM in the afternoon, leaving just enough time for a shower and shave before heading off to Mass.

Mass today had a special meaning to me, and not simply because I had spent the past week reading “The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton” and spending time in such a spiritually rich and rejuvenating environment as Vadodara was for me. Just typing this, it all – the incredible plane flights in business class (I doubt I’ll never experience flying like that ever again – like my Auntie Marge always said about flying first class, “everybody ought to do it at least once in their lives”), the flight out of Mumbai as we curled over a monsoon-gray Arabian Sea, the drives through Vadodara and Pune amidst their vibrant, colorful city life, the people who were so friendly and accommodating, and yes, even the craziness of that last day attempting to leave India – seems like some wild bizarre dream I’ve just awoke from.

I have been blessed in so many ways, and this trip has left me with the gnawing sense that I’ve given so little back to God in return for the life and life experiences He has given me. The key quote for me in the Merton book was from comments he made at a conference on “The Relevance of Religion in the Modern World” in South Calcutta on October 23, 1968, just weeks prior to his death amidst still-controversial circumstances in Bangkok, Thailand in December of 1968:

Merton said that the basic condition in all this was for “each to be faithful to his own search”. He also said that standing aside, being marginal required faith – a faith not in structures, but in one’s own vocation, and “Faith means doubt. Faith is not the suppression of doubt. It is the overcoming of doubt, and you overcome doubt by going through it”.

What this trip, in all of its physical, psychological, and spiritual zigs and zags has done for me is made me realize just how faithless I have been, practically from the very start, to my own search. Feeling all too certain of my own calling from its outset, I have sought out the game and played it both recklessly and poorly, rather than simply being faithful in my search and letting the game come to me only if it were to be God’s will. Nothing else should have ever mattered. As a result, my search became unfocused, fruitless, and frustrating, ultimately to be left abandoned and broken by the side of the road, with little prospect of any good Samaritan coming along to rescue it and see it be nurtured, healed and made whole again.

Until this past week. There’s much to do in this regard, but I give thanks to God not only for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but in helping me see for the first time my own search as it has been and needs to be going forward.

Pool temp: 93 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:40 | Comments (4)
  1. I awoke this morning and, inexplicably, thought about you and wondered how and what you were doing. I remembered your blog post and decided to check in. I wasn’t expecting the reaction I would have! First, what a fabulous trip you must have had! And second, I was surprised that your words seemed to carry a spiritual message for me. I am so reassured by your epiphany and am delighted that your search is moving forward. God bless! Dona

    Comment by Dona Beavers — August 8, 2010 @ 4:53 am

  2. Here is a Lakota prayer I have just come across

    Tunkashiela(grandfather/Creator), I thank you for each day and each lesson it brings
    For the laughter which makes me happy, but more for the hurt which helps me to learn and grow
    For the light in which I see, and for the dark where I see even better
    For my relations on both sides of life who help and guide me
    For the Earth Mother who nourishes us even as we hurt her
    For the life offered and I accepted
    For the chance to help my relations when I am so small and unworthy
    For the love and anger which strengthens me, and for the tears which cleanse me
    For the Sacred Pipe of our people a
    and for our Elders who havekept us alive as a Nation, a people
    For my children who will walk on the Sacred Ground I will lie under
    I thank you for the past, the present and the future
    I ask only that our people shall live.

    I learned that the Lakota have no word for religion or art because they live their beliefs and art.

    “Many go through life looking for their God. They are blind to the sunrise, to the trees flowers and meadows around us. Blind to all the four-legged winged, two legged,sliders and all other beauty and harmony. They fail to see the perfect organism their Spirit dwells within.
    Yet we are a part of the total Spirit, God, as we are an important part of the circle, which is the Spirit”…text from The Great Mystery.

    Also, read amazing reviews on the film Whale Dreamers…sounds like a must see..Julian Lennon made the film. Check out the info online.

    Glad you are home and it sounds as though the trip had many gifts for you.

    Comment by Jana — August 8, 2010 @ 6:04 am

  3. Thanks, Jana – very cool.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — August 8, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  4. Sorry your comment got posted so late, Dona. It is so good to hear from you. With the latest version of WordPress everyone needs to post once and be approved, then you’re all set. It helps keep out the spammers.

    It is good to hear from you. Please call me on my cell one of these days, as I lost your number when I changed phones and my e-mil address has changed as well.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — August 8, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

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