Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Body and Soul

I read your words through tears.  This is something I never hoped for.  I did not understand how full this house could be with friends who love each other and seem to know me.  Thank you all.

Susan, I am very sorry you have lost a friend.  But I am glad you are among so many here.  Thank you Leah for your sweet words and warm welcome.  I too am grateful.

How are you Elizabeth?  Courage is something we can all share with each other, and I think we shall often have need of it.  I am delighted to hear from you again Suzanne.

How do you do, Lady of Healing?  Won't you remind me of your name?  Victoria, I am so glad to meet you, if not there, then here. 

Father Will, you see how many we are and how great is our need of each other.  I feel blessed to have you here as we begin our journey.

I am possessed by every one of your words and questions in turn.  Each is the first thread of a full Conversation.  And each is so purely from the heart of what Innermost House means to me that I would like to address each of you first, which with my organizing skills is likely to cause a problem!

I think I would like to begin where we all begin, with the soul.  Sherry you very kindly said how hard it must have been to leave some part of my soul behind with Innermost House.  Thank you.  It was hard.

Pam and Ember wonder what I mean by leaving my body behind.  I’m sorry that I have so little power of explaining things.  I only say what the whole of my life seems to speak through me in the moment.  But we might talk a little about the body and soul of Innermost House, and about the Conversation.

To me the Conversation is a spirit.  It is what makes a house a living soul.  I know there are all kinds of houses to serve all kinds of purposes.  But the only purpose that has ever mattered to me is to enclose that living spirit.

The Conversation as I know it was born of my earliest married intimacy.  From the first it has required all my care.  I think it is so rare a thing today perhaps because it is so fragile.  It is a native of the dark and inward places.  To leave it unwatched for even an hour in this world is to leave it in peril.

The more my husband and I nurtured that child of our marriage the stronger it grew, and before many years it needed us to move with it, forever seeking out the more and more perfectly suited houses it needed for a home.

From house to house we moved with it, like ministers to a soul migrating from body to body.  It taught us what to seek with its own developing needs.

At the end of it all we came to a place of placelessness.  It seemed that all our nurturing had come to nothing.  There was no place left to go.  That emptiness seemed to last a long time.  The way in was terrible.  But somehow within it there was a still peace.

Out of that peace arose Innermost House. It was not like any of the other houses.  All of them, however extraordinary they were, had been chosen from the world of available houses.  But Innermost House was grown from the wild by the spirit that gave it life. 

I don’t mean to speak in mysteries.  Neither my husband nor I feel we created it.  It was as if the Conversation that had blown into and out of thirty houses in turn had, this one last time, drawn a body around itself from the surrounding earth and sky. 

I thought it would last forever.  There was no time in the house, only the forever returning day and night.  I never thought I would go.

But I have never been able to see an hour before me, no more than I can remember an hour past.  It took me completely by surprise when the house was first taken from us, and then again when we gained it back.  It changed things.  

Even I realized that I might have to choose someday between this body that I loved and the soul it enclosed.  With my husband's help I made preparations.  Nearly three more years would pass, but when the crisis came I was ready.  I lingered until midnight, then I left with the soul.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beautiful To Me

Thank you all from my heart.  It is beautiful to me to say your names and slowly read your words aloud.  We have been wanderers apart these long months, I on my path, you on yours.  From this day I look forward to traveling together.

Sherry, I am so very happy to meet you.  I have always found my greatest challenges to be my greatest gifts, if not at first, then at last.  Pam, how are you?  I see that we shall have much to talk about! 

Julie, may I join with Pam in wishing you a very happy birthday to come?  I have been far away, but am very grateful to be here now.

Ember, how do you do?  I have heard so much about you from my husband, and I hope to hear much more.  Happy birthday to you Suzanne!  I think you wrote to me once?  It is a pleasure to meet you.  Hello Jacqueline, then we both are among the home-leavers.

Alice, thank you for your very kind words. I so look forward to knowing you.  Here's to our future together!  I am delighted to meet you David.  You are most perceptive.  Let's talk about the emptiness together.  That is such a lovely name Asta.  It makes me think of the starry heavens.  The honor is truly mine.

How generous you are dear Ruth.  Here we are again together, friends through it all.  How do you do Al?  As one simple person to another, I am not so very sure I can explain the Conversation myself!  But can we either one truly live without it?  Katrina, no one is more surprised than I!  And may God bless you.

As you say Julie, it is the spirit that makes a home.  Thank you for coming back.  If I have left my body behind, that is how we are all here together now to share in the spirit of the Conversation.  It was the only way.  

I want to visit with every one of you in turn, one day after another, and explore our questions together.  Would that be alright?  I'm afraid I'm not very good at machines, and I am completely dependent on the help of friends.  But with your help and patience, I look forward to joining in your conversation as we make our journey home.

Remembering Innermost House

Sometimes I wake in the night, remembering.  I remember the smell of the place, the chill air and woodsmoke and wild sage.  I remember the moon in the trees casting its tangled light over our bed.  I remember. 

I wonder if you have ever had friends who kept the fire burning for you all day and night for months, waiting and watching for your approach, hoping and praying?  I have had such friends.  For six months I have been a wanderer while faithful friends kept watch over my fire in turns, waiting.

Years ago my husband built a house for me in the woods.  I called it Innermost House.  There at last, after many moves and incarnations, the Conversation that is the fire at the heart of my life took a body for its soul.  There we lived for seven years, just we three alone, my husband, that fire, and I.

But the Conversation is a sojourner.  It is a searcher, a fire forever seeking out the inmost places.  It has moved us many times with its needs.  The Conversation has its own moving destiny.

When I open my eyes to find so many new friends gathered around me, I know all shall be well.  I would take you each by the hand.  I would greet you each by name.  I would look into your eyes and know that you share my love of the Innermost Life.  I am so grateful you are here.

How can I ever thank the dear friends who kept the Conversation alive while I dreamed a dream of remembering?  I wake to a vision, still distant in prospect, of a new life in a new house where I may receive all my friends one by one in Conversation.

Thank you all for giving me this shelter by the wayside.  We shall make this journey home together, sojourners all!