Summer thoughts

Today started out rainy and I even made it all the way up to Mt. Irenaeus only to turn around and drive back down the hill.  I wasn’t ready for everyone. I have days like that. Instead I opted for a nap in Cuba, New York and then a drive to St. Bonaventure University where I eventually wound up sitting in the University Chapel enjoying a quiet time.  I learned from my boss that I’m an INFJ and this was one of those introvert moments or maybe days when I needed more introspection than that provided by attendance at the Eucharist.  I’ve been very busy this summer volunteering as a summer school principal intern in partial fulfillment of coursework I am completing at St. Bonaventure University.  On Wednesday of this week I’m scheduled to give a talk modeled after TED to a group of educators at a local teacher’s conference too. I’m a bit hyped by that too. The theme is, “What the world needs now.” I have some ideas but a life of perfection can be daunting as I’m sure you know.  One of the quotes that will form the basis of my talk comes from Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, “sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”

It seems appropriate to these days of bewilderment and systemic change. Deepak Chopra has written about the creative impulse and how it is invited by the presence of uncertainty. I know that both Rumi and Chopra are right because I’ve witnessed it myself. Creativity is the fruit of uncertainty and these are uncertain times.  Just last night we found ourselves a couple of miles away from the path of a tornado. I don’t mind telling you that it was frightening. There is a metaphor in the violent storm we witnessed and the events in the world around us and my visit to the Chapel at St. Bonaventure University. I’ve come here before and sat in the quiet of this lovely spot.

Once again I think of the words of Thomas Merton about the road ahead.

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


Happy Birthday Jelaluddin Rumi

Today while visiting Brother David’s website that this is the birthday of Jelaluddin Rumi. Rumi was a mystic and I first learned of him a few years ago watching Dr. Wayne Dyer on Public Television.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,