Monthly Archives: October 2015
Last week we worked with the story of Buddha and the Mustard seed. In this story a child dies and the mother searches everywhere for a mustard seed from a house that has known no sadness, loss or death in order to heal her child.
There were e-mails from teachers before Sunday, grappling with how they would tell this story. It puts us adults on the edge of our comfort to talk about death, especially with our children. I wonder how it went in your class? I wonder if you had children who said they had been sad at the beginning of the story, but when the mother came looking for a mustard seed, renounced their sadness. “Here is a seed that can help”, they said. Oh how we all long to have a magic seed to ease another’s grieving and yet, the medicine is in the relationship, in the eyes of one who loves us and can walk with us in our pain without trying to fix the un-fixable. My son recently went through Chalice Lighter training and we spoke about things that are beautiful and dangerous. Church is a place where we hold the tension of these two things, brought together in our flaming chalice. Whether that be the light of truth which can lead us into both beauty and danger, or the warmth of love which heals us and puts us at great risk of loss, we are here in this community to hold both. Spirituality is the meaning of our life, what brings us alive, draws us toward love and it’s what we do with pain of the many large and small deaths that come as an inevitable part of living, learning and growing. Thank you for entering into risk, to speak of death and community to our small children, to teach them that we can and will walk with one another through all that is beautiful and dangerous. This relationship is the medicine we all need to truly live into love.
This week the moment in Spirit Play that captured me came right at the end of class. Everyone was doing their work. We had about 5 more minutes before it was time to clean up and re-gather on the rug for our closing song. An adult came in the room. I reminded him that class didn’t end for 15 min. but he was a new member who was still on summer service schedule and they had missed church. His son was lagging behind in the hallway, not quite ready to come in. Inside me two things happened. One thing was to be mindful of the interruption to class this entrance made with another grown up standing at full height and talking to me, another adult. It really does shift the dynamic of our child-centric space. I wanted to protect our space. The other thing that happened in me was a desire to be welcoming and to put aside the rules in order to be more like…well, like church. So in they came, the boy clinging to his father’s leg. Eventually the child joined us on the rug and his father left for a short time. I had promised that after class, if they had time to stay I could show them around the classroom and tell them what we do in our class. After all the other children were gone, we were waiting for his Dad to come back. I was talking to him about Spirit Play….”every week we get to sing songs and we get to share the joys and sorrows of our heart and we get to hear a story….” but I had already been interrupted. “Do you know that I lost my Mom?” he says. Everything stopped. “No I didn’t know that. That must be a very big sorrow in your heart.” His Dad came and we toured around the classroom. He shared with me that his wife had died. He expressed desire to come back. He felt that this community is what his family needs. I extended a heartfelt invitation that they are welcome here whenever they can join us. I am so glad that I could set aside the rules and open to relationship. The tears came after they left. How brave to come here, to be honest and hurting. What a gift that I could be open instead of rushing, instead of insisting on the letter of the law. I’m not always able to do that. Again, this was a moment where the authentic welcome extended to this family is the work of love. It is how we are community together. And for me, another gift for my practice. What a good model for me….to come be nurtured and fed by this community. I am one who frequently handles it on my own, handles it with my friends. If I’m honest, I don’t bring my wounds to church if I can help it. But I hope to learn how so I too have an opportunity to be met with love and welcome.