Dear Wartburg Colleagues,
Just a day or two ago, I felt personally challenged to be present to all that is happening in our world and on our campus, and I felt even more put to the test when it came to releasing my desire for things to be different. What I know is that wanting things to be different does not make them as I would wish; it only adds to the feeling of being locked up and threatened. Releasing desire gives me the chance to recognize what is needed for the moment rather than dwelling on the notion of what is missing, what is lacking . . . and you can find a number of things that go into that category right now, as our daily lives and routines undergo incredible change due to an unseen but deadly foe.
Some may be saying,
“I lack the comfort of a friend’s hug.”
“I miss going to worship, to school, to the movies.”
“I lack the company of loved ones gathering for what was to be a great celebration.”
“I lack child care.”
“I miss the joy of singing with my choir.”
“I lack a job to go to while this virus plagues us.”
“I lack workers to carry on our care of the vulnerable.”
This has been a week of people learning new ways of gathering virtually and finding creative ways to express good will and well wishing. The Italians have taught us to sing from our balconies and porches. Churches are meeting on conference calls and streaming online worship. Schools are partnering with families and students to enable home schooling and online coursework. Friends are checking up on one another and noting needs.
As we work to meet the challenge of carrying on at home and at work on the Wartburg Campus, I thought I would share what would be called by some a meditation, by others a prayer, which has its origin in the words of Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich. It came to my attention when Joseph Perez, President of the Association of Professional Chaplains sent it along with his words of encouragement to chaplains throughout this country.
Joseph invites those who lean into this prayer to trust that what is needed spiritually is present. Then he suggests using both body and voice to engage the meditation:
(Hands at waist, cupped up to receive):
May I await this day, not as I expect, hope, or imagine,
but just as it is in this moment.
(Reach up, hands open):
May I allow the day to come and be what it is,
without meeting my expectation.
(Hands at heart, cupped towards body):
May I accept it as a gift whatever comes or does not come.
Accept that I am not in charge.
Accept the infinity of the Holy
to be present whether or not I am aware.
(Hands outstretched, ready to be responsive):
And may I attend to the day with actions
that the Holy invites me to take
from this stance of openness.
(Julian of Norwich, 1342-1416):
I wish for you all a day in which you have what you need when you need it. Allow all the wanting to flow down the river. We are here on the shore, and the Holy will not forsake us. We will discover God’s presence in new ways.
Peace be with you,
Pastor Kimberli Lile
Director of Spiritual Care