You know, social media is such a weird place, but then there are days when something just steps out of the ether, grabs your hands, and doesn’t let go. So it is with these words from @desireedallagiacomo , which I just HAD to write down. If there was ever a ‘job description’ for me in my creative endeavors as writer and artist, mama, teacher, lover of life, this is it.
I have been listening to Dr. Nichole Roccas‘ book, Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life on my morning walks. It has been such a good companion, and in the chapters I listened to this morning, she shared a snippet of the poem below. I went and found the rest of it, and I thought you all might like to read it too.
The Invitation, Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
© 1999 All rights reserved
“There’s much that goes to the makin’ of a man or woman into somethin’ better than a brute beast, but there’s three things in chief, an’ they’re the places where life sets us down, an’ the folks life knocks us up against, an’ — not the things ye get, but the things ye don’t get.
– Elizabeth Goudge
Last week was one of those full, good weeks. More than one kid this week took off on a learning adventure ahead of me, which is pretty amazing. There was a lot of inventing going on, too…just…one of those good weeks when you see the wheels turning and learning being applied, which is always such a gift.
For all that, I felt rather behind for most of the week, constantly playing catch up. I haven’t really found my groove with home care and meal prep since schooling began in earnest. It is definitely a case of knowing what the general needs and routine are, but not having enough hours in the day. It’s not that we sit at the table all day long, but with six learners and six different interests (and teaching Latin and Physics to my eldest) I find myself often barely finishing up before my husband returns home in the evening. The children and I all have our basic chores that get done everyday, but a lot of the maintenance type chores (mopping, deep cleaning the kitchen, etc.) aren’t getting done- and with eight in our space, those areas show the lack pretty quickly.
And the groceries- meal planning- ugh. Don’t get me started. I feel like we spend so much time trying to figure out what we can actually have- always feeling a little bit lost- and having such a limited budget- that often, figuring out a meal plan for our family of eight can pretty much bring me near tears if I’m not in the right frame of mind. We had a long discussion on Instagram the other day about it, if you’re interested. There’s quite a group of us in similar situations and it was a deep encouragement that day to know I was not alone.
Through it all, there is so much beauty to be found. Picking up my husband from work one day, I looked up to find an almost Narnian-like scene under a lamp post…so many beautiful leaves…and the last vestiges of our wildflower plot out front. I etched one of the pumpkins in a quiet hour last Monday. It’s all here…good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.
A few nights ago I could tell by the light through the trees that the sunset was going to be achingly beautiful that night, so we made our way down to the river to capture it.
One of my favorite prayers from our Great Vespers service (which happens every Saturday night in preparation for Divine Liturgy the following morning) is when we chant Psalm 140. Here’s the first verse and a lovely recording:
Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Towards the end of the service, we sing O Gladsome Light.
O Gladsome Light of the holy glory of the Immortal Father,
heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ.
Now we have come to the setting of the sun
and behold the light of evening.
We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For it is right at all times to worship Thee
with voices of praise, O Son of God and Giver of Life,
therefore all the world glorifies Thee.
So often now when I see the sunset, these prayers are echoing in my mind and heart. They bring deep and abiding comfort, and remind me to always look for the light.