"Few among us would ever opt for the narrow gate of grief, even if it were guaranteed to lead us to God. But if our most profound losses - the death of a loved one, the ending of a marriage or career, catastrophic disease or alienation from community - bring us to our knees before that threshold, we might as well enter. The Beloved might be waiting in the next room." -Mirabai Starr as quoted by Richard Rohr
What is your narrow gate of grief? Mine is recovery.
What is your catastrophic disease? Mine is addiction.
What have you been alienated from? Addiction alienated me from honesty.
Who is the Beloved who waits for you?
Ms. Starr studies great religions and the practice of stillness as offered by great mystics who teach silence as the doorway to the One who waits within. This Beloved, both within and in the midst of a Creative and sustaining universe, is the One who waits to unite with us. This One waits for us to simply be with Him/Her. In this being, we taste the fullness of life. Ms. Starr's lifelong practice of being with her beloved was shattered when she learned of her daughter's death at 14 years of age.
"I could rage against the terrible unknown - and I did, for I am human and have this vunerable body, passiionate heart, and complicated mind - or I could turn toward the cup, bow to the Cupbearer, and say 'yes'."
"I didn't do it right away, nor was I able to sustain it when I did manage a breath of surrender."
This was spoken following the loss of her daughter.
This sounds painfully familiar as I recall the many stories we have shared over the past 18 years of my recovery journey. All of us have shared our 'terrible unknown'. We have shared the desolation of alienation. We have surrendered our rage, resentment, and fear.
We have shared our surrender under water, and our amazement when we were able to gasp our first breath of life - sobriety.
We didn't do it right away. We didn't do it perfectly. We often don't sustain it.
We continue our efforts, no matter how riddled with shame and blame. We continue to return to each other, no matter how imperfect. We continue to glimpse our Beloved in our breathless attempts to surrender under water. AND we continue to celebrate the gasping joy of breathing our sobriety and freedom.
We do these acts of courage on our knees, with and before each other as though we were the Beloved of each other, as though we are the Beloved of each other. We are the breath, skin, embrace and fullness of our Beloved. In the embraces of each other, we are the hope that perpetuates the ongoing journey toward the next room. We find ourselves together in the next room, or at the next beach, or near the next river bank, or where ever there is that Sacred space in which we can breath, fully in the here and now.
So, my Beloveds, we are here again in our sacred spaces sharing the hope that our collective grief will lead us to breath freely. We continue through this narrow gate of grief to find each other in the next room. What does your room look like? Is it the beach, riverside, open meadow, space beneath the cedars, ......?
We all have our space and we share it willingly.
Our grief subsides, if only for moments.
Our joy illuminates.
We fill each other as Beloveds.