Dear Friends,

As we build the Beloved Community, we pray for you every day that you might continue to bring it about in your little corner of the world.

Today's Meditation features a reflection by Joyce Rupp on "Listening to Inner and Outer Life."

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION: Joyce Rupp: "Listening to Inner and Outer Life"

Reflection - October 2023

This month I’m sharing three excerpts from my daily journal.

1) In early August a friend led me to Fabiana Fondevila’s poem, “In the Garden.” The poet mentions several lovely parts of the garden, (“sweetness in the apple tree”, “ripening in the tomatoes"). Then she delivers a jolt by describing a ragged flower: “the hydrangea struggling to bloom/in its chewed up dress and tortured feet.” These opposing images reminded me of Macrina Wiederkehr’s oft-quoted line: “Joy and sorrow are sisters. They live in the same house.” Reflecting on living in this world of opposites, I wrote:

Sometimes the sisters quarrel when sorrow won’t stop crying, but almost always joy understands. She wraps her arms around sorrow and repeats often, “I’m here for you.” And how glad joy is on those rare days when sorrow allows her to join in a walk in the woods, reading a good novel, having a talk with a supportive friend, or listening to the beauty in a piece of music.

Joy and sorrow are sisters—they plan to go on living in the same house, knowing how each helps the other. Sorrow softens the too-hurried steps of joy, draws her beyond her self, toward more empathy for others. And sorrow, well, we know how sorrow requires the companionship of joy to balance her heartaches and keep her from being disheartened. What beautiful sisters they are to one another, these two living in the same heart.

2) In early September a stranger I’ll call “Tim” spoke about what happened

to him.

For over three years he struggled with a painful, deadly infection in his body that the medical people could not detect, even with countless tests and hospitalization. Tim thought he was dying and resigned himself to leaving precious family and friends. But then a surprising surgical procedure discovered the infection and he finally found relief. As Tim reflected on his current life, he commented, “I celebrate every day of life, taking nothing for granted. I’ve been given a perspective on what’s most important. I give myself each day to focusing on that.” (I hope to keep this in mind so I’ll stop complaining about little things that are irritating.)

3) For a long time now, I’ve been fascinated by the marvel of birds and creatures’ migration. In mid-September the fast-flying humming birds that visited my feeder all summer took off for the winter. The day after their departure I mused:

Wisdom of inner knowing. Determination. Preparation. Care for self-preservation. Grow strong, fatten fully, seek food that not only satisfies but nourishes. Knowing when is enough, when to fly beyond fear and the doubt of arrival. Decide to depart, let the heart lead homeward, homeward, homeward. The heart knows the way—the longing to arrive giving strength for the long path through the traveling sky—no matter if rain, fog, wind—fly onward, grateful for the woman who kept the feeder full, her heart sad at departure. Your heart full of wild anticipation. Soon you will nestle where you know you truly belong.

As we move through the month of October may it bring us many reasons to ponder and find ever-greater meaning for our lives, for our personal journeys of inner migration.

Abundant peace,

Joyce Rupp

P.S. A poem below from My Soul Feels Lean for those living in the northern hemisphere. (Those of you living in the southern one, tuck the poem away for when your next autumn arrives.)

Boundless Compassion Retreat

What wonderful leadership Bobbi Bussan, OSB and the core team are giving to the Boundless Compassion organization since my departure from that role two years ago. Numerous new programs are being led by the trained facilitators, along with continuing the four day retreats based on my book, Boundless Compassion. There are still a few openings for anyone wishing to participate in a four day retreat coming soon. Friday Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m. to Oct 31, 4:00 pm. Info here.

“Goodbye to Summer”

Impermanence, transformation,

seasonal change, goodbyes.

Call it by whatever name,

it’s bound to leave a crusty mark

on my reluctant spirit.

The time has come to end

my light-filled summertime

when I floated on emerald wings.

Now I stand here at the patio door

looking out at naked trees.

Overnight, determined rain pressed

nearly every leaf to the ground;

only a landscape of emptiness remains

where once lived contented fullness.

I take a deep breath, give a sigh

of resignation, gather my precious

remembrance of those succulent months

while my memory takes one last, grateful look

at summer’s dewy dawns.

Now is the time to yield, to enter

the next turning, accept the stark contrast

of barrenness in place of fullness.

As I turn away from the emptied trees

I take my generous basket of summer

with me, trusting it has stored

enough to see me through

until the time of melting snow.

~ Joyce Rupp (My Soul Feels Lean)