To Uvalde in Memoriam

I was in the woods at 8 tonight it was similarly quiet, and they were singing here too
I did not feel joy nor peace 

I asked to the Divine to offer grace, tender love, comfort to 21 families tonight
in Texas whose lives were shattered today 

I’m so glad I quit Facebook otherwise I’d be ranting at guns and conservatives

Somehow, there is a way to walk in the absolute terror in this world
Hold the space with injustice and cruelty ……
While aiming my own pathway toward peace 

I feel unable to do this 

And …. the Divine?
She will light the way

By Jeffrey,
Selah Community

I Wonder

Words from Jeffrey Brusseau….

I was in the desert, in the depths of the Grand Canyon of Grief. It was hot, dry, miserable. The walls of these cliffs are brown, sand, and burnt orange colors. I am walking and walking. Did I mention it’s hot, like 105? There is no clear path for me to follow—I don’t know where I’m going or where I will end up?

Lonely, exhausted needing some fuel, where will my help come from?

There is a watering can close by. I reach for it and try to read the word on the side.

S E L A H

I’ve not seen this word before. Opening the can I sniff inside, hmmmm, seems like water. I drink. It is ice cold, has ice cubes even! My body, my soul yells “Thank You!!” for the sustenance—didn’t even realize how much I needed this. Though I’m taking several long drinks—there’s more in the can. Where’s it coming from, I wonder?

For the first time in hours, I sit. My eyes see plants near me, cacti, mesquite, acacia, this question presses in on me—how do they get their water?

What I know is this. That can of water, sacred water, is left here for me. It speaks a language I can understand.

This miracle happened to me in 2017.

Today, in a moment of deep listening with an elder, wisdom revealed to me that Selah water has seeds within itself. Once ingested, these will sprout, only some of them.

A generous, overflowing love, a new way of being might emerge in a person.

I am that person.

These days I wander into the desert, filling up watering cans with Selah water. The next person who comes by this way, if they have eyes to see, if their journey has grief and deep pain, thirst will overwhelm. They will find this rusty weathered watering can, the letters on its side fading.

Their first drink is a surprise “how is this so cold, with ice in it, out in this heat?” Something holy beckons them to sit and rest awhile. They might wonder about this water and ask where the plants, on this barren sandy, dusty Canyon floor get their nourishment.

Rotating the can in their hands they make out the letters.

S E L A H

Wonder what that means?

Living in the Paschal Mystery: Leading to Ascension

[This message was given at Kairos: Friday Morning Contemplative Gathering on April 29, 2022]

From Mary Pandiani, Selah Executive Director

Easter has come and gone for many. And yet, looking at the church liturgical calendar, we’re still in Eastertide, namely the 40-days before the Ascension of Christ Jesus takes place. These 40-days and Ascension are part of the story called the Paschal Mystery – a living remembrance of Christ Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, the Ascension (the rising from earth to be with God), that culminates with Pentecost (the unleashing of the Holy Spirit). The connection to the celebration of the Old Testament Passover reminds us of the lamb whose blood protects the Israelites who finally leave Egypt, leading them to freedom from slavery.

We’re called into this Paschal Mystery where we’re connected to the story as well. Our lives operate out of a Paschal Mystery – a life, death, and new life rhythm in the everyday and final death of our lives. That means we’re participating, in intentional and unintentional ways, with the 40-days and Ascension. We, like the disciples and followers of Christ Jesus, don’t quite understand the resurrection, yet want to believe in hope, that it brings changes in us and our relationship with God. The stories include walking the road to Emmaus, eating breakfast with the disciples, doubting and believing with Thomas who wants to see the wounds of Jesus. Confusion, joy, despondency, loss of faith, gaining faith, amazed, hope, and deep longing. These are the mundane and miraculous ways Christ Jesus enters into our world, different but the same, as a result of the resurrection. All of these emotions and new realities occur within the 40-days, inviting us to consider the change that has taken place.

Is that not like how change impacts us, especially the one where there is resurrection – a new power of and in life? We are grateful, excited, yet confused and dazed by the reality before us. We hold hope while wondering what’s next. When my youngest daughter left home for the first time at 13 years old (she decided she wanted to go to a boarding school – ask me about that story sometime), I held promise for her in the new experience, yet deep loss in no longer having her around. I was both faith-filled and faith-less. The liminal space of the unknown, yet newness, felt both awkward and comforting. How was I to enter into this change?

It’s in these places that lead to the Ascension where we ask the question of transformation: what do I need to let go of in order to experience new life to its fullest? Jesus tells the disciples that he must leave; he even goes on to say it will be better that he leaves. In his leaving, he offers something more. Or as Ronald Rolheiser suggests, “Ascension is to refuse to cling to what once was, let it go, and let it bless you, so that you can recognize the new life you already have with and within you and receive its spirit.”[1] There is new life in leaving, as counter-intuitive as that may sound, for that’s where new life begins.

As we live in this season of the Paschal Mystery, let us ask ourselves, what do we need to let go of in order that new life may arise? If we desire change and transformation, how we can move towards it, rather than cower away? Can we receive the spirit of life, revealed in these changes, that brings deeper and more meaningful encounters with God, with others, and with ourselves? Let us consider the invitation that the Ascension is asking of us.

The ascension deepens intimacy by giving us precisely a new presence, a deeper, richer one,
but one which can only come about if our former way of being present is taken away.
Ronald Rolheiser[2]

[1] https://ronrolheiser.com/managing-an-ascension/#.Ymh3hy-B23U

[2] https://ronrolheiser.com/a-spirituality-of-the-ascension/#.YmnKUy-B23