Monday, August 07, 2006
The Moon Over Khobar
“Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.”
~ Allen Ginsberg, American poet
11:30pm, August 6.
I cannot see the moon outside and in any case I wouldn't want to step outside to look --- the humidity is so high it is almost suffocating. But I'd like to think that the moon, as it shines over Khobar, watches me while I let those thoughts meander over and over.
The night welcomes me like a wedding host welcomes me to his banquet. The moon is like a welcome blanket that wraps around me and makes me fully aware of the Divine. When I sleep, I empty myself and re-fill my being with the wonderment of this life and the gift that God has made possible for me to enjoy.
So I sit before the table and await His feast, for my Heavenly Father has invited me to partake of His spirit, and to be one with Him. In the silence, I remember that He is around me, He is beside me, and He permeates the world.
HE IS WITHIN ME.
For the last time in the day, I am caught within my own thoughts. I commune with them as they were brethren, I bid them to sit down beside and formally close this day.
I try to recall the many things that made this special, the small things and kindnesses other people have shared with me. I try to recall the experiences of the day and how I could have made it better.
I am living precisely for this time. It has been many days before I have freed myself to listen to my own breathing. Over the past two years (and a half, come September), I have journeyed in this foreign place and have revealed and been revealed to myself; I have discovered that the world, in sometimes perverse and unfathomable ways, is more beautiful than I had ever imagined. At times I tried to be the rebel, the maverick; at others I had no wish more intense than the one of belonging.
Is this the home that I had yearned for, or just a temporary resting place where He may again launch me forth into where I am intended to be?
I have no illusions that this journey is now about to end, but for now, in the night, in the quiet, I offer this little prayer to the Lord that He may strengthen my faith and be content that He continues to accompany me on this grand journey of my life.
I have often been told – though still find an ideal so difficult to apply – that my life is only as good as I make it. The gift has already been granted; it is up to me to tame hold of this life and perforce let it take shape. I made my stands long ago. Now that this day would end, my thoughts turn to the morrow.
I was fortunate to have received a whole wealth of experience that my education can offer me; inasmuch that I did not take much of it seriously, I have not forgotten what has transpired in each of the halls and classrooms that I have passed through in this life. After all, education is not so much what you try to learn in school but how much that learning will prepare you for the task of living your entire life. In the sums of everything, my knowing what quarks are may enrich my conversation or my interior life but it wouldn't help me finish my Gantt chart of deliverables that I have left pending for the past few days.
Still, it is hardly easy to divorce what value we give to book learning over the practical senses of the heart. It took hardship, frustration, defeat, and failure for me to learn otherwise.
The life that stands before me is often threatened by the burden of regret. It is all-too convenient for me to feel this way. This night, as I picture the moon over the sprawl of Khobar, I pray that my life will be burdened by the gift of love.
Everywhere the winds of conflict tear people apart. It is ironic that when we enter this world we start with a clean slate and our faces are pretty much the same --- what things we perpetrate upon ourselves to make ourselves feel different from others --- what thoughts we plant in our hearts that make us hate!
I once wrote, inspired by the poet Gibran: Your tears are no more signs of weakness than the sacrifice God made of His Son for us to be redeemed. When you cry, you open your soul to Him so that He may renew you. The tears you shed are purer than the laughter of him who seeks to forget and sweeter than the mockery of those who sneer. These tears cleanse the heart of hatred, and teach us to share the pain of the brokenhearted. They are the tears of Jesus Christ.
My own bitter medicine is that it is not enough to parrot the words and the deeds of peace. For peace and compassion to take root in my heart, I must meet bitterness of this world with faith and hope. When I admit my weakness, and surrender my soul, I may truly shed my tears and grieve for the wounds we have inflicted upon our world. Yet these tears may someday cleanse me with understanding; it may awake my spirit one day so that my love will remain eternally pure and beautiful.
When I struggle inspite of the darkness, I begin to learn fortitude.
I have much to learn of giving. In the beginning, I gave for the reason that I may be recognized for who I am. That was false giving, and in the end (much too late), my own impulses rendered my gifts unwholesome. The true giving is that of giving without asking for reward. Such generosity is of the bounty of the universe.
I have yet still to learn the final crucible of giving --- that of giving inspite of pain. Sometimes I wonder how those who do manage. I see their faces, and the joy that is in their eyes transforms sthem into saints.
All this one day shall be gone from me --- so it is but time for me to give NOW, for all will be aught when I die, as I must.
I have tried --- and failed --- to hear Mass in this place. It has become more valuable in its absence, just like the saying goes. I try, however, in my own way, to live my life in the covenant as best as I could. I try to give my time to others as best as I can. I know fully well that the fruits of my labor are no longer mine to call my own. I hope to share as much of my life and love and being. Time runs its own course, and money --- well, it's just money.
I pray that I would have the gift to drive away the hunger of the spirit, just as so many others have done. It is not my aim to be remembered, but only that my life has achieved its own apex.
I have survived because of what others have made possible, for the many small deaths and sacrifices others have made for my sake. So, then, must I learn to die to myself and thus live forever.
In this light of the moon, I slip back into my own being and hope that what I have realized becomes a truth in action tomorrow.
The light and the glare of everyday life often drowns out in its din the silence of self-knowing. Will my hands allow me to be a gift in another person's life?
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed His love among us : He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice our sins. Since God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him. We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God", yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, who he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. Christ has given us this command : Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 3:7-12, 16b, 19-21
With thanks to Gerry Lumitao, who took this picture (I did some enhancements).
n.b. I actually wrote this last night but just posted it today.