Napa Valley Taize

Notes from Baja: 2016 Epiphany

Here we are again, waiting for the wind, and loving all of it.  I'm no longer working at keeping the main thing, the main thing, written in my notes last Epiphany 2015, but eagerly awaiting that moment when I step on my board into this fabulous warm water.  I find myself querying, since while I wait, I'm reading Vaclav Havel's biography. 

He's dominated my thoughts here.  Written by his press secretary, Michael Zantovsky, it is everything I would want in a good beach read, and more.  (I can see you guffawing).  I've been a fan since 1989, when his relentless struggle to validate the individual's authentic contribution to the heart of the State, facilitated and birthed the Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution.  Truly a revolution of the thinkers, playwrights, journalists, and artists, who put their lives in harm's way over a period of 20 years, from 1969 to 1989.  And when the regime changed there was celebration, but mostly exhaustion and frustration.  A great story, which makes me pause and reflect that birth is not easy.

Advent 2016 promised us a surprise.  Remember, the birth of something new that had been gestating within us throughout the long walk in the Gospels of Mathew and Mark.  According to Alexander Shaia's work Matthew's losses, and Mark's suffering because of those losses, lands us square into the wedding festivities of John, and the final release of pain and suffering that is neutralized by the surprising stillness of the garden where Mary sees the resurrected Jesus.  Where in the quiet and repair, there may be in fact the new birth we anticipated during the Advent season.

I do think it's okay to be cautious about new birth.  We mothers have experienced the tedium of it, and fathers the isolation, yet new birth is what we all hope for because isn't it ultimately and in the final final, fabulous?  Yet even at the Christmastide when all is twinkly and light-filled, the darkness lingers, and surrounds us when the Christmas tree is unplugged.  It seems acceptable and true, that the new birth is hiccuppy, back-and-forthing, tenuous and tedious, and for sure, illusive.

YET, as Vaclav Havel has written.  "Our hope is not a conviction that something will turn out well, but a certainty that something has a meaning regardless of how it turns out."  Something has a meaning regardless...!  Isn't this the linchpin of our faith?  That our lives and journey have meaning and reason.

He goes on to write, "it is clear when an event is out of joint with itself--out of joint in the deeper sense that I have in mind here-- then at the same time something unavoidably goes out of joint within us; a new perspective of the world will open a new perspective of our own human possibilities, of what we are and what we could be, and so - torn out of our routine humanity, we stand once again face to face with the most important question of all:  How to come to terms with ourselves."  Rarely has a political movement been born neither of an idea of changing the world, nor of the opposition to other ideas of changing the world, but rather of an individual internal, psychological, (and spiritual) need to find a balance in one's life....reaching it required nothing more of less than staying true to oneself.

We're just a few weeks away from Lent.  What the heck, didn't we just experience the magic of Advent.  Very quickly this year, we're plunged into another reflective time.  How lovely I think, to be given two seasons back to back for contemplation, rejuvenation.  Who know what the nature of this new birth is, but we've been given more time to get used to a new way of balancing the truer aspects of who we are.

Come, sing and pray with us Feb. 5, as we journey together toward balance and love.