What Do You Want that You Already Have?

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By Lynda Young Kaffie

Artist, Spiritual Director

Leaning against my mirror, there is a quotation on a card that I see every morning as I ready myself for the day.

What do you want that you already have?

In the midst of sheltering-in-place, constantly washing my hands, keeping socially distant while wearing a mask and gloves in public, and keeping up with current events, these words have given me pause and an opportunity to reflect upon what I do already have at hand in my life.

Since we began the “new normal,” I realize that I have been looking for sources of support and inspiration to sustain me. Poetry, videos, books, articles and conversations with teachers and friends have all given me new ways of considering my own life, life in our community, and life in our country.

The first week of shelter-in-place, the poem, Pandemic, by Lynn Ungar gave me a place to begin:

What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down.

Like many of us, as part of centering down, I have found myself walking outdoors most days both for exercise as well as to offset cabin fever. Watching the beauty of Spring unfold in the glory of so many shades of green, has given me a sense of hope – new birth happening even in the midst of a great deal of darkness.

Seeing the neighborhood come alive with families walking dogs, children, and themselves has been a joy. Sharing greetings and smiles with neighbors I had not known of before has created new connections even without the benefit of close proximity or touch.

On April 1, in the midst of the crisis, I moved into a new, larger studio space. My Spiritual Director suggested that I consider the move as an opportunity for “a change of perspective”. She quoted verses from the book of Habakkuk 1:1-5. Verse 5 offered me a different perspective on living in the time of a pandemic and a chance to consider what might arise in its aftermath – that which has yet to be revealed.

Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told

Unsure, as yet, of what work is being done and what that work will mean for each of us and all of us in the future, this verse reminds me of two things that are imprinted upon my spirit: one, that God does indeed work in mysterious ways and with what might appear to be, in a given moment, without merit to human eyes and two, that God is with us, accompanying us, even in the seeming darkness of this worldwide crisis.

The 14th Century mystic, Meister Eckhart, reminds me of one gift that is already available to each of us: “God is (always) at home. It is we who have gone for a walk.” We have but to take the time to quiet our active minds to become awake to God’s presence within and around us.

As we transition back into the reopening of our city, our State, our Country, my question is: How do we enter into this change of perspective with both the wisdom of common sense as well as an openness of heart, mind, and spirit? Perhaps, this line from my well-loved copy of Jane Kenyon’s poem, Let Evening Come, may give us courage and hope:

Let it come as it will, and don’t be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.

Bringing us full circle to the question written on the card I view each day, I offer for you to consider, that which I hope to take with me in heart, mind, and spirit as, together, we gradually and thoughtfully re-enter the world anew:

What do you want that you already have?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jane Jenkins

    This is a lovely posting. Several nuggets popped out and I look forward to contemplating their meaning and relevance to my shelter in place experience. Thank you.

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