April 03, 2015
In Rabbi Kessler’s words, “Today was really special.” It really was.
Last week, we had our second patient-led Spiritual Friday. Each Friday, I ask if anyone is interested in being a part of the patient spiritual team that would lead us every four or five weeks. I want the patients to really experience spiritual leadership, the humility of service, and the blessing of feeling so connected to each other.
Our group of eight chose to continue our step study with the spiritual principle of “Brotherly Love.” Their music choices were awesome: “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Each of the group leaders shared a personal story about brotherly love; some spoke about the music, many shared stories of experiences of brotherly love at Caron Renaissance, and some shared prayers. It was all shared from the heart. Because the patients set this atmosphere, the whole room opened up with heartfelt stories. During some moments, you could hear a pin drop because a kind of sacred silence filled the room.
A couple of quotes from one of the readings they chose:
“Honest friends are doorways to our souls, and loving friends are the grasses that soften the world. It is no mistake that the German root of the word friendship means ‘place of high safety.’ This safety opens us to G-d. As Cicero said, ‘A friend is a second self.’ And as Saint Martin said, ‘My friends are the beings through whom G-d loves me.’ There can be no greater or simpler ambition than to be a friend.”
-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“Can you tell your ears to stop hearing or your nose to stop smelling? Can you keep yourself from feeling hunger or fatigue? Can you tell the rain to cease or the waves in the ocean to stop breaking? I think not.
If we can’t stop these, then we certainly have no chance whatsoever of stopping our spirits from wanting G-d. The longing for G-d is the strongest and most misdiagnosed force in our lives…”
-Sandy Beach, Dear Friend
Some of our “If Questions” were:
Q: If you could nominate someone for sainthood, who would you pick?
A: My parents.
Q: If you could describe the most powerful moment of silence you’ve ever experienced, how would you answer?
A: It’s happened three times. Right before a baby takes its first breath, you wait with such anxiety… and then there’s such elation!!
Q: If you could edit out one recurring thought that occupies your mind, what would you choose?
A: The thought that I can drink normally.
Q: If you could create a miracle for one friend, who would you pick and what would you choose?
A: My friend back home is a writer and he has a debilitating disease that has left him unable to write or use his hands. I’d make him able to write again because he loves it so much.
In small groups, topics jumped from unconditional love to selflessness, from forgiveness to empathy, and then to the question, “Where does this love come from?”
It was a very special day. I wish you all could have been with us.
Reverend Laurie Durgan