Dear Friends ~ We have all probably had our sleepless nights this month as the dark clouds of suffering and war gather and storm across our bedtime fears. During one recent, restless night, my beloved of fifty years invited me to sit with her at the "4am Club." Here is Jackie's welcome. Perhaps you would like to join us? ~Bob
Welcome to the 4am Club.
People come and go freely.
There are no membership fees.
Drop-ins are always welcome.
Some people bring their physical pain:
headaches, back aches, restless legs.
Some bring their soul pain.
The language of tears is spoken.
Emotions circulate around the room:
fear, sadness, shame –
all the ones that crawl under the bed
when daylight comes.
Often prayers are whispered.
Blessings are blown across the miles
to loved ones.
Healing incantations are said
for those who suffer.
Peace is yearned for.
Thanksgivings echo through the night.
In the generosity of darkness and silence,
dreams are remembered:
nighttime dreams, childhood dreams, daydreams awaken forgotten pathways.
From time to time, joy pops in for a visit.
So do the cats. Lured by magic,
they find their way to a warm lap
and doze off.
Visions of beauty show up,
And creative weavers
wander around, aimlessly.
Sometimes a mysterious focus grabs hold.
Then, a light appears in the darkness,
revealing the unfathomable love
that holds everything together.
O Lord, remember not only men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they inflicted on us. Remember the fruits we have borne thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of this; and when they come to judgment let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.
What we do know is that great injustice, cruelty, physical pain, or betrayal, when consciously accepted and generously borne, can give rise to a peculiarly luminous and healing quality of love, and that this love radiates out from the site of the pain as a source of healing and hope for the entire cosmos.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
"Peacemakers who sow in peace
raise a harvest of righteousness" (James 3:18)
We lay down our seeds in the dark.
Spring has been exceptionally cold
this year. Reluctant daffodils
have done little to convince me.
But we do the work of the faithful
farmer, rising in the pre-dawn hours.
It is a chosen hiddenness, a subtle
stretching over time, ear bent to listen
to the ground, ready for instruction.
Slow rhythmic movements are best.
Sometimes we simply show up,
holding borrowed pain, applying tears
or not. With a gentle
but demanding attention
to detail, we prepare the soil.
We plant. We wait.