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Monday, December 21, 2009

Here comes the sun!

Waiting is not passive. Not always, not necessarily. This is not our year for the big blizzard at Christmas. Three years ago we were buried under a few feet of snow, the airport closed for two days and Kaia didn't make it home until Christmas Eve morning. This year, of course, it's the East Coast that is socked in and I'm reading of friends stranded in Cincinnati, Charlotte, and Burlington, trying to get home to Warsaw, Paris and Istanbul. To say nothing of Baltimore, Greenwich Village and Boston. We're lucky. The skies are clear between here and Minneapolis and, unless the pilots overshoot their destination again, by, say, a thousand miles and end up in San Diego, we should have a full house by tonight. We don't have to wait much longer. Waiting is not much fun at all. In my experience, waiting means one of two things: fretting, fidgeting, fiddling or paralysis, idleness, passivity. We wait for many things in this life. To get older, to get younger, to get wiser, to get richer, to get better, to get happier, to get healthier. We wait for people to arrive, for people to leave (!), for a new season, for a new possibility, new relationships, for renewed relationships, for understanding, for reconciliation, for sun. George Harrison wrote the sweet Beatles tune, "Here comes the sun!" at a particularly bleak point in his life. His marriage was ending, the Beatles were ending, his future felt closed, not open, regrets, fears, anxiety beset him and he was worrying, wondering, waiting for what would come next. He was out one early morning, feeling morose, and, voila! the sun rose. "Here comes the sun!" Today we can all sing, "Here comes the sun!" The Swedes up in my old part of the world, within mere miles of the Arctic Circle, where reindeer really do roam, knew something when they made this big fuss of the Solstice. The sun is coming! The light is coming back! This day is not the last day, it is the first day. The official Solstice came just an hour or so ago. So far I'm not quite feeling it. But that means nothing. It is happening nonetheless. It is happening. It is happening! Here comes the sun! The future is open, not closed. The days ahead are bright, not dim, not dark. Nature is so full of genius! We can hold fast to these hopeful signs from the heart of life itself. Life is telling us truth about itself, ourselves, our universe, our own worlds. In the darkest, shortest day, where in the far north there is nary a light at all, the promise is grounded in the motion, the rhythms of nature. Here comes the sun! Waiting for this sun, for light need not be a passive exercise, nor a cynical one. God knows, the process of moving back from dark to light, from despair to hope, from paralysis to purpose has been excruciating for me, for many, at times, for seasons. But always, this day, this day when the world does turn. When the very ground of being moves forward, edging purposefully and inexorably toward sun. Two things I read this morning --- thanks, Jim and Christy for sharing --- that speak to this movement. To sun, to light. "What gives me hope for the future is simple. I am certain that cynicism is the product of a broken heart, and that a heart that can break can heal...What is closed off can be opened; what is denied can be reclaimed." - Dorothy Allison, Contemporary American Writer As the light comes, I claim this promise, this healing for myself, first of all, this healing of heart, this closed off cynicism. And I hope and pray for it to claim you too, as you need it. The second word of wisdom from my brother, Jim, "...On this Winter Solstice...the Divine Giver is the Great Forgiver. I read that the Hebrew word for forgiveness translates to "drop it". Time to drop a lot, once again." I'm going to be dropping things today. If you hear crashes and bangs and thuds, it could be the stuff I'm dropping. Or perhaps it's the stuff you are dropping. Forgiving. Letting go, purifying, emptying in order to be made full. Perhaps along with the ritual of lighting candles to welcome the light, there might first be a ritual of dropping, to leave the darkness behind, of cynical broken-heartedness. Waiting need not be passive. It sounds like there's a lot to do. Even while sitting in an airport, or in traffic, or standing on line at the check-out, or waiting for the house to fill up. May the brokenhearted be healed, and the closed, opened. May the hurts and wounds we carry be dropped, if only to lighten and open our own souls. The church was really smart to tie its own story of God with us to this bleak midwinter, when the promise of life comes: of light in darkness, and the darkness can not, can not, will not overcome it, will not overwhelm it. That is potent stuff. Strong enough to stir up my cynic's blood today, my sad spirit tomorrow, and to go a long ways toward mending a broken heart. And, while we're at it, may the church itself be open, not closed, light, not dark, and may its own heart be mended. To honor the sun, or, the Son.