Friday, September 26, 2014

Reflection from Heart of Compassion Memorial Ministries ARCWP Windsor, Ontario

WHEN GRIEF OPENS THE DOORS TO THE SACRED, we come to the thinning seasons, summer to Autumn and then to Winter when eternity enters our awareness  keenly. We diminish somewhat within the great spaces of our universe while parts of our planet enter a dying and resting time, a fallow time to prepare, without apology, for the renewals of Spring. 

 Our dying, at any time of the year, is like this. It is as if we could see through to and reach into eternity as our bodies surrender to their necessities and then weaken towards the moment of our last breath. We are held and embraced by spaciousness beyond ourselves. It is a time  we are, perhaps, slowly coming to know though yes, this could happen in a flash with no prolonged  preparation. We could  be taken  as if by lightning, a sudden blizzard, a flood of something we can’t  name.

They said, “She loved greatly and always. For this she was dearly loved.”
They said, “We were always together, 3 sisters a year apart in age, and now the very fabric of ourselves is torn.”
She said. “I built a dream home deep in nature and we have immersed ourselves in tis joy.”
She said, “It is yours now. Your are dearly loved here.”

He said, ‘She loved us dearly here and she was dearly loved. Three years and then
our living, our loving place became the place of her dying. I was with her always
in the ravaging of her cancer.”

They said, “Every day she sat before her windows. She observed her world for hours
 and often, we observed with her. Everything became quiet. We were deeply loved.”

We said. “Their grief is profound. It feels impenetrable .Let us hold it as our mothering God holds it. We ask our God to hold their grief in the infinity of her compassionate embrace.
And then?  Art expression and poetry came to us.

A Woman
sits before her living
room window.
Long and wide
the window reflects
vistas of green

against a cloudless sky
where  eagle and hawk
drift in easeful flight.

Their motionless wings
reflect on the wall behind her,
while the wall casts out shapes

that hang in the trees.
Inside out, outside in
she is drawn

towards the great
universe that has come
to meet her.

She receives everything
given. She gives all
she has ever received.

She greets the immense
surrounding space
she has sought

all her life. The reality
of surround space
is an embrace,

she now knows
is a gift
of loving presence.

A woman sits
before her
back-yard window.

Long and wide,
the window reflects
stands of  White Spruce,

Trembling Aspen.
Closer to her garden, to her patio,
she sees her flourishing

Dogwood, her Shining Willow.
Closer yet comes her cherished
Wilderness Rose, her Mountain Holly.

The window brings in myriad colors,
From her vegetable garden
protected by Firethorn, Blackthorn,

and her Fuchsia colored Gooseberry.

The window casts a vision of Paradise
on the wall behind her
while the wall returns images

of stained glass vases, golden spheres,
crystal gems that hang from the ceiling.
They fill the trees and the sky

as far as she can see.
On the surface of the glassed in patio door
she sees how thin she has become.

A yellow color dots her nose
as if it had been kissed by a buttercup.
She sees that the yellow pervades her face

and neck. She sees that her hands are becoming
almost Autumn orange and brown
just like the markings on the leaves

drying a bit at the edges
of her cherished trees.
Every day she sits here,

her favorite quilt
wrapping her knees and her feet.
She needs this warmth now

in the thinning,
deepening season.
Questions arise within her

She accepts them while
allowing them to  quietly
find their place. Now she enters

the inner sanctuary of her heart.
Outside in, inside out,
the vast universe

claims her further than
she has ever been.
This is not a strange place.

She sees she is again
in a vast surrounding space
so organically lus

she cannot resist
its seductions.
 All her life she attended

her beautiful world,
the one given and the one she created.
She knows she is entering it now.

Her fulfillment is at hand.
She will be home always
where home has always been, inside and out,

outside and in, there is no difference.
The reality of surround
Space  an embrace,
a kiss of peace, a welcome

she now knows
is a gift
of loving presence.

Composed by Michele Birch-Conery
August 11, 2014.

Memorial Service presided
by Michele Birch-Conery, Priest
and Barbara Billey, Deacon

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