Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Evening Reflection on the Canaanite Woman

Mary Black, another great
singer from Ireland
As I think about this day, an old song by Bob Dylan comes to mind:  Mary Black has a great rendition of Lay Down Your Weary Tune:

Lay Down Your Weary Tune
Chorus: Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum
Struck by the sounds before the sun
I knew the night had gone
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn
crashin' waves like cymbals clashed...
The ocean wild like an organ played
The seaweed’s wove its strands
The crashin’ waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and sands
I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws
The cryin’ rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause

The last of leaves fell from the trees
And clung to a new love’s breast
The branches bare like a banjo played
To the winds that listened best
I gazed down in the river’s mirror
And watched its winding strum
The water smooth ran like a hymn
And like a harp did hum

Chorus: Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum
What a wonderful tune to draw close a summer evening.

I continued to think about the question, "Would Jesus be impressed with my faith?", and at some point it occurred to me that Jesus is not asking me to be like Macrina, Joyce Rupp, Henri Nouwen....Jesus is asking me to be "me".  "ME" with all my questions and all my struggles.  "ME" with all my joys and peculiarities.  Because when I am doing my best to be ME, that is when I am closest to Christ and THAT IS WHEN HE IS IMPRESSED.  Or, I think a better way of saying this would be, when I am being "ME" that is when Jesus smiles his biggest smile.

Still, thinking more about Macrina's thoughts on the Canaanite Woman, I do have a strong sense of hope that lives in my heart.  If I did not, then I would not have made it this far!  I've said many times that if I ever lose my sense of humor, then that is when those who love me need to worry.

For instance, you've seen these "Perfect 10 Bodies" on t-shirts?

Twelve years ago, after the horrific car accident, I had a halo screwed into my head.  It was attached to a brace that went around my chest. A most cumbersome piece of equipment!  Long story short, a loving cousin sent me a t-shirt with a purple bikini on the front and back.  Now, you can imagine, one can't get many things over these halos, but this t-shirt had a wide neck.  One March day, when I was going in to therapy as an out-patient, I had my daughter help me get this t-shirt on over the halo.  I put my winter coat on...and off we went to the Rehab Hospital of Indiana.  When I walked in I banged on a post to get attention and then in my loudest hummmmm I did my best to do a teasing dance as I removed my winter coat to expose my perfect 10 body.  

Hope that there is more to
the story than this moment...
Three months before, I would never have believed you if you had told me I would do something this nuts.  At the time I was scared and God seemed to have forgotten all about San.  But that March morning, the embers of hope had grown hotter and I was once again looking forward with energy...and hope.

The Canaanite Woman had a heart of hope and I realized this afternoon that same hope has saved me more than once in my life.  Something else Macrina says resonated as well.  
"...when I am so angry at God for not coming, yet so hungry for God's presence, some kind of miracle always happens in my life..." (Wiederkehr, p 46)
I read that this evening and I thought, "How did she know?" That has been my experience! I am my hungriest for God when I am my most angry with him.

Macrina ends this chapter with a wonderful and thought provoking poem:
O Most-Nourishing-One, if I asked you for bread,
would you hand me a stone?
I'd believe in the stone,
it it came from you!

Oh, God, where is the bread?
I've sat with open hands for hours.
Is my heart as open as my hands?
Or is this just an empty symbol,
devoid of meaning
devoid of reality?
Is my closed heart laughing at my open hands?

I hear the songs they sing in churches:
You satisfy the hungry with gift of finest wheat...
And I wonder, where is this gift of finest wheat?
Have I become the Canaanite woman to you, Lord?
Are you afraid to throw your bread to the dogs,
to the unworthy
the blind
the outsiders?
Well then, I'll put on her mind instead of yours.
I'll wear her faith instead of your arrogance.
Even the dogs get the crumbs, Lord.

God you cannot hide from me.
You cannot scare me with your face of absence.
I scare myself with this hunger for your presence.
I would break all rules to possess you.
To be nourished by you,
I would go to every table in the world.
I would leave no stone unturned to find you
lest when I turn it over
it be changed to bread.
I come looking for bread,
but if you're saving it for your children,
don't worry,
I'll gather up the crumbs if you insist.
I'll make a meal on leftovers
and rejoice that I have been so blessed.

O Most-Powerful-One
I feel so powerless
so little and so poor
so vulnerable
so terribly wide open
so seen.
It hurts to be so hungry
so dependent on your bits of grace.

Even the dogs get the crumbs, Lord
I'll gather up the crumbs
and live.

Lord, I thank you for all those times I have come to you with empty hands held high, you have picked me up and held me close. I thank you for the hope you have placed in my heart. I thank you for the words of scripture that help me recognize these stories in my own life.  AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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