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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

Snowbound: Wanting Guidance


This year we began a new devotional, You Are the Beloved: Daily Meditations by Henri J. Nouwen. I bought the book for the title.  The title alone suffices.  Six days in and I’m missing Thomas Merton and Sogyal Rinpoche. Glimpse After Glimpse: Daily Reflections on Living and Dying and A Year With Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals have been constant companions for years. They reside on the bookshelf attached to my desk, in hands reach. Oh and yes, on the book shelf behind me, God Calling edited by A. J. Russell. And I almost forgot on my night stand, The Radiant Sutras: 112 Gateways to The Yoga of Wonder and Delight, translated by Lorin Roche, PHD.

I like daily guidance. Depend on it.  Today’s selections include:

It is important to realize our sameness as human beings. 

You must pray. The way will open.

It is turning into the most brilliant of winters. 

Trace the river of life that flows through you…

The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and pull it under the light of the blessing.

Perhaps you can match the text with the title?

My husband just this minute walked into the kitchen dressed in his black suit. He is ready to leave, two hours before the appointed funeral time. Another life to celebrate. Another grieving family. His calling, a service of Grace, this passage from one realm to another.  He embraces me, then the dog and softly closes the front door behind him.

The house quiet. No sound, other than an occasional car arriving next door in preparation: service then meal. Always the importance of breaking bread. I have decided not to attend today because I did not know the woman who died. And I have claimed this time. Sometimes I attend a service to hear how my husband weaves the sacredness of someones life with sacred text. He has a way of bringing relevance to a lived life through a chosen verse. Then the delivery. Both art forms.  Today I decided to keep the Sabbath out of necessity.

Wayne Muller in Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest proclaims, All life requires a rhythm of rest… In Sabbath time we remember to celebrate what is beautiful and sacred. 

Today I consecrate a major turn in my life. A sea change. An earthquake. A continental divide. A devotional shift from public to private. The day will not go unmarked, unnoticed. Dare I say celebrated? I am alone in my kitchen. In silence. For the last 18 years on this day at this time I stood in a sacred hall, in a place I took refuge, devoted to a task I loved. Beyond the task, the place provided sanctuary especially during the years my life was dismantled and recreated. This one place remained constant, this one community, true. It is that familiarity, that faithfulness that I so grieve today.

The daily devotionals stacked on the table. My morning tea, now cold. The snow not likely to melt. A poem waiting to be written. A few tribal friends checking in. The dog resting underfoot. And hopefully, the Divine mapping a way forward.

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