I find myself in a sort of a gray place today. Granted, it’s the Seattle area and the skies are often as they look today: filled with clouds, overcast, chilly. But it feels like more than that.
It’s Father’s Day. My daughters are with their dad – and, therefore, not with me. A new experience this year. Maybe that’s part of it.
In an effort to shift to a brighter or at least clearer space I spent some time reading the liturgy of the week. I came across this excerpt from The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware. It touched the gray and invited some grace-filled shafts of warmth and sun…
The actress Lillah McCarthy describes how she went in great misery to see George Bernard Shaw, just after she had been deserted by her husband.
I was shivering. Shaw sat very still. The fire brought me warmth…How long we st there I do not know, but presently I found myself walking with dragging steps with Shaw beside me…up and down Adelphi Terrace.
The weight upon me grew a little lighter and released the tears which would never come before…He let me cry. Presently I heard a voice in which all the gentleness and tenderness of the world was speaking. It said: “Look up, dear, look up to the heavens. There is more in life than this. There is much more.”
Whatever his faith in God or lack of it, Shaw points here to something that is fundamental to the spiritual way. He did not offer smooth words of consolation to Lillah McCarthy, or pretend that her pain would be easy to bear. What he did was far more perceptive. He told her to look out for a moment from herself, from her personal tragedy, and to see the world in its objectivity, to sense its wonder and variety, its “thusness.” And his advice applies to all of us.
However, oppressed by my own or others’ anguish, I am not to forget that there is more in the world than this, there is much more.
I bought more flowers for the front porch yesterday. When I got up today I spotted them as I picked up the Sunday paper. They made me smile. I bought a few more when I went to the grocery store this morning – wanting even more of their color, their warmth, their reminiscent glimpsing of Eden. They permeate the gray and offer me heaven in the hear and now. As will my daughters when they return from their time with their dad. As will my parents and my brother as they visit here this afternoon. As will even gray skies as I recognize their Creator.
How like God to speak through George Bernard Shaw to Lillah McCarthy. And to me – on Father’s Day. “Look up, dear, lookup to the heavens. There is more in life than this. There is much more.”
Indeed, and not just in the heavens, but all around.