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Responsibility and Bliss

Today’s post is by Savannah Kate Coffey

Years ago, when my son was an infant, the nights often felt endless. One night it was just the two of us in the house and on that particular night I traipsed repeatedly between the rocker in the nursery and my empty bed. I distinctly remember the conflict within me. I was exhausted and yet wanted to be responsive to this new life entrusted to my care. Somehow in the alchemy of weariness and creativity, bleary-eyed at that early hour, my feelings found meaning and form, and I wrote a poem, originally titled, “One mother’s prayer at 3:43 am.” As dawn began to break, I felt renewed warmth in my heart for all that was asked of me. It was the Divine Lover’s voice underneath my son’s cries, longing for my tenderness. Here is that poem:

Winsome One,

You, whose very desire is the crucible of creation,

You, who speaks the invitation so alluring,

Let there be-

You, vulnerable and open, enticing yet restrained,

awaiting a response.

I can almost see the gleam in your eye.

 

We all say, Yes.

Trembling and ablaze,

rising to life.

 

We are more than friends, you and I.

More than companions,

more than master and humble servant, grateful for your generosity.

We are divine conspirators,

breathing together new life.

You, the beginning and end of all my longing.

 

This night, as I rise again and again to the cries of my son,

may I know the satisfaction of this liturgy,

The call and response of your hungry love.

 

May the sun find me with a weary smile upon my face,

drenched in the dew of your desire.

Now, almost seven years later, I realize how often I respond to the people and tasks of my life begrudgingly, as if life itself is an unwelcome imposition on my interior world. I long to bring my contemplation and action into renewed union. I need so keenly to give of my deepest myself, to birth the inner love into form and expression.

Charles de Foucauld, the French Catholic priest and martyr, lived in the desert of Algeria among the nomadic Tuareg people. In 1916 he was assassinated outside the fort he built for their protection. Before his death, he penned this prayer, “Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you…and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence….” (Italics mine)

There can be no greater bliss than to bring delight to the Beloved’s heart. Oh, the joy of receiving and responding in love. In the topsy-turvy beauty of the spiritual life maybe we are given many responsibilities, not as tests of our endurance, but as the natural outcome of God’s yearning within. Maybe there is, woven into our spirits, a divine urgency to give of our deepest selves generously and often. May I be given grace to see each task as an opportunity to surrender into love, boundlessly confident that beneath the immediacy of needs clamoring for my attention there are the gleaming eyes of One who longs for my touch and awaits my response.

This post is edited from the original, written in 2014.

September 09, 2018 by Kate Coffey
Categories: Contemplative Living, Parenthood, Prayer, and Self Compassion. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

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