Sacred Rites

Whenever two or three are gathered. . .

There are times when I feel the need to invoke the sacred, to call and respond, offering and receiving, connecting with a higher power.

For me, the one of the most important and most difficult things is learning to let go and trust in a power, a process, a force outside myself.

Inside of myself, I tend to assume that the future will look like my past, assume that the worst possibilities I can imagine will come to pass.

Rationally, I know that this isn’t true, that other forces are in play, that balance will happen, that surprises occur, that my worst fears are not the template for what is going to happen, but like so many other humans, wrapping my heart around that belief is very hard.

It is trusting those other forces that is so hard for me.   Other people bring kindness, curiosity, wisdom, grace and delight to the table, powerful energy that is beyond reactionary fear, and in that humanity, I need to trust.   As much as I know that the worst is never as bad as you expect it to be and the best always is in the unexpected, knowing that and trusting that are different things.

Maybe this is why we were told to gather; as individuals we can be myopic and lost in our own dread, but together, we see the light in each other, the compassion we share coming out as we reach out and care for each other.

Somehow it is always easier to see the best in others than it is to see and feel the good and magical inside of us.   We know where we hurt, where we are broken, but they see where we are amazing and beautiful.

The mirroring that occurs when we come together and affirm the power that moves through and connects all of us is transformative.  We see ourselves and our choices in a new light, not just through our eyes but in the context of others who acknowledge the best in us, the best in every individual, the best in continuous common humanity.

Humans have figured out many ways to gain context in their lives, from elaborate rituals which connect us to our ancestors to simply sharing meals together.  They all give us perspective, letting us feel supported and connected in the face of what can seem like a cruel and cold world.

It is when we are seen, understood and valued for our unique contributions to the group that we are mirrored, given permission to feel our own feelings and own our own knowledge.

When we feel like large parts of us have to stay hidden, are seen as problems rather than gifts, that mirroring isn’t really effective.  No matter how much people love our potato salad, if they resist affirming the heart that made it, we still feel cold, isolated, still are left expecting another hit.

I need the kind of sacred ritual which helps me get out of my past, out of my fears and instead helps me feel the possibility that my emergence can be valued and celebrated rather than dismissed with disgust.

Is the space in the holiest to celebrate the cuteness and beauty of even a decrepit, aged transperson with a big solid frame?   Maybe, but I certainly have found it very, very difficult to find.

It is hard to call in the transcendent by yourself, as mired as we are in our own shit.   That’s why we were told to come together to see beyond our own fears and into the possibilities that love can produce in the world.

I know that divine surprises exist for me in the world, gifts of being seen, being affirmed, being valued, being treated with maturity, dignity and compassion.

I know it, but I need to believe it, believe it so my own history, imagination and fear don’t suck me down into staying small and hiding in the darkness.

A sacred rite where people come together to cleanse each other, helping us lift our eyes to new possibilities and affirming that being open to the divine and surprising gifts which exist for each of us, turning the scared into the sacred, would be nice.

And by nice, I mean lifesaving.

One thought on “Sacred Rites”

  1. Et continuo exclamans pater pueri, cum lacrimis aiebat: Credo, Domine; adjuva incredulitatem meam.

    And straightway the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!”

    (Mark ix, 23[24])

    Many wonderful posts recently, C. I read them with gratitude.

    “Other people bring kindness, curiosity, wisdom, grace and delight to the table…and in that humanity I need to trust.”

    Yes! So beautiful.

    I think no one will ever completely get it. And even if they did, there are limits to how much we are able to share with each other as human beings. Something of life’s eternal loveliness will remain incommunicable by the paper boats we scrawl our missives on, sending them to sail the deep blue seas of mystery, madness and meaning which lie between us and all around us.

    But there is kindness, curiosity, wisdom, grace, delight among people… even though this be not enough to satisfy decisively the deepest longing of our heart. But that yearning is for God alone, and only by and by will we begin to understand what this the truest vocation to love really means.

    Meanwhile the One who is the Resurrection and the Life has written himself indelibly into the inscapes of our lives, so that we cannot escape him.

    ‘”I know that the worst is never as bad as you expect it to be and the best always is in the unexpected”

    Yes! “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

    It is not trusting God that is difficult, I think. It is relinquishing our misappropriated “knowledge of good and evil,” with its crabbed expectations of future misery, so that the light which ariseth from our faith can raise a lamp over the dusty path we walk, as pilgrims in this land of beauty turned land of exile.

    (“Do whatever he tells you,” says the Blessed Mother. If we will but pour the water as wine…)

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