Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Helped?

People often ask me,
What helped you get well?

For the breast cancer it was radiation.
But they usually know that.
It's the depression most people ask about.

It's not an easy question to answer.
I worked so hard to get well -- but it took more than two years.
There were the usuals:
A good counselor, meds, vitamins, healthy food,
plenty of sleep, yoga, meditation, spiritual reflection,
caring family, humor, good books, chic-flicks ...
And time. Lots of time. Much more time than I wanted it to take.

But I'm convinced that the most important thing
for my healing has been friends.

For years my focus had been on our family and the people
in congregations I served as a United Methodist pastor.

I loved everything that I was doing, even thrived on it.
But there was little time left for personal friendships.
And over time this took its toll.

But when I went on medical leave all I had was time.
Time and more time. Time to rest, time to sleep,
time to practice yoga, time to walk, time to bike,
time to meditate, time to journal, time to play the piano,
time to read, time to watch movies, time to do crosswords,
time to visit family ... and time to seek new friendships.

I'm convinced that it's the friendships that turned things around.

Centuries ago Dorotheus of Gaza taught that
our spiritual lives are much like the spokes of a wheel.
The closer we move toward the holy, the center of our being,
the closer we move to one another.
Likewise, the closer we move toward one another,
the closer we move to the holy.

Then there's the corollary.
When we intentionally move away from one another,
and also When we fail to move closer to one another,
we find ourselves moving away from the center, the holy.

Without taking time for myself and deep personal friendships
it was like I was skipping around and around the spokes.
Eventually I found myself spiritually drying up
in a very different way from the natural ebb and flow
of desert times and bountiful times.

It's truly not enough to focus just on our spiritual lives.
The pairing with meaningful relationships provides a rhythm,
a continuity, a balance to our journeys.

Thanks everyone.
You're parading through my mind as I write.

Wow! It's true, I just realized!
Enough friends, enough meaningful friendships,
for an entire parade!


steiner3206 said...

I enjoy Whimsical Soul journey...Thanks for posting

Sonya said...

Momma...I love the imagery, here! This metaphor...the spokes of the wheel...has been one that I've reflected on over the years. It's been one that has challenged, deepened, and enriched my faith. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

In faith and love,


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