fragile

Posted on November 19, 2008

3


“The blizzard of the world

has crossed the threshold

and it has overturned

the order of the soul.”

~ Leonard Cohen

How often do we touch the soul of another person?

How often do we allow our soul to emerge from behind our façade?

Why do we spend so much of our time in hiding . . .

. . . from others

. . . from ourselves?

Why do we spend so much energy convincing others that we . . .

. . . are tough

. . . are happy

. . . are fine?

Why is it so difficult to look within; examining the state of the soul?

Why is it so uncomfortable to sit in silence . . .

. . . with others

. . . with ourselves?

Why do we fill our lives with . . .

. . . noise
. . . lights
. . . busyness?

Why are we so afraid to touch . . . to open our arms . . . to others?

Parker Palmer, in his book “A Hidden Wholeness, the journey toward an undivided life”, refers to the soul as the core of one’s being, that part of me that is authentic . . . the real “me”.

The “me” behind the façade.

The “me” behind the wall.

The “me” behind the mask.

The “me” I protect from being hurt.

The “me” I so rarely reveal.

The “me” I so rarely let out.

Parker Palmer refers to the soul as a sort of “wild thing” that dwells in the forest of our lives. It hides well, being such a shy creature. This is survival. It has learned so well that if it reveals itself, it becomes vulnerable. Down deep, in our soul, we are all so fragile. Research on nurturing and touch shows that infants can waste away and die, if touch is withheld from them for long periods of time.

We come into this world dependent, vulnerable, fragile . . . in need of touch.

We leave this world dependent, vulnerable, and fragile . . . in need of touch.

We spend our lives in between convincing ourselves that we are tough and invulnerable.

But if the most important thing in life is love, and the heart of love is connecting with others heart to heart, then why do we spend most of our lives running from love . . . hiding from others . . . hiding our souls?

Seeking the truth, seeking love, requires that I live authentically . . .

. . . honoring my soul

. . . honoring the souls of others.

Honoring my own soul means that I become present with my self, that I focus attention on the reality of who I am, that I take time to understand myself, that I get to know the “me” behind the façade.

Honoring the soul of another requires that I be fully present, giving full attention to that person in each and every interaction. Seeing the soul behind the façade, hearing the heart behind the words, listening to the message behind the action.

Honoring the soul of another requires that I wake up and pay attention to what I am communicating to them through my actions and words. It means being careful of their soul; allowing it to emerge unscathed.

“When people encounter one another, they walk away changed; either for the better or for the worse. They are never left unchanged.” Enoch Olsen (spiritual leader and teacher)

If we love one another, if we open our hearts and minds to people, we will find that a person is not a problem to be fixed, but a mystery to be embraced and honored.

Fragile

Song lyrics by Grand Rapids’ own Ralston Bowles (click here to hear it sung by another local great, Drew Nelson)

We are fragile everyone, we all long for something more
Things are said and things are done
And the pieces hit the floor – we are so fragile

For whatever you may think of me
Any thoughts you might allow
I am not who I would like to be, I’m just who I am right now
And if I caused you any pain
If the words I spoke weren’t kind
I confess, repent and take the blame

Let’s just leave it all behind
We are fragile everyone, we all long for something more
Things are said and things are done
And the pieces hit the floor – we are so fragile

Whatever I did to make it hard on you
More than it ever was for me
It was never my intention to convey indignity
Humble words are not enough I know
But sometimes they’re all that come
And in this empty field of quid pro quo
The last one standing wins no crown

For whatever you may think of me
Any thoughts you may allow
I am not where I would like to be
It’s just where I am right now – that is fragile

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