Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Intention Is Everything
"The highest value is mercy; the worst sin is breaking hearts," said Maulana Zainulabedin Kazmi, a modern day Sufi saint. I know because I wrote it down in my Blythe notebook last night as I listened to him at the Chinese Cultural Center, an industrial building with office lighting and some rickety chairs in a cavernous room where Maulana sat on pillows, accompanied by a younger Sufi friend in training. How I got there, I do not know. I'm not one to go out at night very often, I don't like events that are cultural or threaten to run over two hours, or involve bringing bottles of olive oil to be blessed. But there I was, olive oil in hand, Virgin Mary holy water in the other with about fifteen other people waiting to hear whatever there was to hear, mainly that God is most loving, most gracious, the way to God involves love and sacrifice, to lose one's life is to gain it. And that intention is everything. I cannot say what my intention was that night, except that my intuition told me to go.
So much of my life involves thinking about what I have failed to do for others and for myself. Guilt and blame, the opposite ends of the same short stick. But I took heart watching all who had gathered in this inauspicious place to hear of God's love and to be healed. Of course, there were some jackasses behind me who had done this on a lark and spent a good portion of the time bursting out into giggles like some manic characters in a Flannery O'Connor story, about to get the grace of God to fall down on their wicked heads. But I'm pleased to say that this was a different story. By the end, they lined up like everyone else for Maulana to heal them, to tell him their woes and hope for the best. I had to forgive them as well because they were part of this world, a world with doors that said Authorized Personnel Only, a world with crappy tinkling music that nobody could turn off, a world where I sat on the floor and chanted, hoping for what I have no idea. But I left feeling lighter and more hopeful. Even as my friend and I discussed how we bemoaned all the wasted time in our lives, the ways that we wished we'd come to ourselves sooner, I thought about how glad I was that I had come to the point I am now of accepting something simple -- God is gracious and most loving. Even when we don't deserve it, and if we're honest, we never do.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you look into a mirror you do not see your reflection. Your reflection sees you." Sufi proverb
Drinking music suggestion: New York Girls Morningwood
Benedictions and Maledictions