Thursday, March 26, 2015

March of Faith


March a long time ago. Mom and me. Motherhood is eternal as is being someone's child.
Ahh, March, my birth month, the season of unpredictability and change. Is there no surprise that the Ides of March (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_of_March)  happened in March? The planet seems to turn fully towards rebirth and yet has such a difficult time releasing what has been. In the Northeastern part of the United States, the wind gathers, blusters, and roars. The skies alternate from the beautiful blue of deep winter to the laden grey of Spring. Snow, rain, cold, warm — there is no telling what the day or night will hold.

Caesar's downfall, the Ides of March. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brutus_Eid_Mar.jpg
This winter has been especially tough with no Spring thaw in February only deep, deep cold. My father who in his later years avidly contributed to the discussion on climate change, was at first against the idea. Not against the idea that it was occurring, as he saw it as a repeating pattern on this earth, but more that we might be the cause of this occurrence. However, always the scientist Dad studied it from all angles and he predicted that climate change would not mean warmth in the Northeast but could instead mean a sudden deep freeze. All worth watching as March seems to lend itself to soothsaying and naysaying…as it did for Caesar.

From the Museum of Science in Boston looking out this month. Boston experienced a record breaking snow season this year.
Likewise this March has been deeply troubling. There has been much unpredictability and change in my professional life—some wonderful, some worrying….what once was a clear directive, has new influences, and is now uncertain much like a weather vain in a storm, twisting and turning north south west east. In some ways I think perhaps I need to be as decisive as Mary Poppins who knew that certain winds were those to come in on and those to depart because her job was now complete.

And like her, I find in those I hold dearest the same change impacting their personal lives. As I write, too many of those who are precious to me are fighting for their lives, or for those they love. And too many of those who are elderly have taken the Ides of March as their departure and transcendence to whatever is next. This is a generation whose wisdom is greatly needed. All in all the extreme cold has taken its toll and March has been the definitive point.
One of my heroes: my mother's father and me.
Tonight where does that leave me? Perhaps what March truly is is a season of waiting, of waiting for what comes next, a time of reflection and preparation. The sap runs in the trees but the leaves are still just a memory and a promise to come. Like the trees, it seems to be a month to go deep and internal: a great time to read, to sort, to contemplate, to play games. For me I've been playing Animal Crossing and doing puzzles. Puzzles as in cardboard with richly detailed imagery that confounds and points the way. Simply, finding missing pieces and patterns is a great metaphor and a tonic to troubling realities. Putting that same thoughtfulness, practiced around a table at night into my daily life can be reassuring—there is a final picture that with patience will be revealed. And then today, in my email the following words of wisdom arrived.
Trust Is Essential 
What part does risk taking play on the road to mastery? Risk taking is essential on that road. The aliveness of aliveness is trust. The religious word is faith, but that means courageous trust, trust in life, cosmic courage. But that courage implies taking risks. To live is to take risks. It’s absolutely central.
—Br. David Steindl-Rast,  Mastery—Interviews With Thirty Remarkable People by Joan Evelyn Ames
March is the month of risk. It separates us from what we had grown comfortable with, it is unpredictable and unstable. It teaches us that risk is always present. And to face risk requires courage to travel the path and faith to know that warmth and joy lie ahead. In effect March assures we develop the strengths to survive and if we choose wisely our path, to thrive. And a key to that path may be to look to the stories of those who preceded us.