Spirit House   Leave a comment

It started out as what has often been a usual Sunday morning for me.  I slept in until 9:30, got up, fed the cat (the one who eats the “gooshy” food), made the coffee, and sat down at my computer.  I was feeling pretty groggy.  A sudden headache came over me late yesterday afternoon, and during the course of the evening, I took three Extra Strength Tylenols and four ibuprofen tablets, all with only minimal relief of the discomfort.  I did sleep well, but I was getting off to a slow start this morning.  Any other Sunday morning, I might have just sat here in my jammies, drank some more coffee, and played around on Facebook for an hour or two.

I sat here in my jammies for awhile and finished most of my mug of coffee.  It was 10:20 a.m.  I was restless.  I didn’t want to sit here in my jammies, frittering away time on Facebook.  All week long, I had planned on going to church this morning.  The topic of the service was the soul.  The announcement about today’s service on Facebook earlier in the week said, “‘The Soul Sits Down’ is the focus for Rev. Victoria Safford’s sermon 1.9.11. ‘Soul’ is a spiritual concept understood differently person to person in UU circles such as WBUUC. Anticipate insights. Music by the adult choir at both 9 and 11.” Now, the concept of “soul” is something that holds a great deal of interest to me.  I think about that a lot and ponder the implications.  I wanted to hear what this intelligent and dynamic woman would say about the invisible entity known to some people as “the soul.”

How fast could I pull myself together and out the door?  It turns out that I can do that pretty fast if and when the spirit moves me.  I decided to light a fire under my butt, brushed my teeth, wetted down my bangs, and put on some clothes. I grabbed my purse, threw on my coat, and slipped into a pair of shoes.  It was 10:35.  I made it to the church in Mahtomedi on the dot of 11:00, moments before the start of the service.  I had done it!  I got up and got out the door, even though I had started out moving a little slow and not feeling very together.

It was worth it.  Of course, Reverend Safford’s sermon was inspirational, thought-provoking and motivational — not to mention enjoyable!  They always are!  I am anxious for this one to be published on the website because I want to hear this one again and share it with others who were not there.  (I’m not ashamed to admit it; I hang on her every word!  I could do a lot worse.)

I also experienced a deep delight in this poem by Billy Collins, U. S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003,  that was read it its entirety earlier in the service:

The Night House

Every day the body works in the fields of the world

Mending a stone wall

Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass-

The grass of civics, the grass of money-

And every night the body curls around itself

And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises

From the body in the middle of the night,

Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom

With its thick, pictureless walls

To sit by herself at the kitchen table

And heat some milk in a pan.


And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe

And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,

And opens a book on engineering.

Even the conscience awakens

And roams from room to room in the dark,

Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof

In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,

Singing a song about the wildness of the sea

Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.

Then, they all will return to the sleeping body

The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,

Talking to each other or themselves

Even through the heat of the long afternoons.

Which is why the body-the house of voices-

Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen

To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called

Before bending again to its labor.

I can just envision this, all these unseen parts of a human being, getting up in the night to roam the house, visit the roof, take their leave of the body and its duties and ponder the world, unencumbered by daily tasks and rituals.  I know intuitively that those parts of the human being exist.  I can’t see them.  I have no proof that they truly exist.  But yet I know that they do and that it’s the vital part that defines me and connects me to the web of life, to all living things through all time.  It’s the part of me who knows who I am called to be, who knows my name even though that name is unknown in the physical world.

I’m glad I pushed myself a little and got out that door.  That is a part of me that I haven’t seen in a long, long time.



Posted January 9, 2011 by StPaulieGrrl in spirituality

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