A red wagon

As the Holy One says, “Offer me an opening no bigger than the eye of a needle, and I will widen it into openings through which wagons and carriages can pass.” Song of Songs 5:3

The morning is quiet and a heavy pall of clouds hangs over us although the day is forecasted to clear. We are, so says our favorite weatherman, to have several days of sunshine. A welcome change from all our rain. But at the moment, it’s quiet, no sirens, no birdsong, just a stillness as if the day is working to birth itself.

I feel the same stillness in me, am loath to begin the many tasks that I have ahead of me. Want to simply sit in this corner of my world and be in a place of waiting as the day waits. And so, I picked up a book from the top of a stack of books I have here at my side and read. This particular book is God is a Verb by Rabbi David A. Cooper. 

I picked it up because I want to NOT feel irritated today. There’s no reason for that feeling, I just felt a stubbornness in my body, a reluctance to address any other part of my life. And the section I opened to and read is titled “The Messianic Ideal.”

Isaac Luria, an influential Kabbalist who lived in the sixteenth century, taught that “the messiah comes through the continuous preparation of humans who constantly raise holy sparks until the world ultimately attains a higher consciousness.” I guess that’s what I’m reaching for today – a higher consciousness in the way I react to the day – and the continual clouds even after sunshine is predicted.

Rabbi Cooper then suggests to “imagine what would happen if the messiah were to come into the room.” And my body took a deep breath. Ah, now there’s a thought. How would the presence of loving kindness affect my body and my mind?

In these days, maybe in many days and times, we seem to be reaching for a future instead of being in the present. Waiting for peace rather than being in peace. What are we waiting for?

One of the many gifts of writing each morning, whether journaling or blogging, is that I’m brought back into the present moment. Words appear and with the words, a new understanding. And the reminder that I don’t have to wait, I can simply be. To be: the ontological present. Rather than shutting myself off to what is now by expecting a future, I can give myself the present of presence, and by opening myself just this bit, just this sliver the size of a needle, I’m able to laugh at myself – well, not out loud, but I am grinning. And if I’ve not yet gained the space for a carriage, perhaps a little red wagon would fit.

I’d like to have a wise and useful meditation for you this morning, but all I can give is the image of the eye of a needle. Find yours. See what comes through. Maybe only one hair – then two. And who knows, before the morning is over, you might even find your own red wagon – or maybe a tricycle.

12 thoughts on “A red wagon

  1. Sometimes, I hear a passage that I am positive I’ve read many many times before and think “this is new.” I thought that as I read the quote from “Song of Songs.” By the time I ended your blog, it seemed new all over again.

    Thanks for bringing this quote back to me and making it new for me.

  2. Your needle opened a poem for me. Thank you for that needle. And I remembered a psychiatrist friend who said that if she and a client could find one good memory of the client’s, then my friend could help the client build a new universe upon that memory. Thanks again for the eye of a needle.

  3. Oh, I can only truly do this–just let the day be during these few weeks between semesters. Your post brought William Carlos Williams “Red Wheelbarrow” poem to mind. 🙂

    1. Terri, I loved your comment. As soon as that little red wagon drifted through my needle eye, I thought of WCW’s poem too. But I used it anyway. Gotta love the things that slip through by surprise.

      Hope you have some downtime that’s healing. J.

  4. I’ve been doing this too, intentionally leaving the day open to discovery, waiting, waiting, til I have something–anything–to write. This morning during my period of stillness, I opened a long-hidden folder and discovered the draft of a poem that I thought I’d lost. What a pleasure to spend the rest of the morning “setting” it. Setting as in getting ready to lay eggs. I’m pasting it here with my fingers crossed that the typographical layout (of a house) will survive electronic translation…Forgive me if it’s all jumbled.

    I’ll build
    my house
    of words
    convert its
    substance and its
    shape from stucco to
    syllables vigas to verbs
    and plaster to prepositions
    embed space to catch
    the fast breath or begin
    anew to sustain a meandering phrase
    It builds and reflects a meaning.
    and creates its own sense.
    that’s the one to live in will-
    ingly and free. It yet may be.

    It’s so good to know my quiet time joins me with others. Thanks for the post, Janet.

    1. Basia, I like this very much. No, the format didn’t survive translation into dots and pixels but the thoughts and memories did. How nice to have you with me; me with you; on these morning meanderings. Thanks for posting it.

  5. Hi Janet! Your post is a great reminder! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I tend to live for those future moments and not so much in the present… thanks for the nudge to stay right here in the now.
    Hope you are well.
    Fondly, Cathy (in Austin)

  6. Oh how wonderful it is when we find that our most personally annoying thoughts are afflicting another dear one. And even better-that loved one has an answer!
    My own lingering “irritability” has manifested itself into a mild case of poison ivy. Something I have never experienced in my 58 years.
    My Critical Parent Self admonishes, “See? This is just a sign from God of how prickly you’ve been to others!”
    And my Overly Educated Self says, “Well, you are getting older, dearie. Things change, ya know.”
    And then I remember what my paternal Grandma Wells would’ve said, “Like peach pits, this too shall pass.”
    Wha?!?!?! you tell a small child this is like pooping a peach pit?!? Where is the comfort in that??
    But then I read how to calm all these voices I’ve carried so long by simply imagining how I would feel if the Messiah walked into my room right now.
    hmmm..not so sure I am at the “Ahhh” stage yet. Must be time to stop reading and start listening.
    Thank you for being real, Janet.

    1. Valerie, thank you so much for telling your story, too! What a gift we give to each other to know we’re not along in the grinching time…
      I must say, I had to laugh right out loud at Grandma Wells, “Like peach pits, this too shall pass” You kind of wonder just what it is we’re passing on to our kids too. Thanks for the laugh. Janet

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