07 March 2009

Checklist for Lent ~ Question One

What is my relationship with the most significant persons in your life? Truth to tell I'm not sure I can answer this question in my mind, let alone in a public blog entry. It seems daunting.

I'd begin by naming who they are. My wife Angela, my children Townsend and Caroline, Angela's child Karen, and my sister Tara. So that's good news! I can list significant people.

I'm reminded of the Buddha's 5 Remembrances, and of one in particular. 
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

The above is Buddha's 4th Remembrance. I like all five; they're spot on, all true. And I'm so forgetful of them all. But the fourth characterizes my relationship with my loved ones. No matter how I wish or try my relationship to each loved ones changes and we seem to separate. They're no longer "my" loved one. And I'm filled with heartbreaking when I feel this or sense it. Alas . . . such sadness. Am I prepared to carry my suffering; to accept it and work with it?

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us suffering can be transformed into peace, joy, and liberation. Transformation is a goal in Christianity too. Jesus, by his living example, reminds us suffering can be carried and transformed. It can be done individually and in community.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . . Galatians 5: 22-23a.

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