Friday, on my way to The Spiritual Direction Institute class, I made my weekly call to my grandmother. During our call she struggled to hear me. She normally needs to take out her hearing aids because the buzz when she's on the phone. She really enjoys hearing about our kids and stories of our daily lives. I really enjoy her witty sense of humor as I usually arrive to my next destination with all my eye makeup cried away from intense laughter. On this week's call she was asking to repeat the stories and was answering with generic responses. By the end of our call, she started crying and said that she was struggling to hear me. She said that there is only one specific spot on the receiver that has to be in a certain spot on her ear and her hand was shaking too much to hold it there. We were both sad and scared because our ability to communicate is such a lifeline of joy for both of us.
As soon as we hung up I called my mom and asked her to help me get a phone with headset for her.
I went into class. To my surprise, our teacher's selected topic centered on how to provide spiritual direction to the elderly that are losing certain capacities and maybe left feeling disconnected from God. As a practice, we were sent off alone to reminisce about times when we were in tune and in deep connection with Sacred Mystery. I began thinking of the times I felt held in a calm state of love and connection in the darkest part of my life, in the scariest of family tragedies, and in the most joyful times. I was thinking of the times where my darkest days of depression left nothing but a sense of 'other' being with me, when there was a complete breakdown of our family's symbolic center of predictable support, and the most joyful times like when the love for each of our children brought me to an overwhelming sense of love and wonder. Then I realized that those times were jolting enough to bring me into the present moment. I suddenly acknowledged that every single time I have come to the present moment, there was Presence. Whether it was brought on by an extreme situation or a spiritual practice like meditation, contemplative photography, or centering prayer, there was a sense of presence in the present moment every single time. The Presence is always there. We are the ones that come and go.
After this exploration we came back together to reflect on our reminiscing prayer. As we brought our conversation back to supporting elderly directees, I was struck with the thought that just like with the Presence that is always there, I could remind my grandmother that we are connected and always 'with' each other. We need not talk to or hear each other to be completely connected. I could call her and she could pick up the phone and without speaking or hearing a word, we could hold that space and presence to be aware of our deepest love, support, and appreciation for each other. This is offered to each of us in every moment we pick up the call.
Grace in, peace out,