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abutterflyhandsSometime in the recent past I became aware that real distress and pure joy can exist in me at the same moment. Yesterday I knew it at an even deeper level, not just as a theory in my mind but a felt sense in my heart. While carrying the devastation and suffering of the people in Texas to work with me, I was also aware of a growing excitement for what would be the culmination of our very fertile conversations sparked by the book, No Ordinary Time. I wasn’t happy that the series was over but rather immensely thankful for the growing trust and willingness of group members to share themselves as they recounted their experiences of the book.

Thirteen of us sat in circle at the noon hour and seven in the evening. As we listened, pondered and then added our own wisdom to what had been offered, I felt a melding of the heaviness of the floods and the buoyancy overflowing in me simply because of the presence of such extraordinary women around me. We were talking about the chapter entitled Mysticism and Oneness. Agreeing with the definition that mysticism is an unmediated experience of God’s presence, we shared snippets of our lives that proved the truth of our own simple mystical experiences. Interspersed with moments of recognition among us were references to the tragedy of the hurricane and the horror of the divisiveness that characterizes our country right now. At several junctures we noted our responsibility to raise the level of positive energy in whatever way we can in order that balance might be achieved. And then we were silent for a time.

In the end we moved around the circle in turn, taking the hands and looking into the eyes of each of these sisters of ours saying fervently, I honor the holiness in you. A simple sentence, growing in us over three months, that was indeed an expression of the oneness we had come to feel. And as I took my turn hearing and saying those words to each and all with total honesty, I held the wonder of this “divine exchange” as well as the pain of the world in the solidarity of our hands and knew the hope of Julian of Norwich, that all shall be well.