Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Images of Spiritual Empowerment: A Walk in the Park

When we moved from our neighborhood in Gloucester I knew I would miss the children, their squealy squawky voices at play or at war in the driveway sand pile across the street. Or the older children with the same voices playing street hockey or hide and seek in the bushes below our window.

I worried that in the city we would be too adultified.


No need to worry. We live in N. Cambridge near many parks where children and elders and middlers walk, run, play, rest, sit under trees and read, nurse babies on a bench and occasionally pass by and entertain briefly with one-sided invective on cell phones.


(Have you noticed the versatility of the F word? It can be a noun, verb, adjective or adverb. It can also be used to punctuate—period, comma the occasional semicolon to pause and emphasize the non-dangling participle gerundish F...ing rest of the run-on sentence.)


This morning I took a walk in our park, Danehy Park. I walked on a stained glass sidewalk, which is better than bleeding my head on a stained glass ceiling trying to establish gender justice in the Church.

On this sidewalk bits of colored glass are embedded into the pavement shining up at me as I walked. The path circles an athletic field with a track for running in a more intense way than my amble.

This sidewalk I thought is perfect image! For a woman like me and many others who have and still are getting stitches in their head from bumping up against invisible ceilings.


This stained glass sidewalk lifted me up, supported me. It didn’t resist my steps but gave me solid undergirding. To walk this path you need sneakers or wheels not stilts or wings. This is an image than ceilings designed to exclude the powerless and protect the powerful.


I walked on the stained glass path with hope for a just future as it extended out before me glittering, inviting, beckoning. It's an image of grounded power an image of outstretch not stopcold.


As I strode along I saw a little girl maybe four on a mini big wheel. She was happiness in the flesh, in the lead followed by her father. She pedaled with verve and squealed with joy as she took her little vehicle racing down the hill and into the water geysers for a bath. I suddenly got the spirituality of transport, the transcendent joy of pedaling, riding horseback, driving, piloting, traveling a track or just plain flying along in your Nikes.


I remembered my own children’s Big Wheel glory days. I understood the early fascination and awe a car of one’s own evokes in most young ones. My ten year old granddaughter has already picked hers out.


It’s like the power of the Holy: a tremendous, irresistible force—a power fraught with both danger and mystery. A power that enhances your own power and also lifts you beyond yourself to greater heights. Not for the faint of heart.


Finally, I settled by the majestic Willow trees, giants that suck water from deep earthen wells, draw it up into the heights and them weep it out returning it to the earth from whence it came.
Take and give back

Another power image. This image is of a power that is shared, taken and given over and over for mutual nourishment. It represents the power of loving connection, the power of relationship.


When I returned home to kneel before my home altar I thanked God for divinity:children, cars, trees, feet and stained glass sidewalks.