Friday, January 23, 2009

By the Grace of the Moon

When you want something with all your heart, mind, body and soul the way you're supposed to want God as the bible says, you can become like a teenager who would die to satisfy such a cruel craving. You become crazy; you could be sent to an lunatic asylum as they used to be called you're so obsessed.

Grief will do it, or a fear beyond fear, or addiction, or just plain desire. Feeling like this breaks all the best rules of spirituality. You know the ones about detachment, Ignatian indifference, mindfulness, inner peace, serenity and other good ideas.

I remember years ago when I wanted to be ordained a priest. Chiefly, I wanted to be able to celebrate the Eucharist. It seemed to me to be the right body language enactment for the intimacy with Godde (a Christian feminist spelling that softens and leaves deity open-ended and welcoming) I'd known as a small child and still enjoy. I encountered roadblock after roadblock some of them within myself, some in the Church. I tried to act calm but felt quite lunatic inside. My prayers were like battering rams. I was possessed without an exorcist.

I started worshiping the moon—not as a god, not because I thought there was a magic man in there, not even for its beauty. I loved the moon because it shape-shifted every single day without losing its identity or purpose. Who could do that? Well maybe, just maybe everything changes like the moon. I didn't stop my prayers or my heart's desire. I just sent it to the moon and watched.
Slowly the Church and I shape-shifted and grew up together through our midlife crises, not the first or last for the Church but my last for sure.

Years later after I was ordained I heard another moon story about a child of eight whose mother had died. One evening, heart broken with grief inconsolable, the child sat on the back step staring at the moon. Her father came and sat beside her, his heart bursting to help her. He brought his wife's compact with him to show his daughter. He flipped it open so his little girl could see her face. Then he angled the small mirror slightly until it exactly caught the full moon in reflection. The girl stared. Her father then closed the compact on the moon and handed it to his daughter. It's yours, he said.

"My father gave me the moon," she told me.

So I thought had mine.