Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memoir Musings Part Five: Owlish Love

I have a little owl—gift from a good friend who knows the owl is my spirit animal or totem. My owl is one in my large collection and my favorite. In fact she has wormed her way into my marriage partner’s heart too so she sleeps between us. 
 She is square, not intellectually just anatomically. She is four by four by four, soft and furry, charcoal gray with a heart-shaped white face and white ruff; she has a small dark brown plastic beak, two large yellow eyes and two brown plastic owl feet, hardly fierce talons. I named my wee owl Little Miss Wise-A--. She gives me wisdom in the night, and if not she gives me love just by burrowing into the side of my neck as I fall asleep.

My owl represents Divine Wisdom, Sophia in Greek, wisdom that is both objective and subjective at the same time. That’s a difficult tension for me to hold together sometimes. I want to be warm and fuzzy like my furry ball of an owl. I want to immerse myself in Love —merge, fuse, forget boundaries. I also want to hit the nail on the head of insight as Miss Wise can with her sharp beak and the glare of her eyes.

I haven’t written about owls in my memoir, but I have no doubt that the blend of owlish love inspires my writing. I may write some dramatic scene, drown in my own pathos, lose myself in myself, and invite readers to feel along with me. It’s good for empathy. If I get out of balance, abandoning objectivity altogether, the beak brings me back.

After my sister had died, my father had died, I has been turned down once more by the church, and I was divorced and suddenly single, I laid my head down on my desk and figuratively buried myself in the owl’s furry breast of subjectivity. Suddenly I felt a tough peck somewhere in my gut, like a little beak. It put me back in balance saying, “No one can take this away from you."

It sounds harsh, but it was accurate, true. I didn’t feel scorned, simply set free, made whole, saved from feeling too sorry for myself.

This is how God aka Owl, Wisdom, Sophia, Spirit works within me, pulling me back in balance.

Some days I dare to think that we are writing together, so intimate have I dared to let myself feel with this inner divinity. But I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it?— the point of Love.

My writing style can be blunt like a beak. Sometimes my language can be crude, unbecoming according to expectations for a religious professional. It’s just pointed like a beak. I’m warm not cozy. No one would accuse me of being sweet and sunny-side-up, which is why I appreciate Miss Wise-A-- with her beak but also her night time softness, why I’m drawn to moonlight more than sunlight, and wilderness more than civilization.

In the wilderness of my middle years I found out that God is mother and milk, beak and fur, achievement and failure. Simply so. In the wilderness I began to love the inner grace of ordination as much as its outer sign in priesthood. In the wilderness I was ordained.

I was also ordained priest in the Episcopal church in 1988.