Breaking through Reality

I’ve had an interesting two days.  Yesterday, while popping a turkey into the oven for the kids’ Thanksgiving celebration at school, I managed to pop something in my lower back.  I could barely stand up, and since then have been in pretty constant pain.  I move like a 90-year old!   Eric has been great, covering for me on many fronts (including going to the lunch yesterday… doing all the dishes… cleaning the bathroom… changing diapers, etc).  

Thirty minutes after this happened, Eric drove me to his chiropractor’s.  It was my first time.  While no miracles happened, it did seem to loosen up my neck, which had also been quite tight.  And then I went back again this morning.

I was the only patient this morning – Annie went with me to help open up doors for me.  As he did his adjustments, we talked about literature.  And then he asked if he could read a poem to me.  I was rather surprised, but knew from Eric’s weekly visits that they have frequently talked about the Bible and God’s work in our lives.  Eric had ordered and given him a children’s Bible because he wanted one that was understandable for his children.

He started reading a poem by a 13th century mystic whom I had never heard of.  I was somewhat anxious to get back home, but as he started reading it was like God broke through my thick skin and aching back to touch my heart in a new way. Here is just a brief excerpt of this very sensual love poem to God:

Jerusalem, by Meister Eckhart (trans. by Daniel Ladisnky)

What a womb God has — what wild love He must have made to HImself for days and days without stopping

to have given birth to all you can imagine, and to all you cannot conceive.  

Draw a circle around the frontiers of space, barely can God fit a toe there. 

All language has taken an oath to fail to describe Him;

any attempt to do so is the height of arrogance and will always declare some kind of war…

Eckhart was a 14th century German theologian and mystic whose writings were held in suspicion by the Pope such that he was sentenced to death (he died before the sentence was upheld).  Pope John Paul II sought to restore his writings to full orthodoxy, but many non-Christian mystics have embraced his writings and found parallels with Buddhism.  

Having researched this a bit since coming home, it does not detract from the sense of peace and affirmation that came over me as my new chiropractor read me this poem.  It was so good to step aside from my small problems and realize again that I can never embrace the grandeur of God.  This doctor, most likely not a believer, interrupted my self-filled morning with Reality – the reality of a God must bigger than me and any problem, or joy, in my life.

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