Faith and Chaos

Chaos ....and BeautyMore insom­nia mus­ings.…

Today is my son’s birth­day and as I men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous post, a year ago today, I vis­it­ed Father Michael at St Pius. Father Michael talked about 1981, the year of my son’s birth,as being the begin­ning of his own Domini­can life. He was so serene talk­ing about that ear­li­er time of his life.What a dif­fer­ence from his cur­rent suf­fer­ing!

As it hap­pened, this vis­it was the first since Father Michael had got­ten so angry with me. I was still quite shak­en and ill at ease. Father Michael was calm and talked about Lent and my bring­ing ‘the boys’ pacz­ki the next Tues­day. He told me he felt so use­ful as he was doing cler­i­cal work for the Province at their office across the street.Yet, he com­pared his pro­duc­tiv­i­ty to oth­ers and felt he didn’t mea­sure up. He talked and talked,it was almost like a phone call, but he could bare­ly make eye con­tact with me. And when he did, Father would quick­ly look away. All was not nor­mal, but it sure was civ­il.

Before leaving,I decid­ed to address the ele­phant in the room. I told Father M    “I’ve had a cou­ple of real­ly bad weeks in the time since we talked.” Father Michael sat across from me, we were knee to knee-he nod­ded and pursed his mouth.  He kept his head down and eyes avert­ed. I told him I’d found a poem that had helped me and I’d like to read it to him. He nod­ded, still look­ing down. Here is the poem I read:

Bless­ing in the Chaos


Jan Richard­son

To all that is chaot­ic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calm­ing
of the clam­or­ing,
a still­ing
of the voic­es that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with whole­ness
or feel the grace
that fash­ioned you.

Let what dis­tracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come an end
to what dimin­ish­es
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an open­ing
into the qui­et
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what shim­mers
with­in the storm.

Father Michael liked the poem very much, but he didn’t want to accept the copy I’d brought, which was odd of him. Father told me he knew after hear­ing me read the poem and see­ing how I was with him, that I would be “all right”.  Per­haps he expect­ed some kind of ‘col­lapse’?? If so, that sad­dens me , as it shows how much he did NOT know about me.

But I sure did have the chaos, still have it some­what. I’m always look­ing for the bless­ing in it- that was so much eas­i­er to do with Father Michael in this world. But I have my faith, too.

Iron­i­cal­ly, as we said good­bye that day, still not able to meet my eyes, Father Michael told me “I have had SO MUCH CHAOS  in my own life, so much, so much. I do under­stand”.


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