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”.