The sacrament of carpooling

This morning it is as they walk away from the car toward high school, my daughter and niece.  Their pony tails swaying side to side…the swoosh of their skirts…their heads leaning slightly into one another, that it strikes me…the incredible honor I have of driving them to school, of listening to their hopes and fears for the day, in between the morning chatter, of sharing something so simple and at the same time so profound.

Yestserday I began again a ritual that I have been participating in for over almost 20 years…the carpool.  Each school year presents itself with excitement and new challenges as I watch my kids grow and guide them along.  There are lots of responsibilities and tasks that accompany the school year but none that I have grown to love more than driving carpool.

Sure it can be super early and I need coffee to get the job done well but I have come to understand the true value and privilege of the time in the car with children/teens.  If you are lucky enough to be the only adult riding in the car with boys and girls you get to be a part of something pretty special.

There is intimacy in a car.  You are cocooned.  You and they are captive.  Anything can happen.  There have been great joys and great sorrows expressed in those precious moments.  Huge incites and simple smiles have been shared along with a prayer or two or three.

Its important to keep the radio low and ears open wide.  You might  hear a sigh or have to guard your ears against the cackle.  No matter which, know that these are sacramental moments.

This morning as they walk away I am humbled by this simple, sacred act, the giving over of ourselves to one another, our union, even if its just those few minutes on the car ride to school.

Inspiration from this week

Still loving Thomas Merton.  How incredible to be so united with God and at the same time filled with so much desire for greater union with God.  I often wonder what it would be like to sit down and have a conversation with me.  What if he were my spiritual director?  What would he say to me?

 

O God, we are one with You.
You have made us one with You.
You have taught us that if we are open to one another,
You dwell in us.
Help us to preserve this openness and
to fight for it with all our hearts.
Help us to realize that there can be no understanding
where there is mutual rejection.
O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly,
fully, completely, we accept You,
and we thank You, and we adore You,
and we love You with our whole being,
because our being is in Your being,
our spirit is rooted in Your spirit.
Fill us then with love, and let us be
bound together with love as we go our diverse ways,
united in this one spirit which
makes You present in the world,
and which makes You witness to
the ultimate reality that is love.
Love has overcome.
Love is victorious.

O God, we are one with You.
You have made us one with You.
You have taught us that if we are open to one another,
You dwell in us.
Help us to preserve this openness and
to fight for it with all our hearts.
Help us to realize that there can be no understanding
where there is mutual rejection.
O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly,
fully, completely, we accept You,
and we thank You, and we adore You,
and we love You with our whole being,
because our being is in Your being,
our spirit is rooted in Your spirit.
Fill us then with love, and let us be
bound together with love as we go our diverse ways,
united in this one spirit which
makes You present in the world,
and which makes You witness to
the ultimate reality that is love.
Love has overcome.
Love is victorious.
Amen.
— Thomas Merton in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings

 

Somewhere in Oregon on the drive back to San Francisco…Love is victorious!

Needing You

Lone Boat by Anne Packard

From the journals of Thomas Merton:

Teach me to go to this country beyond words and beyond names.

Teach me to pray on this side of the frontier, here where these woods are.

I need to be led by you.

I need my heart to be moved by you.

I need my soul to be made clean by your prayer.

I need my will to be made strong by you.

I need the world to be saved and changed by you.

I need you for all those who suffer,

who are in prison, in danger, in sorrow.

I need you for all the crazy people.

I need your healing hands to work always in my life.

I need you to make me, as your Son, a healer, a comforter, a saviour.

I need you to name the dead.

I need you to help the dying to cross their particular rivers.

I need you for myself whether I live or die.

I need to be your monk and your son.

It is necessary.

Amen.

I have been away.  Does that ever happen to you?  That you just go away.  At first its just some minutes and hours and then it turns into days and weeks.  You don’t even notice at first, you are, after all, used to wandering away for brief periods.  But soon enough your heart starts to call and you look around searching for the voice and realize that you are far, far away, lost in things that are not true and real.  You fill with panic and remorse and shame.  Thankfully it only takes awareness and a deep breath to come back because we are so loved and we were made for union with the divine.  I am so grateful for the reminder of how much I need.  I borrow Merton’s words and add a few of my own.

I need to stay with You.  I need to be Yours.  I need You to be my anchor so my wanderings are fewer and fewer.  I need You.