Advent: clear-eyed gaze of the Stranger

Posted by on 12.07.10 | 19 Comments
Filed Under compassion, look yet again, unexpected grace

Originally posted on December 21, 2007  as The Ridiculous Hospitality of Advent. The main change I made was to change ‘starry-eyed’ to ‘clear-eyed’ in the sentence below.  That reflects a growing emphasis on clarity of vision and purpose in my own life. Hope you enjoy this rewarmed leftover, like the best part of Thanksgiving: the turkey sandwich…

Advent is a time of  clear-eyed wonder at the magnificence of the human’s ability to reach beyond, to open to hope.

 


When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.

These words by Arab-American poet Naomi Shihib Nye have echoed in my heart since I read them on Spiritual Zest.  Naomi Shihib Nye’s poetry often reminds me of 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic  Rumi  in their mutual absolute call to breaking down the barriers to love.

   
Got me to wondering some what if’s.
 

What if… the real message of the Messiah is: that living inhospitably, disconnected from the earth and her plants and animals, seasons and of course from each other–will never bring us joy?

What if… the Stranger that walks with us and around us in the Grocery Outlet and pumps our gasoline at the ARCO is here to teach us that the importance we place on ‘us’ versus ‘other’ is outdated and worse, dooming us to live in inhospitable abject poverty of spirit?

What if… the once and future Messiah’s message about reconciliation and redemption is this: only in close and vibrant and sometimes difficult connection can we find the ‘raw edges’ in ourselves that are ripe for transforming our individual and cultural depression and anxiety into joy and peace?

What if…we walked carefully from Solstice where the physical darkness and light are changing balance to Advent where we acknowledge that the hospitable Light is born anew–not outside of us, but in us and through us?

What if…the only Stranger we meet during this season of the changing of the light, is the impoverished One inside of us that wants to isolate and protect itself and what it thinks it owns or knows?  And that in this meeting, we recognize our selves and the Stranger no longer has that Name? 

What if…we invited that sweet, shy, convoluted Stranger that resides in each of us to tea today and laughed and joked and gently prodded him/her into admitting that it would much prefer to be outside of  the virtual prison walls of isolation and fear, ‘mixing it up’?

3 days of caring for the Stranger in this way…
…”feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.”

By the end of 3 days of this kind of ridiculously hospitable behavior we, like Rumi, will be dancing in the streets as Advent dawns. No bother that our hearts know that our new Friend will cyclically be shut out and will become the Stranger again.

Let’s dance here, in this hospitable moment.

Advent is the time of  clear-eyed wonder at the magnificence of the human’s ability to reach beyond, to open to hope.

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Beth, VTH Host

Posted as submission to the Advent Synchroblog.  Here are the group’s  submissions:

timeline

19 Comments

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