Wednesday, March 11, 2009


“When the True Self breaks through, a new and impassioned approach to life often makes itself known. We tap into an inner radiance that I call delight. I’m speaking of a unique kind of response to life that can coexist with our most painful realities. I’m speaking of the joy of saying yes to life in the core of our being.

“I believe that the capacity to delight in life is deeply carved by our waiting. ‘When I planted my pain in the field of patience,’ wrote Kahil Gibran, ‘it bore fruit of happiness.’

“Delight comes from our scars. One of my favorite stories is a variation of an old tale that circulated through New England in the 19th century. An insect egg was deposited into an apple tree on a farm in Connecticut. One day the tree was struck by lightening and fell to the ground. The farmer took the apple wood and made it into a table, which sat in the kitchen for many years. One day he heard a strange sound, like gnawing, coming from the wood. It kept up for weeks, until finally a beautiful winged bug emerged through a scar in the table, opened its wings, and flew about the kitchen in a little dance of joy, delighting (it seemed) in the long-awaited experience of being alive.

“Delight comes that way -- wounds, waiting, and finally wings. It gnaws out through the scar. . . .

“Delight can become a way of life, a way of journeying. There’s a saying, ‘Religion is not to be believed, but danced.’ (The Spiritual Life by John H. Westerhoff and John D. Eusden) I like this idea, for it shifts the emphasis from our endless pursuit of religious knowledge back to the dimension of living our religion in such a way that it becomes a dance, a celebration in which we open our arms and say yes to life.

“At times I’ve interrupted my spiritual journey by lingering in a corner of the dance floor watching other dancers or by studying the movements of the dance in a book. The point of the spiritual life is that you dance the music God pipes in you.”

from When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd

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