Monday night I was in a conundrum. Tuesday mornings I set aside time to write my blog post, and I didn’t know what I would write about. I knew what I didn’t want to write about. I didn’t want to tell you that I’d fallen off the wagon. After two blog posts of talking the talk of saying no to my addiction to food, I hadn’t walked the walk.
I lay in bed and thought about it; I knew what I had to do. There was only one thing to do. Get back on the wagon. Embrace the discomfort of not saying yes, yes, yes to what satisfies for the moment.
Meanwhile, a song came back to me that was in my body since I danced it on Sunday night. It was based on a Rumi poem.
How long can I beg and bargain for things of this world?
How long can I beg and bargain for things of this world
while Love, Love is waiting?
I crash the door and enter the chamber of Love.
Sunday night twenty-five of us were in a circle holding hands. We rock stepped to the first two lines going to the right. When we sang “while Love, Love is waiting,” we put our curled hands to our chests and beat gently taking four steps toward the centre and four steps back. For the last line, we put out our left hand and smacked and slid off it with our right, sending that hand up into the air as we twirled around once. Then we held hands and sang the song again.
We sang and danced the song over and over. Even after the dances were done, my body carried it and brought Rumi’s words back to me whenever it could. While walking, driving or lying down to sleep, my mind was singing, How long can I beg and bargain for the things of this world . . .
I loved the song. I loved how it lingered with me, and I gave little thought to what it might mean for me personally. I didn’t wonder what I’ve been begging and bargaining for. I didn’t envision crashing any doors–that is, until Monday night. Then I knew: saying no crashed the door to Love.
The rest fell into place. I constantly beg and bargain with God. Please let me eat what I want and not gain weight. My four steps in toward Love and four steps back is a dance I’ve done for fifty years.
Saying no to the food I want isn’t a small thing to me. I don’t get to say no once. I have to say it over and over because temptation is relentless. Saying no is choosing to suffer. It is taking up my cross and following Jesus because that is where Jesus is. In Ignatian terms, it is the Third Degree of Humility. Sacrificing what I want for the sake of another is the highest expression of love–whether it’s seemingly small or doing something big like Oscar Romero or Mother Teresa did.
A month ago, I talked about this with my spiritual director, and she asked me, “What’s it like when you meet Jesus in your suffering?”
I sat for a while and held her question. “When I’m with Jesus, it doesn’t feel like suffering anymore. It feels like love.”
Rumi would say, “Uh-huh. You’ve entered the chamber of love or as you Christians call it: the kingdom of God.”
When I’m restless and can’t sleep, as I was on Monday night, I usually think that if I get up and eat something I’ll be able to sleep. But I didn’t do it. Instead, I crashed the door with my no.
I felt giddy and empowered. I can, at any time, enter God’s chamber and did. I’ve been there a few times now. It’s a bit like finding the door to Narnia, like beginning a new adventure.
Knock, and the door will be opened for you. –Luke 11:9
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I met Jan Hill at the Kyle Writer’s Group about ten years ago. She and I had a few things in common–writing, our listening vocations, and our Christian faith. For years, Jan had told me about the dance camps she and her husband, Sandy, attend and invited me to join them for the Dances of Universal Peace (DUP) that Sandy leads in North Vancouver once a month. After Christmas, Fred and I ran into Sandy outside Costco. He invited us over for a curry dinner that he and Jan were hosting with friends from DUP. That night, after dinner and conversation, the rug was rolled up, a guitar and djembe drum came out, and we sang and danced a few songs from different cultures around the world. One of those was the Rumi song. Once I had danced those songs, I knew I had to do it again. I’m so grateful for Sandy and Jan’s love mischief for the world and for me.