In this week’s video update, Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe reflects on God’s call to care for ourselves and our neighbors, inviting us to be “excessively gentle with ourselves.”
This is the last of the bishop’s weekly video updates for the summer; updates will return in the fall when she has returned from recovery for her scheduled shoulder surgery.
I want to read you a poem, a blessing, by John O’Donohue.
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,
The light and the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
and patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
What a profound poem and blessing in this time for each of us. I think we are all exhausted in some way or another. So much has happened over this last six months and now it is time to rest. I wonder if we know anyone who is not vexed in spirit. It is time for us to be the “people of ease” who feel they have all the time in the world. [Time] to allow our souls to take us back to the core of who God has created us, empowered us, and called us to be.
During the month of August, I will be taking some time for vacation and then I will be having shoulder surgery. I am grateful for your prayers. You are also in my prayers.
I pray that all of us will use this time to rest, renew, and recover. We are needed in this world to be the people of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness. So, in this month, I pray that you will be “excessively gentle with yourself.” Laugh, enjoy those you love, do something of value for yourself and for others, and have some fun.
Blessings to you dear friends. I’ll see you soon!
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York