confession

 

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The Guest House, by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
As I went out for my afternoon walk with the word, Confession, as the gift to unwrap, I thought it a difficult task, but it turns out I was mistaken. For soon the paper was flying from that package as from a child’s birthday stacks.
Here, the evidence of the erosion that was set in motion with the first offense – a rotting limb, laid out on the earth, a woodpecker hole drilled into her flesh to get at the insects that had initially breached her defense. — one small incident spiraling through to the end of her life.
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There, a mangled lamppost, the shade laying shattered next to it on the ground, the limb directly overhead freshly cut away, clearly the culprit, admitting to culpability.DSCF0559
Frayed bark on the trunk of a large tree, revealing the ragged consequences of an unwitnessed violation
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An empty beer bottle, carelessly tossed, leaving the trace of desecration.
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A flagpole bent over, disclosing inherent weakness,  to drag the one that it bears through the dirt…. (this on the side of a cottage with the name ‘Lady Liberty’)DSCF0587)
A steel cable wrapped round an ancient tree, digging in to Her skin so that, despite her attempt to incorporate the wound, she eventually succumbed and was cut to the quick.
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A bulldozer removing layer by layer the immense pile of earth that has accumulated in the excavating attempt to shore up her foundation, while on the front side of the structure, her façade is draped in the concealment of white sheeting.

A line-up of windchimes, divulging unseen currents, singing a song of release.
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Each of these sang a verse in a song of Confession, silently intoning for all who would hear the lament of brokenness.
Then I came upon this plaque, on the doorstep of a home, and I knew at once, before even sifting through the photos back home, that this would be the one that struck the culminating chord. Immediately, Rumi’s poem wafted in to settle in harmony next to it.
Truth be told, it was the windchimes, which came just prior, that led so melodiously to it, for there was in them the melody of lightness that comes at last with confession.  When what has been heavy is given voice and humility sets us free, we are human at last. Returning from where we have exiled ourselves, our fears over the terrible ways we have broken (and have been broken) come back into the light to be seen, and we can walk again on the warmth of earth with ease.
I think that sometimes we stuff our houses with all the things that we want to hide. All of the ‘if only they knew’ darknesses, the grief-saturated regrets, the ‘how could I’ be so unlovable sorrows, get stuffed in so tightly that we are afraid to let someone in for fear they will see the mess. But, as Rumi suggests, the great surprise is that in the wide open welcome of our humanity, in the invitation to let all the parts of ourselves be seen and heard, shame loses its hold and its hiding place…. is cleared out, as he says. And in that clearing out, we are freed.
Happiness is in the welcoming and in the letting go.  Paradoxically, these two often are one and the same.

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