listening (for the murmur of Love)

The expression ‘listening for the heartbeat of God’ describes the desire to look for the presence of the sacred in the midst of life- its persons, places, experiences, moments- to listen for the pulse of Love within it all, if you will. On occasion, that heartbeat resounds with a booming and resonant cadence. When standing at the thresholds of life- births and deaths, marriages and sudden loses -you hear it virtually echo through those openings. Experiences of profound Beauty will open that doorway too. The separation between the chambers of sacred and mundane grows thin in times such as these, and the earth virtually teems with mystery and wonder

Lately it feels as if I’m standing in such a thin place. There seems to be a lot in my life (and my self) that is dying, being left behind in that previous chamber I so dearly inhabited (I can say that now that the departure is real) But this transition seems to be taking such a very long time, no all-at-once delineation of before and after is this, but a gradual wearing away of old bindings and opening up to spaciousness.. It makes me wonder if this thinness is just an aspect of life at this stage of being human, for the sounds that i hear, though sonorous, are subtler. No profound Mystical experience at this passing through, but a more pervasive low level presence of Beauty.

I’ve recently learned that I have a heart murmur. There is something quite tender in this image for me. I ponder what it means to listen for the murmur of God. Murmur: ‘to say something in a low, subtle, or indistinct voice’, ‘to make a low continuous sound, like the wind murmuring through the trees’. A quiet sound. It invites me to ask two questions.

Is this what the murmuring of Godde sounds like? ( Oh, there is something so terribly precious in pondering that)


What is murmuring of my heart and what does it ask me to hear?

Today was a full hearted kind of mundane day. There was a bit of the ordinary – morning coffee by the fireplace. There was a bit of grief – an everyday kind of loss, of which I seem to be more keenly aware these days, the kind that makes me notice the fleet nature of life, inviting me to embrace it as treasure and hold it lightly all at once. There was a moment of shame – the inappropriate variety that is more about feeling exposed and vulnerable and open to rejection than it is about having done anything worthy of scorn. There was a bit of tenderness – a conversation with a son in which i glimpsed his humble wisdom and nobility. There was a bit of sorrow at the brokenness of relationship. There was a moment of disorientation – feeling utterly and foolishly lost, a wanting to give up. There was a precious, healing reconnection with Love, one i thought i had forever lost, rediscovered in a few moments sitting in the rain with an old soul friend. There was unexpected, bringing-one-back-down-to-earth, news that some things are never going to heal There was the beauty of an Irish melody that quieted my spirit. There was the feeling of utter inadequacy and misfittedness. There was an awareness of grace unfolding.

A few weeks ago, during a quiet morning meditation, I brought these many feelings of mine, which can sometimes seem impossible to reconcile, into the presence of Love. She offered me a wide and shallow bowl, reminding me that my heart is big enough to hold it all. Within that bowl, the stuff of life is cradled, but the bowl is not overwhelmed.

I am that bowl.

When the heart has a murmur, the flow of blood can pass freely from chamber to chamber as the valves begin to wear down. It is that way with the murmurings of the sacred within life, perhaps, too. There are seldom such distinct boundaries as birth, marriage, or death. In the quotidian mysteries of life, losses and new life flow one into the other across those thresholds, often unnoticed, backing up and passing through in fits and starts and regurgitations. The border between the sacred and the mundane dissipate into a soft, low, continuous murmur that one needs not heart-stopping experiences to hear.

And love murmurs as it flows through those open doors.

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