January with Jane- 18- I Sat in the Sun

I moved my chair into sun
I sat in the sun
the way hunger is moved when called fasting.

A few brief lines today. What do these lines mean to you?

Is she speaking of the way we might take, say, the sorrow of a terrible loss, that painful ache in the gut that whispers, ‘feed me’, and for today reply, ‘I’m fasting today’. What would such a fast look like? Does it look like my friend who steps outside of her grief each day to walk in the crispness of winter, to breathe in the cold beauty of the earth in this season, to set her eyes upon the golden sun sparkling upon the frozen lake at twilight (or bathe in the layers of gray upon gray, sky blanketing lake).

What does it mean then to not ‘feed our sorrow’. I don’t think it means that we starve it, ignore that aching need. No, not that. For just as we fast from our physical hunger in order to pay attention more closely to our spiritual one, we must return to the needs of the body, bring spirit and flesh into wholeness again. Perhaps a better question is ‘How do we nourish our sorrow’, not deny it at all, but attend to it lovingly so that we can heal. And even that is not to say at all that sorrow is something that needs to be healed, at least in the way that one often speaks of healing as if there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed or removed, as if sorrow is wrong. No, not that. Redeemed perhaps is a better word. To redeem our sorrows might look like recognizing and reclaiming Love in , with, and for us, might look like including sorrow as a piece of the terrible Beauty in this place….

… so in that way, the walk outdoors into the crispness of a winter landscape, or moving our chair into the sun, is paradoxically nourishing our sorrow’s deeper hunger for wholeness. We fast from that other human tendency to feed the negative, the cynical, the hopeless despair.

Or is Jane speaking of ignoring other human hungers, perhaps. Those that are merely empty hungers, which we feed as if starving and cannot ever get enough. Oh, we have lots of those… hunger for money, for things, for security, for esteem. To set those aside to sit in that sun, under the vastness of that endless sky, receiving the warmth of belonging to something grander than our small hungering-for-more selves can see while closed up in the rooms of our lives, is perhaps what she is saying .

But what of our hunger for Love, as real a human need as is food. Can we possibly fast from that hunger? Perhaps, again, it is that moving of our chair into the Sun. Looking for love in all the wrong places, desperate, we feed like a ravenous dog on its substitutes, not able to feel the fullness surrounding us. And yet, we do need substance, the earth-flesh of a meal to sustain, I suspect, and in the end, for most of us, knowing oneself as Beloved by a deeper Reality when the reality of the earth around us seems to tell us otherwise can feel empty too.

And yet, and yet… there is no other Love, and each intermittent meal we partake of it here is but a morsel of the manna, which is everpresent, in and with which we commune moment by moment by moment, the meal a mere reminder for our tender, fragile, human bodies. Eat this bread.

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