Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore, Never tired pilgrim’s limbs affected slumber more, Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast: O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest! Ever blooming are the joys of heaven’s high Paradise, Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes: Glory there the sun outshines; whose beams the Blessed only see: O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to Thee! ~ Thomas Campion
When I boarded the plane last year to Mumbai on a medical excursion I would have described myself in a spiritual flatline.
- My energy for life was low
- My interest in my work was negligible
- My outlook on the future was gloomy
This wasn’t the first time I had felt this way. Looking back, I realized that the experience of being spiritually flatlined had always been a portent of change.
- Before I started college I flatlined
- After college I flatlined
- Before I met Marsha I flatlined
- Before I sobered up I flatlined
When I’m in a time of a spiritual flatline I view life as from a dark, expansive hole.
When I left for India I felt I had little offer. My flight would cover a distance of over 8,000 miles in 21 hours, and I decided to catch up on my reading. I had bookmarked an article by David Brooks titled The Spiritual Recession. He described the faith in democracy that historically had characterized America, a faith that he claims is now being lost. “The faith bound diverse Americans, reducing polarization… Without the vibrant faith, there is no spiritual counterweight to rampant materialism…Without the faith, leaders grow small; they have no sacred purpose to align themselves with.”
I wondered, had I too lost faith? I recognized that my “faith tank” had become empty. I had turned my spiritual receptors inward and was focusing exclusively on myself. I resolved when I walked off the plane that I would open myself to the possibility that the spirit of Mother India could begin to refill my empty spiritual tank.
After my dental work in Mumbai had been completed, I had a few days before my final check-up. I visited friends in Pune and while there I found my way into a school for girls. The school was founded by my friend Mary D’Souza to serve so-called “left behind girls,” girls who would not be educated or married because their families could afford neither schooling nor marriage dowry.
Mary was determined that these girls would receive a first class education, and in fact most of her students matriculate on to colleges and universities. The energy in the classroom was palpable as I watched the girls engage in the learning process, quite literally inventing their own futures. Hope and promise and faith were alive here.
In my tradition it is said that Jesus did not go to the Temple to restore his faith but to
- The arid desert
- The stormy sea
- The broken masses
- The wooden cross
My three weeks of consciously experiencing India restored me and my faith tank had begun to refill, rekindled by the fire I witnessed in the eyes of my friend Mary, and of the girls who were reclaiming their destiny.
Just A Thought…
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