She said, “a spring.” I said, ”yes, perhaps that’s it.” We were trying to think of a metaphor, a symbol, for what we could imagine emerging in the elder’s group. There is a sense of something stirring, a latency that is finding a slow, steady kind of expression, or life, through our interactions, just being together. We were guessing about what it is, trying to find a way to relate to it, like it was some kind of alien child that we were discovering in our midst. The truth is that we, the elder’s group, are sailing into uncharted waters.
So far we have not gone very deep with each other. Perhaps we won’t. The unknown hangs over us, like an enveloping shroud. We know we have a chance. Will we go there ourselves? Will lightening strike someone with such a force of necessity, that it sparks all, like kindling, into a bond fire of connection, mutual regard, a quivering mass of humans? Or, maybe we will just walk away, knowing another fearful opportunity we missed, or let go of. The tension is growing, as excitement about the possibility, and as anxiety about the risk.
Can we as elders go further? That remains to be seen. The possibility is, in part, why we meet. I know I attend because I want to feel less isolated, I want to be supported, to share my unimaginable losses, to celebrate the part of me, the part of each one, that endures, that finds the humor, creativity, and spirit as things are going, be they ripped away, or given up. I am a social being, I find meaning and good companions make the way more bearable, available, and lively. All of this I know. What I don’t know, and what compels me to show up in the elder’s circle, is the presence of some wisdom, some unknown knowing that comes from Spirit, as grace, from the depths, from souls touching.
This has provoked in me an inchoate longing, for community, depth, surprise, and continuous wonder. I feel its presence. I also know that I have been called here because this is a place where the awesomeness that binds us to each other, to life, to this place we call Earth, is becoming palpable. Is this elder wisdom? I don’t think so. But, I think that the ability to perceive the signs is. Awesomeness doesn’t belong to us anyway. If anything, maybe our years, losses, shaved expectations, and familiarity with death, makes us riper, but the truth is that we belong to it. I am powerless in this circle, I can speak my heart, unveil my on-going vulnerability, surrender into silence, and I can’t make it happen.
I know, that to even have a chance, I need these others. I’ve learned that much. I alone, cannot host, or even call, this being into the moment. I don’t know, if even we can. I just know that we have a chance, and that alone seems like a precious miracle to me. I’ve been wracking my brain, my imagination, my memories, my savvy, for some idea about how to bring this, I don’t know what, to fruition. And all that I know says, “I don’t know.” That is the unsatisfying truth.
What waits seems so beguiling, so enlivening, so deadly with peace and deep relaxation, like a bath, drowning perhaps, in a warm and embracing sea. I am alive with longing for it, and deeply ashamed because I know my own expectations render it less likely. That is why the spring seemed like such a good metaphor to me. Fresh water from the mysterious depths — — that sounds like the gurgling I hear, and sense, amongst us.
I know I don’t make a spring happen. If I am lucky, and I am Lucky, then I notice, and I do my best to remember where, and how I found it. This has happened enough in my life that I know it can, I even know the signs, but I also know it doesn’t happen because I want it to. The mystery in the depths is inscrutable. There are times when I can appreciate that. I know I tend toward suspecting all human-made ideas, interventions, technologies, ways. We humans seem to constantly miss the big picture, and create things we rapidly turn into their opposites. But, I’m just human enough to feel exasperated, humble, foolish and vainglorious about the fact that I have no control.
So I’m sitting here thinking about how I want something fresh to spring into my life; something that I cannot control, that I have to be willing to lay all of myself out for, that requires me to be with others as they do the same, something that may still not come to pass. I want this possibility, and I don’t want it. I’m tired. Maybe tired enough to be an elder. I don’t know if my heart can stand another disappointment. On the other hand, I don’t know if my heart can stand holding back, not trying, not being exposed and naked.
What waits, I trust. I don’t know why. I have good reason to look elsewhere, and yet here I am. I don’t think it is because of me, there is nothing special in my being, except maybe, this foolish longing, that hopes for the miracle to come, like a spring, or some other manifestation of deeply mysterious origins.