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Thursday March 28 – A Pause
The Garrison Institute, photo by Mary Anne Best

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send? 
Who will go for us?"
"Here I am," I said,
"Send me!"
- Isaiah 6: 8
This week we pause and reflect; we breathe in and out: What have we heard? What has spoken to our heart? What do we wish to carry forward?
"Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell's confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

"Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

"Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

"Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

"Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

"Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!"
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 "And so the question: What is a human being? Or, more specifically 'Who are you?' begins to emerge into prominent light and each one of these realities requires our consent to open to the next possibility.  … God is trying to bring us to a new place - an extraordinary place - and it requires effort and yet it's the place where we were originally created according to the insight of the Book of Genesis; namely, we're made in the image and likeness of God." 
- Thomas Keating, "Human Evolution" video segment from session 12
To Practice
- A powerful way of embodying a truth is by affirmation. In this way, what is outward and external, perhaps interesting and worthy as an idea, becomes real and living, connected with the inner spirit and conveying meaning. What has touched your heart? After reflection, deep listening and pondering these offerings, you might choose a phrase as an affirmation and carry it forth with you into the coming weeks.
- As always, you're invited to share your reflections in your journal or your Journey Group.
- An archive of previous emails may be found here.
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