Brought to Our Knees

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Winter is upon us, and if it’s no longer clothed in brilliant whites and silvers, I still welcome its silence, stillness, and the gift of seeing the breaths of my life exhale and, in their expiration, cloud before me as I walk down the trail. Although, as it’s just a week since my knee surgery, I suspect the verb “walk” is imprecise; my gait is just shy of clownish and barely propels me forward. I call it “meditative walking;” that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m grateful I can locomote at all, and every day a bit further. I endured some rather painful days and nights before I could attempt moving without a walker, so it was a treat to stumble out to the bridge and wish the Canada Geese a Happy Solstice this morning.

I am reminded again, forever, that suffering is a deeply human experience and arrives with its losses and blessings for us to hold up to the light of scrutiny and prayer (whatever that means for us), derive and integrate what we will from it, and possibly accept and pursue the invitations to become more deeply human. This also suggests each of us is free to define exactly what becoming “more deeply human” might mean in our life.

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For me, it’s a journey of opening my being wider to the Great All; understanding and accepting the connections among every particle of creation and consistently paring away at that unique and ingrained hubris of my species that causes us homo sapiens to believe we’re somehow superior to, and separate from, all other lifeforms and bits of creation, while at the same time being utterly incapable of seeing how false that premise is. A glance around the planet just now would seem to be a grand invitation for us to evolve beyond that blindness, to truly see the suffering such small understanding of our purpose and potential has caused.

And that’s what suffering helps me to consider: the responsibility to evolve. Suffering makes us dependent, vulnerable, fragile, weak. Here is the path to holiness/wholeness. Pain brings us to our knees (figuratively; had I literally gone to my knees this week, I’d still be there). And on our knees, we are prone to seek, through our version of prayer, answers that have eluded us.

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And, oh, I have learned that there are life-changing quests best pursued on our knees. A great gift of kneeling is the closer proximity to the earth that it affords. Through our suffering, we are made humble (Middle English: from Old French, from Latin humilis ‘low, lowly’, from humus ‘ground’); we are re-grounded. Of course, it’s all a choice. Growth or its rejection are always choices. All we can do is try; try to convert our suffering to the wisdom of accepting our place in the Great All, with deep gratitude and humility. And then rise, to serve one another (all life) in our healing and wholeness. To participate fully and uniquely, as we have been sent, to co-create the community of existence in Love. Why would we think we’re here for anything less, given the miracle we’re here at all?

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So, joy to your seasons, whatever they offer as we spin through time and space. Great joy, deep hope, and a great deal of merry humility. I leave you with my old carol, Welcoming the Stranger; whatever your spiritual orientation, I hope it sings to your heart.

A Peaceful Solstice, a Merry Christmas, and, when we’re brought to our knees, may we all be blessed with others to help us rise and find our place in the company of loving particles.

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WELCOMING THE STRANGER

See the weary travelers,
lonely in the night.
In a town of strangers,
searching for a light,
praying for a kindness,
just an open door—
in a world of strangers,
there’s no welcome for the poor.

In a cave that evening,
meant to shelter sheep,
Love was born to heal us,
little lamb asleep.
In a world of darkness,
tossed and blown and wild,
in a world of strangers,
came the poor to greet the child.

No one is a stranger;
nothing’s here by chance.
All of life is welcome
in the sacred dance.

See the holy family,
sheltered from the storm.
In a world of strangers,
Love will keep them warm.
Whirling stars are singing,
angels greet this birth:
wrapped in rags and mystery,
lies the richest child on earth.

While the world lay sleeping,
everything had changed:
power, wealth, possession,
all was rearranged.
Have we learned the lesson?
Have we even heard?
How we treat the stranger
is our answer to the Word.

No one is a stranger;
nothing’s here by chance.
All of life is welcome
in the sacred dance.

Wealth is found in giving,
opening the door,
offering forgiveness,
sheltering the poor,
cradling creation,
saying yes to love,
welcoming the stranger,
while the angels sing above.

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A beautiful story for you: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/12/21/baltimore-rodgers-forge-christmas-lights/

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Outtake: Look! It’s Santa!

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6 thoughts on “Brought to Our Knees

  1. Delighted to hear you are on your feet and managing to walk. I hope you go from strength to strength.
    I loved everything about this post, your writing, the photos and those pups who have me smiling from ear to ear. Huge hugs and love to all.xxxxx

  2. Thank you for your kindness, dear friend; it’s a form of walking, slow and a bit stumbling, but improving! 🤪 I love your phrase, “strength to strength;” it’s perfect!

    I’m glad you got a kick out of the pups in their spiffy new harnesses! They were pretty proud of themselves. 😉

    Love to you and all your beloveds! Happy Solstice! Xoxo

  3. Hi Kitty, I’m glad to hear you are progressing, even if slowly. May you spend no time oh your knees for this reason! (otherwise is optional, of course.) Thanks for Welcoming the Stranger – it’s just lovely, and so true. (The link to the Post, BTW, requires membership, but I’ll see if I can get it some other way.)
    Love the dogs, especially the outtake. Merry Christmas and may this season bring you much happiness and peace.
    Warmly, Jeanne

    1. Thank you, Jeanne, for your kindness and good wishes! I’m glad the pups made you smile. They keep us young at heart. I’m hoping my healing will be steady and strong…sometimes, life slows us down and we can see with a new lens, I guess. Trying to see it for the rare gift it is! 💕

  4. Kitty, what a profound and beautiful essay. “meditative walking” – that’s what I will call my arthritic gait from now on 🙂 Yes, the body succeeds in humbling us and reminding us of what is truly important. And, is that your current tribe of doggies? Magnificent!!!! Wishing you much love and joy on your journey, and an easier walk. In love and friendship, LP.

    1. Thank you, so much, dear friend.. Yes, the current tribe of 4-leggeds keeps us hopping, as you may imagine. They are the dearest pack of darlings…sweet, funny, and full of pep. I miss my walks with them, but I’m learning I can’t rush the healing. Very blessed by my Phillip, who never indicates impatience with my slow going.

      I so value your visits and comments. Thank you again for your kindness and presence. Peace to your year’s end. Hope joy and light are scattered throughout your new year! XO

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