Rob Bell told a story recently about talking with a friend who's a renowned mediation teacher. He asked her, "What's the thing that, if everyone understood, would really change them? Would make your work not necessary anymore?" She said, "You are enough."
You are enough. That's chalkboard-wall worthy. I've kept my chalkboard blank for awhile because I've been on a purging kick, taking down all the quotes I plastered around the house during the depressed winter months, hauling loads of things to Goodwill, getting rid of books that don't speak to me anymore. The empty wall reminded me to be patient, to wait, to treat emptiness as a presence, to trust that, in my favorite Denise Levertov lines, "Emptiness/is a cup, and holds/the ocean."
Last week, I heard two sermons on the Gospel story of Mary pouring perfume on Jesus' feet and wiping them with her hair. In the story, Jesus is sitting around before dinner with the people that know him best, and it seems like they are actually relaxing. I imagine a few folks napping (or starting to), that there are some inside jokes circulating. Jesus knows his days are numbered--he's been loving outcasts too much, doing too much healing, pushing against empire. He knows you can only do so much of that before it's over. (Like Ghandi, MLK, anyone whose vision of grace and love defies money and power.) But in this moment, the calm before the storm, everyone's taking a breath.
Then Mary does this. And, if I let myself hear it for the first time, it takes my breath away. As intimacy always should. When we know, in our deepest, most bedrock place, that we're enough, we give lavishly. We give and receive love, even if the moment is all wrong.
Dinner can Wait
Tonight, right when dinner is hot,
I'm at his feet, rubbing them
with precious perfume,
drying them with my hair.
This isn't how people do things.
The energy is supposed to go toward
trying not to care.
But I want the goods,
the high-dive into intimacy,
spending everything on connection.
My brother! I am yours,
and you are mine!
The meal is growing cold,
I'll never get my money back.
These friends look away,
the dog sniffs the puddle of scent
on the floor.
My hair is wet, I fumble
with the bottle and cap.
Then you see me, you touch me.
That recognizing love
is everything I came for.