"All the things
that used to matter,
they don't mean so much today;
Toss the seeds and watch them scatter.
The birds and wind take them away,
till there is nothing in my way.
I can't see past this horizon,
I can't say what's waiting there.
I never sang 'cause I knew something,
I sang because it was a prayer.
The finest one that I could bear..."
Carrie Newcomer's new song, "On the Brink of Everything," inspired by Parker J. Palmer's book of the same title, had me at hello. Partly because it is Carrie, but also because it is so enigmatic and paradoxical.
The first time I listened to it, I was sure she was referring to being on the brink of self-discovery. Then I looked at the subtitle for Palmer's book, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old, and I wondered if it wasn't a reference to on the brink of "passing." Finally, I gave up trying to figure it out. In truth, it just didn't matter. I only had to listen to it from where my own heart was. And for me, it was about being on the brink of a new horizon.
So I stepped back, and surveyed my own heart. I'd been climbing hard for a number of months. Bushwhacking through a jungle of self. Scrambling through a scree field of ego -- the ground constantly shifting as I uncovered yet one more instance of self-preservation -- my awkward stumble through all the I/me/mine-thinking. But I was above tree-line now. I could see the summit. I was on the brink.
But of what?
Absolutely nothing new.
Metaphorically, the "air" I was breathing was made up of the same elements -- oxygen, hydrogen [or spiritually, Life, Truth, and Love.] The Source of my thinking was unchanged. I was the reflection of the one Infinite Mind. All that this Mind included - intelligence, inspiration, insight - was still just as present and probe-able to me. I was not going to find more of anything -- anywhere.
All the Love that I had ever known was still with me. Love was never more present, more powerful, more attentive, or embracing in one moment or place, than another. The spiritual climb I had been on, had not made Love more accessible or intense. The view of the summit seemed closer. But in fact, if I could see it, it was really a false summit. Was I ever going to reach a place where I could rest from my desire to know more of the infinite nature of God's love.
So, what was I on the brink of? Perhaps this. Just this. An inscrutable knowing: that every footstep taken, puts us on the brink of the next footstep. There is no "arriving." We are already there.
We live at the standpoint of our oneness with divine Love. Every moment is another opportunity to look -- not above us, or ahead of us -- but next to us. To see, hear, feel, taste, and know that:
"the Lord is with me,
blessed am I...”
I remember the first time I fell in love. I didn't care where we went. I didn't care if we did anything. I didn't care when we got "there," -- or, even if we returned. I only cared that my hand was in his. I only cared that it was his voice I heard, his presence I was in. Wherever we were, whatever we were facing -- it was all good, because we were together.
Each step we took, we were on the brink of everything. We were on the verge of a moment where we would see something, and it would be new because we would be seeing it together -- through the lens of "us."
For me, this is this moment.
This very moment. For all of us. We are not on the brink of new careers, new relationships, new adventures -- big events and grand accomplishments. We are on the brink of one more step with our hand in the hand of the One we love. The One who loves us more than all the world. Because in our relationship with Him, there are no others. We are "all the world" to Him -- and He to us.
Just as a mother completely loves each of her children. So God completely loves each of us. We are not loved by God, in the context of "others." To our divine Father-Mother, there are no others. When I am with one of my daughters, I am not thinking of her, in the context of her sisters. I am absolutely and completely with her. I am delighting in her. I am focused on her. And it is the same with her sisters. As Hymn 237 promises, we are:
"one with Him, forever near...”
No comparisons. No competition. No rushing ahead to get out in front of the crowd. No scrambling through scree fields to be the first to plant our flag. Just step-by-step, hand-in-hand with the One we love. And the One who loves us. Our eyes, not on "the summit," but on the face of our Beloved. Together with Him, on the brink of everything -- one step at a time -- a whole new world of living love together.
And if we really love Him, we will love what he loves. We will look at ourselves with great affection. We will spend time with His children - seeking to discover about them, what He knows and loves. Not rushing on to the next false summit. We will linger in the moment -- listening to them, in the same the way that we listen to Him.
offered with Love,