Sunday, September 5, 2010

2. zeal, ardor. See love.


This is my friend soothing her very alpha, very small dog Cooper who would have loved to go attack the much larger dog in the background.

de·vo·tion
   
1. profound dedication; consecration.
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of one's wealth and time to scientific advancement.
4. Often, devotions. Ecclesiastical. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use.

—Synonyms
2. zeal, ardor. See love.


Everybody has his/her own way of worship. Some people are scholars; they read every book they can find, they are learned, they can quote chapter and verse, they know their stuff inside and out. There are those who serve as a form of worship. Mother Teresa was a famous example. I think also of my beloved Walt Whitman. Those who show their love of the divine (or whatever they believe in) through service are the people who work in soup kitchens, shelters and such. Or they visit the sick and wounded. Or they work to preserve the environment, they worship through their love of this beautiful planet.


I love the Chesapeake Bay.

Some of us are devotees. We worship through love, ardor. We are passionate, yes we are. I think of Rumi as an excellent example of a devotee who went off the deep end occasionally but always figured out ways to write the most gorgeous poetry about the inevitable craziness of devotion. We express our faith through the arts, sometimes beautifully, sometimes kind of tragically.

Of course it isn't so clear cut as all that. Most reverent folks are a mixture of all three forms, though one way of worship tends to rise above the rest. What's true is that every form of worship is risky. Too much divine energy all at once fries us, no matter how we access it. Moderation in all things, even the path of the spirit!

I'm thinking about my tendency towards devotion this morning since the High Holy Days are just around the corner. I love the inner work of this holiday, the call to reflect on what has happened during the last year, to make amends if necessary, to get clear with God on all that has come to pass since last fall. On Yom Kippur, we finish the work of reflection. The book of life is closed and then it's onwards & upwards to the new year. What a great holiday.

This has been a big year of transformation and revelation for me, oh yeah. Wow. What a year. I have a lot to think about, pray about.

It's a beautiful fall day in Washington DC. I'll be working all day, but with the windows open, accompanied by fresh air and the coarse songs of the bluejays and crows.

L'chaim y'all. Life is good and I am grateful.


What a way to live! This is the comfortable upholstery on my friend's back deck. Looks like heaven, doesn't it? It is!

11 comments:

ellen abbott said...

I love the concept of this holiday...to think back, to make amends for any wrongdoing, make your apologies, pay your debts, to clean your slate every year and start fresh. I also like that if you make a sincere apology three times and the person you wronged still refuses to accept it, wants to hold onto the grudge, then you are absolved in the eyes of god.

A lot of change for me too this year.

Happy New Year Reya.

janis said...

Love this post, I especially love Cooper, I love his big dog syndrome and his obvious fearlessness that you captured in this photo of his Mom trying to reason with him.

Amanda said...

talk about a great place to appreciate one's devotion to nature -- that deck is a slice of heaven

Janelle said...

poignant post reya, darlin'...and what a BEAUTIFUL back porch...would love to lounge out there and chew cud...x j

Tom said...

glad you can bring a little nature into work with you.

Meri said...

Yes, the deck looks like perfection. Also loved the back sides.

Liza said...

that deck is glorious!

"Life is good and I am grateful."
Ditto Reya.

Lynne said...

Your friend's back deck looks so glorious. Reality check here: in NJ those beautiful cushions would be zealously sprouting mildew if left outside in the elements!

:)

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't think they leave their cushions at the mercy of the elements. Also they have a huge fan that blows away the mosquitoes. So it is indeed DIVINE!!

Karen Wallace said...

Wonderful post. Warmly, Karen

C.M. Jackson said...

reya--september has always been the time I begin anew--happy new year to you! c