Last week I received a lovely and inspiring e-mail from a new, long-distance friend, Jo Campe, a minister who recently retired from serving a liberal Protestant congregation in a metropolitan city and moved to upstate Minnesota. Several months ago, feeling hungry to receive additional spiritual food in the remote, rural area near the Canadian border where he and his wife now live, he began following the Celebration Circle online.
Jo wrote in response to the Circle video of my Summer Solstice talk, and as it happened, his email arrived just as I'd returned from a disturbing visitation session with a friend serving time in Bexar County jail. I was feeling very disheartened by the palpable feelings of sadness and despair that had permeated the air in the visitor waiting area once again. There's something deeply disturbing about being surrounded by such graphic demonstrations of our society's failings, watching a leaden bureaucracy in action, witnessing the overwhelming percentages of poor and disadvantaged people who populate our prisons, the only well-heeled individuals in sight being the lawyers and bondsmen plying their trade in the hallway.
That was my dull-gray state of mind as I opened Jo's email, with its uplifting reminder about the regenerative nature of life in the midst of fire and destruction. I couldn't help but but smile in reading how the latest Circle video had enriched his day, causing him to respond positively and lift my day in return. So now, I'll share this little story and the bulk of his text here, in the hopes that it might help brighten someone else's day - maybe even yours:
Summer in the pines and birch trees has finally arrived in Ely, Minnesota. Church today was particularly inspiring [as I sat] in my study along with my partner, Kit, and Lena, the wonderdog, where we watched and listened to your summer solstice and co-creator meditations on our computer. It was as though you were speaking to the innermost memories and inspirations of my own history and journey. Co-creation - and looking at the many faces of the way we might find that Spirit - is certainly the journey of this day.
The winds have brought smoke all the way from the territories of the North West arctic. For so many years we were the folks of 'Smokey the Bear' - [putting out forest fires and inadvertently] putting out the regenerative spirit of forest fire. Today, the woods burn throughout the north so that new growth is inevitable. As the smoke covers the sun to give us overcast [skies], I am reminded this morning of the symbol of The Recovery Church, which is a jack pine cone. Jack pine trees need the intense heat of forest fire to open the seeds of the pine cone.
Ah...such rich theology that you gave us this morning to pause and reflect on for this day. I am so grateful to have you in our home [today] to remind us of the myriad ways that the power is alive in this rich soil. On the edge of the Canadian border we pause to say thank you, Rudi, [knowing] that distance is only a figment of imagination [and] there is no distance between us. We are thankful for you this day.
MOVING FORWARDThank you, Rev. Jo - and thank you, dear reader, for being among the supporters who make it possible for the Celebration Circle to extend its reach from the bowels of the county jail to the Canadian border. May you, may we, may All Beings be blessed by our willingness to experience and express our belief that "We Are One."
With gratitude and blessings,
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