Letters to Tom / Part 1

Dear Tom,

 

Please forgive me. I have been busy with getting the book out and traveling on the book tour, but they are not good excuses for not staying in touch. Email is a poor substitute for a beach walk, long hand written letter, or God forbid a telephone conversation. However, I’m taking a few days off this week, and I thought I would try to pose a few questions, throw out a few possible answers, and hopefully stimulate your thoughts and receive some Sufi wisdom from you and our readers.

 

Where to begin? I can only start where I am, and that is asking a lot of questions and having very few answers. So I’ll start with a dandy, where do we find meaning and purpose especially when life goes off track. When evil or a catastrophe throw us for a loop or cause us to question life’s fairness. When time seems to be the enemy tearing past us like a sprinting cheetah, or when every step brings us into another pool of quicksand.

 

When pressed I find a lot of significance when my life goes as expected and my family is all doing well. I enjoy and have close friends who give me a deep sense of intimacy and fun. It doesn’t bother me that people have more. Wisdom and my own experience have taught me that all that “stuff” is temporal and of little value. I think the older I become the less I really need. My sabbatical helped me in that respect. It does bother me that people have so much less, and I think for the most part I try to help where I can. Overall, I try to survive the minor trials and stresses of life, and try hard not to be driven crazy by the noise of people telling me what my life should be or shouldn’t be. I look for solace in my conversations with God, in nature and art, the words of wiser heads, and most of all in the quiet comfort of my home and my life with Suzy.

 

But as I said, meaning and purpose are easy to find in when life unfurls in front of us like a carpet runner. (Anne Lamont ). Where is the meaning in suffering, in tragedy, in the rapid passage of time, and the lightning fast pace in which we live our life? Where is there meaning in tar pits of a daily grind. These are the questions I want to pose to you and our readers over the next days. Perhaps together we can walk each other home? (Ram Dass).

Weary?

We become weary for a variety of reasons, and I think of weary as having a different meaning than tired. We weary of war and the constant failure of our leaders to engage in civil discourse. We become weary when toll takes the place of rest, sickness of health, and when worldly trials thicken. Changes and chance prey on our desire for solidity and comfort. But if your heart stays fixed on God, no changes or chances can touch you, and all that may befall you is they will draw you closer to God’s rest.

 

Whatever the present moment may bring, knowledge and faith that it is his hand we can always reach out to will make whatever happens not only tolerable but welcome.

Originates In the Heart

Computers make it easy to write notes of congratulations or thank you’s.

 

But even because it is easy; notes, small acts of affection, necessary intercourse with someone who you have nothing in common can be or become a most sacred or blessed work. We may laugh at the nothingness it requires, but it may very well be the design of God for increased happiness.

 

God’s work is not always what we dream he cut out for us, but that which originates from the conscience or the heart is what is meant to be.

 

 

Belief In the Dark

Although I have heard Luis repeat the following phrase many times I doubt I will accurately quote him, but it goes something like this: “Believe as much as you can and as far as you can, and that is sufficient with God.” My apologies Luis.

 

A corollary is to be patient, pray, and do His will, according to your present strength and light and your soul will continue to grow. Most plants continue to grow and thrive in the mist and clouds as well as the sunshine. So does the spirit.