"When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him, you will find yourself or lose yourself." A Course in Miracles, p. 132.
I have been home from Minnesota for almost two weeks and in that time have re-connected with many special people in my life. What I thought I most needed was quiet, alone time to read and meditate and write, and I am grateful for those times and clearly, did need chunks of solitude, but what surprised me was my need to spend time with loved ones here.
Last night dear friends joined us on our porch for wine and appetizers. We have missed each other these last months because of trips and work and family commitments, but much to our delight we were all free for the evening. We have not entertained much during these never-ending months of having our house on the market, and I have missed doing so. Originally, I planned just to go the wine and cheese and cracker route, keeping things simple just in case there was a last minute showing scheduled, but I changed my mind. I wanted to anticipate the company, the Holy Encounter, by doing something quite unholy on the surface--messing up the kitchen. I got out some cookbooks and recipe files and got busy, almost humming in the process. Greek croustade (phyllo with a spinach and cheese filling, roasted shrimp and cocktail sauce, roasted cashews with rosemary, cayenne, and brown sugar, and hummus with pita crackers. Oh, and to drink, kir (white wine and cassis--very pretty.) The napkins said "THIS HOME RUNS ON LOVE, LAUGHTER AND LOTS OF WINE." The evening would have been just as full of laughter and love without the extra time spent in preparation, but every bit of measuring and chopping and mixing and then washing and drying reminded me of my good fortune of having so many special people in my life.
"Relationships are meaningful because they are opportunities to expand our hearts and become more deeply loving." A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, p. 138.
The Holy Encounters of this last week included a weekend in Chicago with our son and daughter-in-love who live in Cleveland. I rejoiced in the pleasure of this adult relationship, liking them as much as I love them. Two female friends here made time in their week for me, and I thought about how it wasn't really that long ago that I didn't know them, and now they are necessary people in my Madison life, and I miss them when I am not here. Another friend and I hugged hard after a space in our friendship and realized our hearts had maintained crucial room for one another. Out of town friends here for a convention included us in their busy agenda, and we added onto our friendship of over 40 years. Even my much needed haircut felt Holy to me as we updated one another on our lives, and I recalled how I found her without anyone's recommendation when we moved here--just took a chance--and now she is one of my special "peeps."
And, of course, time with my husband, for "Partners are meant to have a priestly role in each other's lives. They are meant to help each other access the highest parts within themselves." A Return to Love, p. 127. The best kind of Holy Encounter.
I returned from Minnesota relieved at my father's healing, but at the same time quite depleted, and these two weeks have been ones in which I have filled with the energy of so many Holy Encounters. There are others here I have not had a chance to connect with, except for continuing to hold them in my heart. Our day will come, as my father always says. But now I prepare to return to Minnesota for two more weeks, weeks that will be filled with a variety of activities, including grandchildren time, sister time, daughter time, father time, and a visit from a dear out of town friend. I return even more aware of the gifts of Holy Encounters.
"Relationships exist to hasten our walk to God." A Return to Love, p. 92.
Note: Sometimes a Holy Encounter is rediscovering a favorite and influential book from the past. That's what happened while reading a new book by Richard Rohr. He quoted Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love, and I immediately went to my bookshelf and immersed myself in her wisdom.
I would love to know about your experience with Holy Encounters. I invite your comments.