Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday's Reflection: Going on a Bear Hunt

I have no idea what I am going to write about today, but it is Thursday and I publish a new post on Thursday. Here I sit in the sunroom, the room we call the Annex, of our Little House, and I feel a bit dry. Dry and empty.

I slept well. I woke quite refreshed and free of pain. Before getting up I read in bed--The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, a novel set in Iraq in which the war is a main character. I find I can only read a chapter or two at a time before I need to turn to something else. I moved to the Annex, still in my pajamas, and read my emails, including one from a dear friend who is in a health crisis. That mirrors the one that came yesterday from another friend who had just come through a health crisis. Another friend who has been in rehab for almost 3 months following surgery had posted on her Caring Bridge site that she is finally going home. These kinds of emails are becoming more and more common.

I hobbled with the aid of my walker to my lady's writing desk in the living room and rustled through the drawer for a sympathy card to send to a friend whose mother just died and also to retrieve a pile of get well cards. I like to have a stash of cards available to use when needed, but it seems I go through the stash more and more quickly these days. 

Another Country
I commented to my husband who was reading in the Annex that we seemed to have entered another country. The entries in my prayer list book grow daily.  

I wrote a note on the sympathy card and enclosed a handkerchief as is my custom -for when tears come--and then I sat in the quiet, my husband having left to get coffee at his favorite spot, and I prayed my way through the prayer list. It took a long time, but I have the time. 

A Bear Hunt
Along the way, as I meandered through the names on the prayer list, I thought of the wonderful children's book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. 
Do you know it? If so, you may remember these words:
        We're going on a bear hunt.
        We're going to catch a big one.
        We're not scared.

Along the way the family encounters various obstacles, the deep, dark forest and rushing waters, and a raging snowstorm, but they forge ahead.
         We can't go over it.
         We can't go under it.
         Oh no, we've got to go through it. 

Oh no, we've got to go through it. We've got to enter this new country and go through it no matter how unprepared we feel, how weak and tired we may be. We may feel dry and empty or full to overflowing with emotions, with responsibilities, with regrets or dreams unfulfilled, but still there is no real choice. We've got to go through it. 

Of course, the big question is how to do that. You know that spiritual practice you have been thinking about starting or the one that has somehow drifted away? Now might be the right time to begin or resume a spiritual practice. You know, of course, that a spiritual practice is whatever you decide is a spiritual practice. Someday I could write more about that in this blog, but for right now I am going to close my eyes, lightly not tightly, sit quietly, breathe deeply and find my own rhythm. In doing that, I trust I will begin to learn how to find my way through this new country.

We can do this together.

An Invitation
How are you doing traveling in this new country? What spiritual practices are you bringing with you? What are you learning about yourself as you go through whatever it is you have to go through? I would love to know. 


  1. Yes. Did you see the last paragraph in "Listen," from SDI? Erkeneff quotes Matt Licada: "You are wedded to the unknown now, and you are willing to give your heart to others and to this world - to use even in your sadness... to connect with others, allowing yourself to be crafted as a wild translucent vessel of kindness." Yes, you (and others) on the Bear Hunt, are just that!

  2. That song brings back sweet memories :) And I particularly enjoy your spiritual practice of including a handkerchief in a sympathy card. Simply beautiful. Tears are the BEST prayer. AND healing. What a wonderful way to offer support in that. Thank you for this!

  3. And thank you for you kind words. Ever since writing this post this morning I have been chanting the bear hunt words.


All respectful and relevant comments are welcome. Potential spam and offensive comments will be deleted