The Wholeness of Beauty
In December our congregation in Amarillo, TX received the gift of a new singing bowl! I was amazed by how enormous it is, and I found myself awestruck with the depth of the hollow canyon inside. As I gazed at the emptiness, I realized it was also full of vibrations. The huge cavity which seemed vacant was actually what provided the beautiful tone and the possibility for such a loud sound. As I stood striking the tone on that first Sunday, I couldn't help but parallel the large round container of the stone with my huge womb vibrating next to it. (It's okay, you can laugh. I did.) My pregnant belly and the bowl seem to be about the same size, and you might say both contain the beginnings of life. Sadly, this connection reminded me of the times when my womb has felt strikingly empty like a bowl which could never make a sound. But there I stood, seeing the beauty in sound created from nothing, echoing and lifting out into the room, connecting us to one another and to God. The emptiness of the bowl also held a sense of wholeness and possibility, and the fullness of my baby belly caused me to give thanks for the beauty in these parallels.
"Wholeness" has been a word that I have been "holding" and pondering during 2018. For the past several years I have enjoyed choosing a word in January to guide me throughout the year. It started with a book called, "One Word that will Change Your Life," by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon. The book gives a guide to choosing a word which can guide your personal life or your organization. The authors have guided teams and individuals and many organizations to give their work and life a focus for growth. I have used their methods to choose words over the years, or I have just chosen a word from a pile of sugggestions. For 2018, I was struggling with my body image, and I was looking for a way to renew my relationship with my body, mind and spirit. I had already begun a new practice of eating and exercising with Robbie, but I knew that the spiritual component would establish a strong ground for me to enjoy this beautiful and resilient creation that God had entrusted to me. I decided that the word "wholeness" described how I felt that God saw and loved me, and I wanted that for myself. Over the year, the word provided a tool to hold several challenges in front of me. I began to see how the "wholeness" of beauty includes both light and dark, grief and joy, mistakes and skill. Looking for wholeness allows me the space to love my flaws alongside my talents, and it gives me the permission to remember those I have lost with dignity and hope while we welcome this new little bundle of joy into our lives.
Just as the bowl sings and fills the valley of space with peace, God fills in our gaps to create a masterpiece. Do you feel like you could benefit from a new word for the year? I will leave a bowl of words in the narthex outside the sanctuary at St. Luke, and you can choose one or two to ponder and keep throughout the year. You can choose at random or you can make an intentional choice. I would love to hear what words you choose or if you choose your own word. You can send me a personal message or you can comment here with your choice of word. May the Holy Spirit speak to you as we transition into a new year and all of the new beginnings that come!