chair w ACOLHelp is here. Be what you have been called to be. Open your dwelling place to your true Self, your true identity. Imagine this opening and this replacement occurring with every fiber of your being. Imagine the separate self being enfolded, embraced, and finally consumed—taken into the Self of union. The body of Christ becomes real through this indwelling of Christ in form. D.Day1:11

Yesterday morning I’m on the internet trying to find the plants we all had back in the 70s—big- dennis-macrame-plant-hangers_thumbnailleafed plants that grew in hanging pots held in macramé plant holders. I thought they were called Elephant Ears, but looking them up by that name I was unable to find any that looked like those I remembered. So I ask Google, “What were those plants from the 70’s that everyone had hanging in macramé plant holders?” Not surprisingly, I get mixed results. I am given a link to a company, called Macramé Magic, a place that designs and sells plant hangers—which makes sense. Then “Stealing Fatima’s Hand,” a book by Carolyn Thériault on her experiences in Rabat. Then cook books, one for enchiladas and another for barbecue. Then another book, “A Voyage Through the New Testament,” by Catherine Cory, and finally a book on confidence by Barbara De Angeles. The bazaarness of this mix catches my interest, like a bit of silliness has entered my day, and I read a little about each. A quote highlighted on De Angeles’ book cover stays with me when I walk away, defeated in my search for the hippie plant:

“When you base your confidence on who you are instead of what you can accomplish, you have created something that no one and no circumstance can ever take away from you.”

Henry's ornamentAll of a sudden I was deeply into this idea, feeling it running through me and mingling with similar ideas from A Course of Love. It was there in the background as I did my exercises, spread out on the floor by the newly decorated Christmas tree with my yoga ball, telephone book, and towel. One particular ornament, one my grandson Henry made while he was still in Catholic school, a heavy ceramic snowflake, was dangling at my lower-than-usual eye-level. As Henry and I decorated the night before and he put up “his” ornaments, I told him some of the others were 30 years old, thinking of ones that don’t feel that way, ones from when my own children were young and I had no business buying expensive ornaments. Then, looking up at the ones from my childhood, I said, “And some of them are from when I was a little girl. Those are over fifty years old, maybe sixty. As far back as I can remember, they were there.”

I was having a wonderful time, glad of decorating the tree once again, and yet I hadn’t looked forward to it. Not the way I used to. Had I lost my Christmas spirit? My wonder over it all? I had been feeling this, but not acknowledging it. I had been noticing an absence of that splendid, unadulterated love for the season, a love and a fervor I’d once had and never thought I’d lose.

I continue to look at the tree. I see sameness and change reflected there. Both at the same time. I was seeing life and the preciousness of memory. How do you know how precious memories are until they begin to fade—especially memories of a feeling. That’s what I was missing: the more . . . enthusiastic feeling Christmas had once evoked in me. The morning’s question returned: What is it you can lose? And what is it you can’t?

I go to evening Mass with this question in me and our priest says, “He is coming” and bids us to be prepared for him. Suddenly it occurs to me. In A Course of Love, Jesus tells us we have been prepared. We are done preparing.treetop star

I wonder if this is one of the most unexpected of the changes that we undergo. A “difference” so profound it can feel like a loss. The promise arrived. The awaiting unnecessary. The preparation time stilled. The arrival present. What we can’t lose is what we’ve always had. The spark of light in us that is the star, the child, the Christ-self. And I’m ready to see all the shes and hes of humanity birth and embody the new Self and to see the new Self in everyone.

In C4.24, Jesus says our perception of love has prepared us for what love is: For within you is the altar for your worship, within you has love’s holiness been protected, within you abides the Host who loves all dearly. Within you is the light that will show you what love is and keep it not set apart from life any longer.

Called back to Day 1 of the Dialogues, it reads now like a new Christmas story, the birth of the new and death of preparations for a coming that is already here: Love returned to the world.

In our union we bear the sameness of the Son of God. In going forth with the vision of unity you become as I was during life. You “receive” and you “give” from the well of the spirit. You need not prepare or plan, you need only to claim your inheritance, your gifts, your Self. D.Day1.2

Seeing this “newness” diminishes nothing. Now, feeling a quieter joy, I do feel prepared. I recognize the gifts given. I remember once again, “There is no loss but only gain.”

(Macramé plant holder from Macramé Magic website)