Waking With Intention
On a morning during the pandemic, the writer chooses to "radiate" and set aside the negativity of others
Editor’s note: This essay is part of Telling Our Stories: Reflections on the Pandemic. We invited readers to share their experiences of the past year, and selected 12 essays for publication on Next Avenue. Read the full collection.
I woke early to the third day of the ninth month of quarantine with one word in my mind. Radiate. Just as the sun fulfills this task, so must I. The word lingered. Radiate what? I wondered as beside me my beloved still breathed into her dreams.
In the hour before morning coffee, I joined our dog on the sofa and scrolled through photographs I'd taken at the river the day before. That's when a text message from an acquaintance once-removed rattled my phone.
I hadn't heard from Jess in years. Election Day here in the US!! Pray with us. My warrior song for the day, her text read. What followed was a live link displaying the lyrics of a song: You are a mighty warrior dressed in armor of light, crushing the deeds of darkness, lead us on in the fight. . . . The lyrics continued, brandishing words for battle. Not the kind of radiating I had in mind.
Had Jess confused me with my sibling, the practicing evangelical? Or was she pushing her agenda on her entire contact list? I sent a vague reply: haven't missed an election since my first in 1976 / smiley face.
Later, I sat at the kitchen table with a warm cup of detox tea and reflected on the word that woke me up. Radiate.
That was that, or so I thought. A second text arrived. This is about the purposes of God in this nation and in the world!!! God is using this man as an instrument. So we can boldly pray, "Let God arise and His enemies scatter!"
The four-exclamation mark explosion paralyzed me and darkened my mood. I reread the battering ram of assertions. I did not have to answer this call to arms. Not in a text. Not today. I slid the phone under the nearby afghan.
Later, I sat at the kitchen table with a warm cup of detox tea and reflected on the word that woke me. Radiate. With purple pen on handmade paper, I wrote, With love as my guide, may I radiate welcome, kindness, peace. May my heart open in fearless wonder to the tension of opposites. May hope map my way. I placed the prayer in a ceramic bowl near a south-facing window to catch the autumn sun.
As the day brightened to the tasks of cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry, watering the plants, I ignored my phone and returned to the bowl, rereading the intention. Each time, the ink held true. May hope map my way.
A map arrived for me in an email from the Center for Action and Contemplation, a resource of my spiritual practice. Contained there was a heartful excerpt from Parker Palmer's book "Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit."
Palmer asserts that ". . . . the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another. . . ."
I put my hand to my heart and felt the goodness of the words. That's how I'll do it, I agreed. Radiate from where "everything begins."
Even in the world of shutdowns and lockdowns and showdowns, I can keep my heart open, its light of hope aglow.
Sharon Hope Fabriz is a writer, former educator, and spiritual pilgrim with generational roots in Minnesota who now shares life with her beloved partner and two wise rescue dogs in northern California. She recently published her first book, a memoir, called “Circling Toward Home.” Read More