a prayer for the end of time

December 23rd, 2015

gardener 4x6_postcard print version

Yesterday I went to the dry cleaner’s in town. I stop by nearly once a week to drop off or pick up a sweater or two, pants or a skirt to be hemmed, my husband’s dress shirts. This place has been continuously operating since 1956. The people there know your name and the last four digits of your phone number, which is how they track your order. Truth is, they probably know a whole lot more just by emptying your pockets and letting out your waistbands. These kinds of places are pretty rare these days. And these days, everything rare seems to be getting rarer. I find myself in mourning.

December 22, the counter lady said when she saw me pause over the check I was writing, another piece of obsolescence I still cling to.

Can you believe it?

It goes by so fast it’s scary.

And it’s getting more scary.

It sure is.

I could have a conversation like this about everything everywhere all the time. It’s all scary. The world is spinning ever faster into extinction. I saw a terrifying documentary on the Discovery Channel. Maybe it’s the news: wave after wave of eternal warfare, the eerily weird climate, and the shocking flood of suffering covering every corner of the earth. Maybe it’s too much Donald Trump. Or just the time of year: the dark, the chill, the fury, the hurry, the end.

Next week, if you let it, a pause will arrive. Take care that you do not fill it with restless anxiety or dread. Take care that you do not fear what you do not know or have not done. Set no goals. Have no intentions. Make no plans. There is a lesson in these fallow days, a lesson that does not come in frantic motion, but in the soft light of a lengthening day.

I am going to sit quietly and enter the fullness of time. Because I have time.

And soon enough I will see that nothing is wasted, nothing is over, and everything is already here. Fear not! The gate is open, and the gardener is not afraid.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Photo by Wendy Cook.

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8 Comments »

  1. Amen amen and amen. However you say that in a Buddhist way.
    Thank you once again for peace and quietude at this time of year

    Comment by buddhasteps — December 23, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

  2. I will set no goals, and have no intentions.
    This is what my very weary heart needs.
    Love you.
    In gassho.

    Comment by marcea — December 23, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

  3. Set no goals, have no intentions?!?!?! I feel my heart rate increase, the pit in my stomach. I have three small children, two almost teenage daughnieces. How do I do this?!?! When I know this is what I should be doing. Guess I have some work to do. Or no work at all.

    Comment by Diamond Cambareri — December 23, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

  4. POEM Open Gate

    There is an open gate
    at the end of the road
    Through each must go alone.
    And there, in a light
    we cannot see,
    Our Father claims His own.
    Beyond the gate
    our loved ones find
    Happiness and rest.
    And here is comfort
    in the thought
    That a loving God knows best.

    Author unknown

    Comment by Della Myers — December 25, 2015 @ 2:03 pm

  5. I think freeing oneself from goals and intentions is not at all the same as not getting anything done. It’s a matter of not burdening the doing with the anxiousness of the anticipated future. Instead just take care of what arises.

    Maezen, knowing you pay your cleaning bill with a check while mourning all that is disappearing from our world eases my own sense of being hopelessly at odds with the advancing 21st century!

    Comment by Laura — December 29, 2015 @ 8:54 am

  6. It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Krishnamurti

    Comment by Jotai — January 3, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

  7. Hi Karen, a very happy New Year to you and your loved ones.
    My daughter has a wonderful quote by Audrey Hepburn hanging on her wall: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” A profound act of faith, gardening.
    Underlying all that angst and fear is our collective soul, and all that is going on in the world and our lives is to that soul what waves are to an ocean I guess. But sometimes we lose touch with the underlying depths of that ocean. I am grateful that you remind us of it. Have a wonderful day!

    PS Jotai, what a beautiful quote, I am going to learn it by heart so I can keep that in mind.

    Comment by Simone — January 4, 2016 @ 9:33 am

  8. We all have to set goals and lay out the plan how to get there, but to take time to ponder,to dream,to reflect on all that is good and what joys and blessings we have experienced and dream and wish for is necessary. Quiet times when we forget the world,our outside self, our mind finds relief from the challenges of life is where we find the inspiration,the will and energy to take it on again.I love the quotes you have shared..

    Comment by JC — January 21, 2016 @ 7:01 pm

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