Hopi Prophecy Rock in AZ
Hopi Prophecy Rock in AZ
REFLECTIONS..................By Michael J Tamura

"To err is human," penned the English poet-satirist, Alexander Pope, in An Essay on Criticism and completed his thought, "to forgive divine."

Forgiveness emerges only to benefit humanity.  Divinity, infinite and eternal, the all and unchanging, can never be guilty of wrongdoing, is free of blame and cannot ever hold a judgment.  Thus, God needs no forgiveness. We humans, on the other hand, need the ever-liberating grace of forgiveness and, without it, we cannot even breathe our first breath. It is the "Open Sesame!" that frees each of us out of the depths of isolation and loneliness.  It is our only ticket home.

Of course, we are our worst tormentors.  No one metes out punishment to us like we can.  We like to imagine, however, that it is really the big, bad boogey-man who did it to us.  It lets us off the karmic hook: We're innocent, law-abiding, God-fearing people.  Well, that's just it: God-fearing.  The more we seek God, the more we come to realize how terrified we have been.  That fear is the very chasm we have excavated to distance ourselves from the All.  Forgiving ourselves is the only requisite to erase that seemingly unbridgeable gap.  Yet, we hesitate right on God's stoop, roses in hand, forever doubting ourselves, unwilling to risk losing the love of our life by the simple act of ringing the doorbell.  

We regularly extradite aspects of ourselves that we perceive not to measure up.  We make parts of us fugitives from the rest of us.  Divided, we are conquered - not by others from without, but from our own ignorance and fear within.  If, however, we explored but a little more carefully, attentively and deeply, we would discover treasure chests overflowing with beauty, grace, and wonder.

For instance, we easily admire the record-holders and record-breakers, whether they excel in the sports arena, theatrical stage, concert hall, classroom, business or techno-scientific field.  It isn't difficult for us either to behold in awe saints, living or dead, who have walked the earth tending to the outcasts of society, the sick, the injured, the forsaken.  We also regularly look up to the great leaders and statesmen and wonder how they can be the way they are and do what they do.  Their names and feats often make their way into the history books even long after they are gone from this world.  They leave giant footprints for all the rest of us to look to for guidance, solace, hope, inspiration and education.

Yet, everywhere I look in this world among less celebrated human beings, I see such beauty and greatness.  For one, I've been privileged to know a girl with such tenderness whose intelligence cuts through the fogs of ignorance of the society around her.  Yet, she cannot stand, walk, or sit up by herself and must be propped up to just remain seated - she was born with cerebral palsy.  She inspires me.  As does her mother who is the girl's greatest champion and guardian: A courageous, strong, bright and loving warrior willingly laying down her own life, day-after-day, to help navigate the turbulent seas of her daughter's precious life.  I am humbled in their presence and the great art of the masters pale next to the masterpiece they paint on the canvas of their relationship with one another.

Another: I've been blessed to know a young woman who travailed at the very precipice of life for over thirteen grueling years to summit the Everest of brain cancers - one of the most deadly tumors known to modern medicine. Once a perfectly healthy, beautiful and intelligent young woman, she had suddenly fallen through that crevasse of terror and pain with neither insurance nor an instruction manual.  She created her own not-for-profit organization to help finance the prodigious medical and other expenses incurred in her healing journey.  Forgiving herself of the guilt and shame for a formerly independent and self-sufficient individual of asking for every kind of assistance, she shared her victories and defeats with an ever-expanding loving and supportive community.  Although cancers show up in individuals, it is a community illness.  And through her courage and determination, she rallied a whole community into a massive healing journey.  We were all healed through the miracle of her complete return to wholeness in spirit and in body.

As for myself, I, too, have known wondrous joyfulness in the midst of agony.  And in recent weeks some of the greatest of those moments were those in which I had received precious gifts of compassion, understanding, communication and healing from those who were, years ago, my students.  There are no feelings that quite compare with the rapture that follows one's realization that your former student has surpassed the teacher.  It feels like the ultimate graduation gift.

We could go on and on.  We could "talk story" till the snow melts off of Mt. Shasta.  For everywhere, in every one of us, there are countless miracles and the most amazing gifts of spirit.  Look for them. They are there.  Right in your front yard and right next door.  They are all around us and they are all within us. 

It is at times during the darkest of our nights, that we discover the way to forgiveness and healing.  When we are up against that terrifying and seemingly unknowable enemy, if we happen to look down at our feet at the instant the lightning flashes across the sky, we can remember that we are indeed standing at God's doorstep and all we need is courage enough to forgive ourselves.  We can then consider ringing that doorbell.

May a Profound Peace Prevail Throughout Your Life.  With love always,

Michael