Thursday, March 5, 2015

Of leaks and light...

(This is slightly modified from a piece that originally appeared as my March "Plumb Line" column at the UUCiA

There are so many things to write about… I’m excited (yes, plumb excited!) for the upcoming Jazz Concert at the UUCiA on March 28. I’m excited about the upcoming St. Patrick’s Peace Parade – hopefully on March 15.

This is also an exciting week on the multi-religious calendar. The Jewish holiday Purim begins at sundown on Wednesday, March 4 (as I type this, actually). The Lantern Festival (celebrated in China and in Taoism) is Thursday, March 5. The Hindu holiday Holi is Friday, March 6. And we are also in the Christian season of Lent. What rich traditions!

But today I find myself thinking of something more mundane: leaks. In part, that’s because there was
a leak in the minister’s study on February 22. Thanks to our Property Committee, that was quickly resolved. But I’ve heard from other friends and colleagues who had leaks in their studies/offices, and I know many folks have been dealing with this in your homes.

I’m in the habit (thanks to my dangerous dabbling in the writings of Carl Jung) of thinking in terms of synchronicity and the collective unconscious. So when lots of folks I know are having leaks, I wonder: What could it mean? I don’t literally think the universe (or God/Goddess or Tao) is trying to send a message, but I do feel spiritually compelled to look for meaning.

One thing that comes to mind are all the messages about water in the Tao Te Ching, as we discussed on Sunday, February 22. Water is indeed powerful. As it says at Chapter 8 of the Tao Te Ching, “The greatest good is like water.  It flows even to the lowliest places where no one chooses to be and so it is very close to the Tao”.  Or as the late martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “…. be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water…  you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put [water] in a teapot and it becomes the teapot…. Be water, my friend.” Are these leaks telling us to “go with the flow”, so to speak?

Maybe. But that doesn’t feel quite right. Too many folks are having a really hard and demoralizing
time with this winter weather for that meaning to seem exactly right.

I think it’s more basic. What causes a leak? A crack or a hole causes a leak. I think the message is, many of us are feeling worn out and “leaky” after a very rough February. There is good news, though. Our Unitarian forebear Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “There is a crack in everything God has made.” Emerson’s quotation reminds me of even better words by songwriter Leonard Cohen: Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

So, friends, we might be feeling leaky and cracked, but that’s how the light gets in. The light is coming! Hang in there.

And that, of course, reminds me of something else: “spring forward” your clocks Saturday night when you go to bed. Daylight Savings Time is here; can Spring be far behind?