Tuesday, July 23, 2013

That We May Behold Thee Walking Beside Us

as i was preparing for my morning time of meditation a few days ago, i read a blogpost which suggested that the meditator imagine the buddha sitting there as the meditation took place.  instead i imagined how having jesus sitting beside me would affect my practice.  it was easy to visualize jesus there with me.  i could see his dusty feet in his sandals and his clothing stained with the dirt of the road and sweat.  i could sense his tiredness as he rested from his daily travel.

i felt a great compassion for him and imagined that my first impulse would be to help him remove his sandals and to wash his feet, as he did for his friends just before his arrest.  next i would run a warm bath for him and invite him to have a restful soak, as i prepared clean clothes for him and washed the dirty clothing he had removed before his bath.

these acts of kindness awoke a deep feeling of warmth and love in me, and i thought of what kindnesses i might do for others to make their lives more pleasant.  i thought of my wife and how she plunges into work almost from the minute she awakens.  what would it be like if i invited her to sit and relax while i took care of all the morning chores: feeding our seven pets, taking out the trash, preparing breakfast?  would doing this help her to begin her day in a better way?  would she come to enjoy a few moments of reflection and peace if i were to relieve her of these daily jobs?

i wondered what other things i could do during the day that would be helpful to her.  opportunities popped into my mind.  suddenly i realized that this is the sort of attitude that jesus encouraged us to develop when he suggested that in order to save our lives we had to lose them.  we truly love ourselves when we put ourselves in another's place and imagine what their lives would be like if we considered it our job to serve them, to take up some of their burdens.

my prayer today is that we will take some time each day to reflect on how our actions can make life better for another, seeking their well-being as well as our own.  may we wash away the dust of care from as many people as we can.  shalom.

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