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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

A Heart Big Enough for Everything

A note from Carl:

Yesterday we celebrated our son Mesa’s 5th birthday. The day before we awoke to hear that Erin’s beloved grandfather, Ken Gardner, “Papa,” had died peacefully yet unexpectedly in his sleep.
Along with the earthquake in Nepal, there’s just so much for the heart to hold…

As I went through the beautiful spring day, picking up birthday cake, booking flights for Erin go to the funeral, experiencing raw moments of grief, appreciation, and celebration, I thought often of this line from David Whyte:

And I thought,A Heart Big Enough for Everything
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,
this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.
This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next. – David Whyte

I appreciate the beautiful advice that the Tibetan teacher, Dzigar Kongtrul recalls his mother offering to him as a child, “You have to grow your heart large enough to have a horse race inside.

How to grow the heart large enough to hold this beautiful, crazy horse race of life, with its love, its goodness, its pain, its profound uncertainty?

Several times yesterday it felt like the horse race was nearing its capacity for space. Holding my joy, and the reflection on these 5 years with Mesa, the grief around Papa’s death and concern for his wife of 66 years, Erin’s beloved Nana, the sadness at missing our annual family birthday camping trip to Boulder, Utah, this weekend, holding all that is unknown around Erin’s pregnancy, taking in the images from Nepal…

And yet, the space in there kept growing and in fact still keeps growing. There’s no end to space, there’s only sometimes a lack of my noticing it. :)

As Mary Oliver wrote so beautifully,

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things.
To love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

A Heart Big Enough for Everything

You can see a touching video of Erin’s Papa playing piano for Nana as he’s done over the last 70 years since they were high-school sweethearts, taken during Erin’s last visit to Kentucky here. (It’s on Facebook, so you’ll be able to see it if you have an account. It’s very sweet.)

I’m wishing you awareness of the space in your heart for the horse race of your life,
Carl

A Heart Big Enough for Everything

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