Some memorial services are remarkable.
As a hospice chaplain, I attend and create many memorial services—this one was inspired. On Sunday, many fellow Interfaith ministers, UU ministers and CHI graduates gathered to honor a great man who has left us.
Jeremy Taylor was a pioneer in mining the wisdom of dreams and taught many to see them as The Divine continuing to speak to us. His work embodied the notion that God (insert whatever holy name you want here..Spirit, Goddess, Lord, Light, Love) is alive and talking to us. Revelation did not stop with holy books...It is continuous ... We are the one's who have a reticence to listening. Jeremy and other greats have urged us to listen better:
" Everyone is God talking. Let's be polite and listen to him." –Hafiz (as translated by Ladinsky)
Dreams are the continuous source of revelation...
I met him in a single class I took at CHI for my Interfaith training...but I claim him and his wisdom as kindred.
Here are some of the things that were said about this great and humble man:
Someone quoted him saying, "Curiosity was another name for compassion."
I think the mark of the truly great is that they leave so, so many gifts behind within us for being wiser, and more awake to what is ours to do, in the time we have left.
One of my professors read a poem by Jeremy Taylor, :
(with a tip of the hat to Coleman Barks)
Grant me Love!
Please, make it simply
Make it crack and melt the hard places
Where I am so sure of myself.
Make it stiffen and enliven the weak places
Where I am uncertain, ignorant,
and secretly afraid.
And please make it horribly "inappropriate"
So I must really know you in myself,
Myself in you,
To give up everything that is not love
(Because it is so hard to do it willingly. . .)
I pray this
Knowing it will ruin me.
Let me be ruined by love,
So that I may come back to you
Without pride, or stupidity,
- Or pretense, or opinions -
or any sense of separation -
Like a lover,
Hungry and ecstatically full
All at the same time!
-Jeremy Taylor, United States twentieth century Sacred Poems and Prayers of Love, 1998
His life was a gift to us. Thank you Jeremy Taylor for all you did ...and are still doing in your many books, and the many seeds which you have planted within us.
They said you died in your sleep...dreaming... and again in the arms of your beloved.
The Kaiser palliative RN symposium where I was speaking about resilience for pro caregivers...and my book...was easy (and went quite well) once I stopped reading my notes and spoke from my heart. I don't know how many times I need to learn this lesson—speaking with people, not at them.
It is so easy at bedside in hospice (or supporting my bereaved) to still my noisy mind, listen deeply and respond from that place...or let the space be empty. In good design, they call it "white space".
But... it feels so different when sixty-five palliative nurses are watching you, waiting for my amplified words to fill the gap between us—my words.
Oddly, it's not. As a chaplain and a woman of (growing all the time) faith, I agree with the radical French Jesuit theologian, paleontologist and geologist, Teilhard de Chardin, when he said:
"We are spiritual beings, having a human experience."
If that is true (and I have ample life, bedside and death bed evidence of this), then there is just one of us here, or at minimum we are nuclear family. My point about speaking up (and speeches) is that we are all among family—all the time.
Sweet, right? (And, it's a better tactic than imagining all of you/us naked...)
on a Chaplain's life