Love has come for you

A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Los Angeles for the day.  Actually I was only in the "city of angels" for a total of six hours, long enough to get from the airport to the office of the Austrian Consulate where I could submit the paperwork I have been gathering for months now and apply for dual citizenship.  My father was an Austrian citizen and remained so until he died in 1996.  He is now buried in Vienna in the central cemetery with his parents.

These last few years my husband and I have been returning to Vienna more frequently, it is a beautiful city with much family history for me.  We are considering some sabbatical time there next year, probably the whole summer with an eye toward a longer time in the future.  Citizenship facilitates a number of things, but more than that it has been the culmination of my own inner journey these last few months initiated by my experience last Christmas when I arrived in Vienna alone and four days later found myself in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism, a condition which kills 1 out of every 3 people who develop it.  I was deeply fortunate to have survived, especially when I consider how many hours I spent wandering the city before I figured out what was happening with my body.  An embolism is a condition of the blood and I was there to deepen my connection to my bloodline, so in a strange way it thrust me even deeper into my journey.

That experience led me to the desert last spring and to a movement retreat where I discovered my inner dancer in new ways.  My father's mother was a dancer and I have since found myself dancing many times on behalf of her and her unfulfilled longings.  I have also been dancing on behalf of my father whose struggle with multiple addictions alienated him from everyone he loved so that he died alone and left behind deep wounds in his wake.  My journeys to Vienna these last few years have also been on behalf of this fractured relationship. It has been not only for my own healing but for his as well.

My decision to finally apply for Austrian citizenship is another step on the road to healing and claiming that part of myself more fully.  There is the practical reality of a new passport and rights conveyed to me, but there is also the spiritual reality of exploring where I owe allegiance within myself.  A passport literally means a pass through a portal.  Portals are liminal spaces charged with meaning and significance.  You can never fully know how crossing that threshold will change you.

I had gathered the paperwork for months: birth, marriage, and death certificates for myself and my parents with the Apostille, a special certification process which required more letters and more waiting, finding my father's alien registration card to prove he never naturalized as an American citizen.  I flew down to submit it in person so they could take my fingerprints for the passport.

On the airplane returning home I was tired so rather than tend to the pile of work I had brought with me, I decided to listen to some music and tend to my inner space in the wake of this journey I had just made.  Eventually came the song "Ten Thousand Angels"** by Caedmon's Call and I heard these words: "how long you have traveled in darkness weeping / no rest in language, no words to speak / but there in the wreckage beneath bricks and bindings / love has come, love has come for you."

In my imagination I suddenly saw myself dancing with my father, no longer on his behalf, but now in partnership.  We were engaged in a kind of contact improvisation where we each had moments of dancing alone and then moments where our bodies leaned into one another in a kind of mutual support.

The lyrics continued on, "everything worth keeping comes through dying, love has come, love has come for you, so lift up your heart now, to this unfolding,  all that has been broken will be restored" and I found myself weeping.  Tears streamed down my cheeks silently and I wiped them away with my hand wondering if the Japanese businessman in the seat next to me had noticed, wondering if he would have a look of recognition as if to say, "yes, I understand."

There I was 30,000 feet in the air, suspended between heaven and earth, having just returned from a concrete act of saying yes to this part of myself, and my father and I were dancing.  Even more than that, when I heard the words to the song I knew they were about my father. Love has come for him. I knew they were about me. Love has come for me. Healing is a process, and I continue to experience deeper and deeper freedom.

*Photo above is of me as an infant with my parents

**Lyrics to Ten Thousand Angels (click link to hear the song), Words and Music by Sandra McCracken. c2002 Same Old Dress Music (admin. by music services) all rights reserved. ASCAP

how long you have traveled in darkness weeping
no rest in language, no words to speak
but there in the wreckage beneath bricks and bindings
love has come, love has come for you

against the night sky of your waiting
your face is like starlight when he walks in
everything worth keeping comes through dying
love has come, love has come for you

so lift up your heart now, to this unfolding
all that has been broken will be restored
here runs deep waters for all who are thirsty
love has come, love has come for you

ten thousand angels will light your pathway
until the day breaks fully in the East
they will surround you and make your way straight
love has come, love has come for you
love has come, love has come for you

Next Monday is the feast of All Hallow's Eve, followed by All Saints and All Souls in Christian tradition and the month of remembering the dead.  Also is Samhain, the Celtic feast which marks the beginning of the dark half of the year, when the veil between worlds is especially thin.  It is a time to gather with kindred spirits and open our awareness to what is happening between the worlds.

If this speaks to your heart at all, consider joining us for our upcoming online retreat Honoring Saints & Ancestors: Peering through the Veil (October 30-November 19, 2011).  *Registration will close on Sunday, October 30th!*

It is also your last chance for the combined registration discount with Advent 2011-Birthing the Holy: Becoming a Monk in the World (November 27-December 24, 2011). (Regular registration for the Advent retreat will stay open until November 26, 2012).

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