Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Abundant Life

Tiffany Curtis is the Micah Fellow at the Episcopal Chaplaincy at Harvard, through the Life Together program in the Diocese. She was raised in the Disciples of Christ tradition, and received an MDiv from HDS in 2011. In 2011, she was awarded a Sheldon research fellowship and worked in Ecuador to study the intersection of Indigenous spirituality and alternative sustainable development models. Each week she offers us a reflection from her work, past or present.

Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA
As the energy of elections and political posturing reaches a frenzy once more in this U.S. political cycle, I am reminded of both the opportunity for genuine voice and energy from the people, (for instance in the incredible work of organizations like GBIO--the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, whose delegates assembly I was privileged to attend last week) as well as the vicious divisions that rise up between people of good-will. As we all struggle to bring about human and non-human flourishing in our communities, our nations, the world--the abundant life--I am reminded of that which connects us, and of the ways in which that very connectedness is what makes the abundant life possible. Pablo Neruda: 20th-century Chilean poet, activist, lover of life, is one of my truest prophets in my spiritual life, and his words from Sonnet 42 in 100 Love Sonnets are with me this week. This translation is from the bilingual edition of 100 Love Sonnets by Stephen Tapscott (University of Texas Press, 1986).

Sonnet 42

Radiant days rolling on the water, intense as the inside
of a yellow rock, its splendor like honey;
that wasn't damaged by all the turmoil.
That kept its four-square purity.

Yes, the daylight crackles like a fire, or like bees,
getting on with its green work, burying itself in leaves;
till up at the top the foliage reaches
a bright world that flickers and whispers.

Thirst of fire, scorch and multitudinousness of summer,
which builds an Eden with a few green leaves --:
because the dark-faced earth does not want suffering;

it wants freshness, fire, water, bread, for everyone;
nothing should separate people but the sun or the night,
the moon or the branches.

Soneto XLII

Radiantes días balanceados por el agua marina,
concentrados como el interior de una piedra amarilla
cuyo esplendor de miel no derribó el desorden:
preservó su pureza de rectángulo.

Crepita, sí, la hora como fuego o abejas
y es verde la tarea de sumergirse en hojas,
hasta que hacia la altura es el follaje
un mundo centelleante que se apaga y susurra.

Sed del fuego, abrasadora multitud del estío
que construye un Edén con unas cuantas hojas,
porque la tierra de rostro oscuro no quiere sufrimientos

sino frescura o fuego, agua o pan para todos,
y nada debería dividir a los hombres
sino el sol o la noche, la luna o las espigas.

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