A Meditation on Approaching the Threshold
Editor's note: This meditation comes from Eric Massanari, spiritual director and chaplain, who is hosting our webinar series called "Dying and Spiritual Companionship - Encouraging Connection and Community." He wrote the above haiku and the meditation below for the webinar workbook. We liked them so much that we wanted to share them for everyone to enjoy here on our blog.
There are great thresholds in this life, beyond which we are confronted with boundless Mystery: the threshold of birthing and the threshold of dying.
We tend to think of these in a linear way, assuming that we move from one to the other with the march of days, from our beginning to our ending. A human life, we presume, is the span of time—sometimes so tragically brief and sometimes protracted beyond desire—that unfolds in the space between these thresholds.
Encountering death has a peculiar way of upsetting such a timeline.
Our inevitable meetings with death, if we are willing to live into them wakefully and openly, have a way of bringing the Mystery squarely into the heart of the moment, the eternal pierces the membrane of the now. When we meet death in its varied forms, we realize we are crossing a threshold that is always present, though often shrouded by myriad distractions and expectations.
The same is true of the threshold of birth. Both are right here and right now, as close as our breath and our bone.
Perhaps, in this moment, they are not two thresholds but one.
Eric Massanari, M.Div., is an ordained pastor in the Mennonite Church USA, living in Newton, Kansas where he serves as a spiritual director and the chaplain of Kidron Bethel Village, a continuing care community for older adults. He is also a member of the SDI Coordinating Council. He has a passion for inter-faith learning, community building, and companioning people who are exploring the fertile ground of elderhood and those who are nearing the end of life. An avid poet and essayist, Eric is a contributing author of An Open Place: The Ministry of Group Spiritual Direction.
For those who feel drawn to learn more - more information about the webinar can be found by clicking the image below.