Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

The Return of the Beloved

Guest Author: 
Dr. Helen Kwon

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved? (SO 8:5a)

Where I live in rural Sonoma County, California, USA, the sights, sounds, and smells of spring are emerging. Farmers and home gardeners are planting new seeds, while the large sow in the barn next door just gave birth to ten piglets. The pungent smell of fresh organic compost lingers in the air, as these cottony things float dreamily off a tree by my window like spring snowflakes. At a recent visit to a local apple and Asian pear grower’s farm, the lovely new pink and white blossoms, poking out their heads, hinted at a turning. As the farmer and I spoke, a mini “tornado” descended on us in a whirl of leaves and dust (which the farmer remarked he had never seen there before), bringing surprise and laughter and a pause to our more serious reflections about the struggles of farming, community partnerships, and getting more healthy local, organic produce to school children.

Wonder and laughter... amidst life’s flurry of tasks, responsibilities, the challenges of working together in human community, the losses and waiting, the struggle to make a difference in our world. And then, the glimpses. In this season of Easter, as I accompany beings (the trees, the pigs, the farmers, and myself), I am moved by these glimmers of joy, of presence, and of new life—of momentarily seeing things as they really are... a world aligned, a new creation. In glimpses in Nature all around, and astonishingly even in us all, I see and sense a Lover’s return—turning the bitter waters into the sweetness of dew. Alongside my fears and busyness, I find that my heart calls to the One for whom all creation longs. I realize that it is I who am ever returning to the Beloved, who is in all things.

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
   leaning upon her beloved?

Under the apple tree I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
   there she who bore you was in labor.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
   as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
   passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
   a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
   neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
   all the wealth of one’s house,
   it would be utterly scorned.

(SO 8:5b-7)

Reflection: Where do you sense glimpses of the Beloved in, with, and around you, today, and in those you may be accompanying?

Dr. Helen Kwon was a 2012 SDI New Contemplative and is the facilitator of the 2013 New Contemplative Initiative. She is deeply grateful to be learning from Nature, small surprises, and the beloved SDI community.

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