Aug 24 2009
by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
English version by Coleman Barks
Every part of you has a secret language
your hands and your feet
say what you’ve done
and every need brings in what’s needed
pain bears its cure like a child
— from Secret Language: Rumi A Celebration in Song (Music CD), by Ramananda
/ Photo by Per Ola Wiberg (Powi) /
I’m back. I want to start by thanking everyone who sent good wishes for my mother’s health.
The past couple of weeks have been among the most difficult of my life. Because of my mother’s brain cancer, she has been losing functionality and making erratic, potentially dangerous decisions, so we came to the difficult decision that we needed to check her into a nursing home. Having to face that choice was in itself wrenching since my mother has always been a very independent woman. Then I had to rush to establish power of attorney and take over her finances, track down all her bills, go through her paperwork, all while dealing with insurance and medical bureaucracy and, of course, visiting with my mother, comforting her, helping her to get settled in to her new environment. Then, in the midst of that, my uncle, a sweet, quiet man, died of a heart attack! The whole period felt like an intense meditation on aging, loss, and death — with way too much bureaucracy thrown in. (Some day America will get a sane healthcare system.)
But, through all of that, I was also blessed to have some profoundly moving conversations with my mother. Even amidst her surface mental confusion, she still speaks with an inner wisdom about what she is going through as she knowingly approaches her own death.
I may write more about this in the future, but it is all still a little too raw in my thoughts right now. And I still have paperwork to fill out.
Here is what I posted on Facebook recently:
Went to help my dying mother:
forms, frantic phone calls.
And sweet, meandering talks
on how to wrap up a life.
Back home, the last of summer’s roses.
I’ve been listening again to Ramananda’s CD “Secret Language: Rumi – A Celebration in Song.” Lines of Rumi poetry set to liquid grooves, with tabla, sometimes a breathy flute. When I first listened to the CD a few years ago, I didn’t at first “get” it. It was one of those CDs I had to listen to two or three times before I found myself saying, Wow, this is wonderful! Strangely, most of my favorite CDs are that way…
…every need brings in what’s needed
pain bears its cure like a child
|Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi|
Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi was born in Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan, on September 30, 1207. When he was still a young man, though, his family fled under the threat of a Mongol invasion, and after much traveling, finally settled in Konya, Turkey. The name Rumi means “the Roman,” that is, “from Roman Anatolia.”
Rumi followed the line of his father and his ancestors – scholars, theologians, and jurists. Until the age of thirty-seven he seems to have been a conventional teacher under the royal patronage. In 1244 he met the wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz. This recognition strengthened and galvanized his belief. His poetry filled with a longing to be the Friend, and close presence he first saw in Shams, later in Saladin Zarkub, the goldsmith, still later in his scribe, Husam. Rumi died December 17, 1273. During the last thirty years of his life he became a brilliant unfolding of that recognition, and a cause of its incandescence in others.
– from Open Secret: Versions of Rumi