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Honoring (by) Not Staying

Anyone alongside me these last several years knows my (seemingly unending) ruminations with the word stay. What’s with the staying? Musing for pages on Why Do You Stay?, instigated when a millennial colleague asked me ten years ago regarding organized Christianity, while facing the challenges of her child in NICU for four weeks.

You know, amidst all that, I’ve never actually looked closely at the word stay? A quick Google-search out of curiosity was prompted by a friend’s question yesterday…

Stay (v.1): mid-15c., “cease going forward, come to a halt,” also (transitive) “detain, hold back,” from the Old French estai-, stem of estare “to stay or stand,” from Latin stare “to stand, stand still, remain standing; be upright, be erect; stand firm, stand in battle; abide; be unmovable; be motionless; remain, tarry, linger; take a side… Of things, “remain in place,” 1590s.

Stay (n.1) “support, prop, brace,” 1510s, from French estaie “piece of wood used as a support.” One site observed “stays” as the supports in women’s bodices, laced unhealthily-tightly in European dress.

I think my fascination with the word stay and its prominent use in my storying comes out of a deep respect within me for all the wisdom streams that have come before me. I am committed to continuity, in humility, even as I am also impassioned about co-creation, reframing stale truths into deeply embodied, living ones.

So regardless how cantankerous my Christian colleagues (and students) may presume me to be, with impertinent questions and trickster teaching-methods, I live from a deep devotion to the Sacred that has been Gifted to me, within me, by loving elders, mothers, and ancestors. My root-tradition is Christianity, and always will be, though much of what Christianity manifests as today, I do not stay within... I attest to its Wisdom gifts, its beauty, its goodness, even as I recognize “it” is becoming less and less True.

Just like poetry emerges best in a dance with various established forms, so I have danced between an irrevocable devotion to wisdom traditions and my own intuitive journeying, which attempts to complement, co-create anew, witness to the ever-apophatic horizon of a wilderness Godde, attested in scriptures of all kinds.

Which means I live and love “where I have been” with a clear sense of it all being only partial, humble absolutes, to use the phrase of a spirit-friend, Irwin Kula (and his colleague, Brad Hirschfield). There is a way of living in the human body, everpresent, ever anew, which will always mean that “what has come before” is incomplete, unfinished, partial. Which is not to debate untruth with Truth. Which is not to denigrate Truth.

I bow in deep gratitude to the worth of all who have come before AND

I am not staying as standing still, being held back

I don’t really know what this means, to be honest, but I can already feel the oxygen… We arise in our root traditions, ever grateful (when we do the inner work required). We honor our lineages most by becoming-together in Wisdom within and beyond them.

What does it mean to let go, to never have to stay, to get to walk in the Wisdom gifted to me within who I am...becoming...? Hmmm....

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