Thursday, September 8, 2011

Constancy Amidst Change

It is often said that “the only constant is change,” and this is true. Our plans change, our bodies change – even our identities evolve and transform over time. Yet, if you gaze at a photograph of yourself taken as a child, and then at yourself in a mirror, I will wager that you will be convinced you are seeing the same person. So what is it that stays constant?

I believe that there is a consistency of being which remains with us always – the uniqueness of what makes you you, and what makes me me. I see this as a profound gift – whether we characterise that gift as coming from the universe, from god(s) or goddess(es), or simply the fortuitous blend of our DNA and life experiences. And the way I respond to being given a gift is through gratitude, and through enjoying the gift I have been given.

Service is the expression of gratitude for the gift of one’s being. In other words, it is a tangible demonstration of love. Our motto – “One Joy! More Joy! Always Joy!” – articulates this impulse perfectly. When I have been out with members of the Abbey in the community, I experience and see the joy of loving service as it is both offered and received. This reaching out toward one another is what makes us human and humane – a mutual giving and receiving of gifts that intensifies the gratitude we all feel to the creator/universe and to one another.

In the past several months, the Sisters have been busy attending local Pride festivities. I’ve been to the celebrations in Vancouver, in Surrey, and in New Westminster. When the Sisters appear, light happens, faces beam, eyes glow, hands and arms extend in embrace, there is joy. I’ve seen this with leather dudes in the West End, with extended Indo-Canadian families in Surrey, with high school students in New Westminster. Very different lifestyles and backgrounds, one single reaction to our ministry – a concrete expression of our shared humanity, our grateful natures, our common love.

As the Abbey begins looking forward to our activities this fall – our second Tenting for Homelessness event, helping with the AIDS Walk and events around World AIDS Day, and many others – I am looking forward to experiencing more of this. May the gratitude I feel touch those whom I meet, looking forward to the day when it ignites the whole world with loving, mutual service. Let this be the constancy amidst the change we see in ourselves, and in the world.

--Cadet Paladin Bamm Bamm

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