I’ve got a bad case of ishq.
Crazy-ass love for spirit in matter and matter in spirit. Sufi-madness, believing ishq allāh ma’būd lillāh – God is love, lover, and beloved. I’m finding a scandalous willingness to “give up on my brain” and stagger through life as a grace-intoxicated drunkard.
Today, the sound of wings staggered me.
We hiked around a bend on a mountain trail in upper Ojai. Our dog Saraswati saw a stand of bushes and froze in a perfect point. She assumed a sacred dog-yoga posture, downward pointing God, a “union” with her ordained intuition.
I held my breath. The earth held its breath.
Saraswati heard a silent starting gun. She barreled into the underbrush. Twenty grey quail hurled themselves up out of the bushes, no chirping, only the sound of insistent wings, saying “I am.”
I breathed the sound and said, “So am I, beloved quail. I am.”
Saraswati, completely pleased, sassed back down the mountain to receive a blessing from me. “You are The Beloved too, sweet girl,” I said.
What did I do to deserve this microcosm of audacious grace?
Who created a dog that points so clearly and dearly?
What offered a flock of quail the adventure of shared get-away?
How did air, feathers, and flight evolve the capacity to break my heart into beauty with a sound that only Love can see?
Who submitted us to this drunken nonsense?
Ishq allah, love, lover, and beloved.
What a privilege it is to hear the three in one. No definitions, no reasoning required. Only wonder in the wordless wings.
A Jewish Prayer reminds us that we “walk sightless among miracles.”
After the wings this morning, I believe we are deaf as well as blind. Love, Lover and Beloved sing to us constantly. But will we listen? Will we hear?
I want to be better.
With my Beloved’s help, I’ll start with the High School Band, that rehearses every day, inches from my house. I’ll fall in love with their raucous “On Wisconsin.” I’ll celebrate the salsa version of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” I’ll dance to the drum line. Love will transform out-of-tune band music to the sound of adoring children pointing at intangible grace. But wait, did love change the music, the teenagers, or me?
Maybe, with practice, I can learn that everything changes everything. Everything points to everything. Everything is wings and wonder. Everything is love, lover, and beloved. Arguments, laughter, discord, and delight. It’s all ishq allāh ma’būd lillāh , drunken rapture calling us home where we belong to the Beloved.
Prayer: Help me to hear this differently. Help me to hear the miraculous in all things. Help me become the ears of the love, lover, and beloved I am.