Yesterday, I had a shallow hole cut in the centre of my chest. It was for a very low-risk biopsy; by itself, this is no news worth sharing.
However, a little over a month earlier, I was sitting in my dermatologist’s waiting room to check out what was probably an “age spot” that was just a little wonkier than average. I pulled out my Kindle to pass the time. I’d been occasionally reading some Rumi poems (a 13th century mystical Sufi poet) and opened to them. I was very much taken with a poem, “Where Everything Is Music,” and, with Rumi as my guide, I slowed down and reflected on the heart-depths that lie beneath all of our art and words and connections. The last words that I read before going in to the doc were:
“Stop the words now.
Open the window in the centre of your chest
and let the spirits fly in and out.” – Rumi
As I walked out to my car after the appointment, I was struck by the synchronicity: the doctor informed me that he would cut a hole in the centre of my chest, just as I pondered Rumi’s invitation to open a window there.
I doubt that I pay any more attention to coincidences than the average person, but when I do notice them, I tend to wonder if there is an invitation there. It was easy for me to hear an invitation in this poem: I rely too much on words; too often, I see them as the solution. It’s harder for me to go deeper and let my heart listen or speak.
So I went on about my life, simply reminding myself occasionally of this poem and this invitation.
About a week later, my brother introduced me to a favourite singer of his, Martyn Joseph, and I looked up a few of his songs. One of the first that I played quickly became my favourite – Let Yourself. Music, more than any other form of art, hits me emotionally, and this song struck a chord. I played it a lot. At the heart of the song is the line, “Let yourself, be quietly drawn by the stronger call of what you really love.” I played it a lot – did I say that?
Then two days ago – the day before I get my chest cut – I open Rumi again, very aware of the invitation to attend to his words. A few poems after the earlier one, I read another that ends with the line: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love”! So, the singer whose song had most claimed my attention for a month, the same month when I am intentionally opening myself up to Rumi’s invitation, was quoting Rumi. Of course he was. And not just any of Rumi’s many, many poems, but one that was printed just a few past the earlier poem, one that I would “just happen” to read the night before getting a window opened in the centre of my chest.
So, let the words stop – I’m listening to a deeper invitation.
“Let yourself, be quietly drawn by the stronger call of what you really love.”