Sunday, May 20, 2012

Remembering Rahima

Woolman Hill Meeting House, May 12, 2012
This afternoon, the Quakers will have a memorial meeting for Rahima in the meeting house at Woolman Hill. This is similar to remembrances that are happening in her several spiritual communities.

I just received a report that during a Suluk reunion that is happening at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York this weekend, Pir Zia reflected on Rahima's life. The Abode was Rahima's true spiritual home on earth, where she received her name and where she completed Suluk, advanced study in Sufism.

In Iowa City, a Dances of Universal Peace—originally known as Sufi Dances—will be conducted on the evening of May 24 in honor of Rahima. It will be held in the sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City where Rahima attended with her family. She is remembered there especially as a leader around social causes.

It is a lovely day here at Woolman Hill, warm and sunny. The memorial meeting will be conducted in the manner of Friends. We will gather in silence at 3 o'clock. There will be a brief introduction followed by a period of expectant worship with messages arising as the spirit leads. After about an hour, we will shake hands then enjoy refreshments and conversation on the porch.

The meeting house had a special place in our world. According to Rahima's calendar, we first visited there on May 20, 2009, the day after our first date. Instantly, Rahima felt a strong spiritual resonance for the place, more than I can express here. We frequently attended the mid-week meeting for worship in the meeting house, Rahima more often than I. In the past year, her affinity for Woolman Hill led her to join the board of directors.

In a sense, to remember a person after their death is to keep them alive in spirit. Through this experience I have learned that grief is a doorway to gratitude. As time passes, my sorrow abates and what remains is a deep appreciation for having known and loved such a person as Rahima Wade.


How are you remembering Rahima? Who else are you remembering in this way?

Saturday, May 5, 2012


If only I could hold your face
If only I could wrap up the light in your eyes
and put it away


                    against mistaken words
                    against parting
                    old age

                    against all human loneliness

We say that love has no beginning and no end
We know such love
          flowing out of itself like a river
          that meets and parts and meets

                    It's for that love
                    our eyes shine

          But oh for that time of parting
          for that time we are not ever
                    sufficiently shored against

tell me how to hold that precious light

Take my hands and bless them
          as they bless what they long to keep

Holding by Robert Grant Burns
The New Yorker, Dec. 18, 1971