Category Archives: Epinoia Cafe

from, an emerging church group in Eugene, Oregon

Eye of the Needle

This was originally posted at

One night recently, I woke up four or five times with anxiety, and I did some combination of meditation and prayer each time. The anxiety began to lift by morning. I am so grateful that, instead of being alone on my zafu (meditation cushion), I am in the loving arms of my Brother. It makes it easier to remember that everything is, in fact, just fine. Just as sparrow is fed and the lilies in the field are clothed, I have all I need.

Tracy and I have been spending time with folks who live outdoors. We’ve made a lot of friends, discovered things within ourselves. Kind of strange, though, because forming the intention to walk among this group of people, that in itself paints them as “other”, doesn’t it?

It feels almost like cheating to go among people, many of whom really do live like sparrows and lilies, trusting every day to bring what’s needed. Some of my friends who live outside have faced what they thought was un-survivable, and discovered that they did, in fact, survive. Losing everything turned out not to be the end of the world. The world keeps turning, and the sun keeps coming up.

This place of brokenness can — though it doesn’t always — wake us up. I remember an evening, years ago, when I in a real panic, realizing that some horrible fate was about to come down on me. The details are gone, but I remember that it was financial: maybe the rent was due, and I didn’t know how I was going to pay it. I was freaking out, and then suddenly I realized that I’d had moments like this in the past, and the world hadn’t actually come to an end. I knew that this moment would pass, and it was pretty likely that I’d find myself on the other side of it, going on with my life. This was just a moment, an experience. It was like I woke up. Of course, I had much more to learn, but this was a good start. (I’ve had more freak-outs since then, but — with God’s help, if you’ll pardon the expression — they get milder and farther apart.)

I ache more for the people snug in their houses than for the people who are cold. Their fear gets in the way of love; they think they aren’t secure enough in this world to be able to afford to give to people with less. I imagine they have that same anxiety that wakes me up at night.

I’ve thought sometimes about how the people who stood watching Jesus on the cross (or looked away), or even those taking a more active role in his crucifixion — those were the ones who deserved pity, weren’t they? (Aren’t they?) Jesus knew what he was doing. He was choosing something beautiful in the face of the not-so-beautiful. The ones who needed the love, the Grace, were the ones on the ground who couldn’t “afford” to speak up, couldn’t risk starting a riot and putting a stop to the horror. Instead, they did what felt safe.

I am often able to comfort someone who is “homeless,” with a hug, a pair of socks, or a slice of pizza. But how do I bring comfort to someone who looks away in fear? How do I help them — or myself — through the eye of the needle?