Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Comment From Chef Michael

The following is the text of a comment left by Michael H---, beloved chef at the retreat center where our Nameless Group has met for many years. It's posted here rather than as a comment so that I could edit out personal identifying information, and with the permission of Michael himself. I think it's important to share this, both because Michael is so loved by the members of the community (Stop blushing, Michael! It's just the truth...) and because, on the day that all people of faith have hearts as open to one another as Michael manages to have, whatever Spirit or Spirits there are that love the world and the men and women in it will be glad, and the human race will be very close to learning how to live in peace with one another...

This was the first year Michael stayed (after a _long_ hard day of work, too) to attend our main ritual, a harvest blessing. We were so moved that he was there... Michael is a deacon in his Lutheran Church, and a man who takes his spiritual life very, very seriously, clearly working to walk his talk. There's a reason he means the world to us...

Anyway, this is what he wrote:

Chef Michael has left a new comment on your post "From the Greenwood":

Dear Cat and Peter,
As I do not have an e-mail address for you, please see this as communication of sorts rather than a comment on your recent blog entry.

Thanks for your web site card I have read the entire site.

Thanks for being true friends over the years that you have been coming here. I really apprieciate the fact that you both were really interested in hearing my story about the past year. My wish for next year is that I have time for you to share your year with me. if it is possible I would like to e-mail with you both as I feel that what I experienced at the circle/ritual needs to be explored and from what I read on the web site you may the people that I could share with.

I can be reached at m---@----
I wished that I had thought to look up the site before We had our weekly management meeting on Thursday. Word got out around that I had attended the ritual and that I had worn a kilt most of the weekend. Tim took pictures so there was no denying it. It was not a problem, but my boss was inquisitive about what went on. I did not share much, other than it was very low keyed and very humbling to be there. He was very interested in what went on during the day. I tried to explain that cooking for 130 people left little time for me to get to any presentations. sometime I think he thinks that I just say a prayer (spell?) and the food miraculously appears. I did share that your group is really tied to this place and many were happy that the relationship would be able to continue. I did talk to the soon-to-be new owners and they assured me that they do not want to lose any business that exists now. There is no reason to be concerned about my boss as I think he was just inquisitive.

Some one from your group asked what I thought of the ritual. Can't remember names to save my life. Anyway I responded by saying I found it very interesting and that the passing of the corn bread and mead and the blessing of"may you never hunger or thirst' Struck a cord so deep that it surprised me. He wondered if it upset my sensibilities. He then said that everyone knew I was tolerant but was really wondering if it made me uncomfortable. I tried to respond by asking how he felt about what had gone on and if he were comfortable with it. He said yea and I said that I was glad that I was there.

I seem to be rambling and beg forgiveness. Your blog gave me insight into the other world that surrounds the kitchen. The goings on that are the real reason you gather. It also gave me insight to your group and why I feel increasingly drawn to it. There were two comments on the evaluations that I would like to share and then I will say good bye for now. First there was one that said I was very important to the Nameless Gathering and that I should be kept happy. It then went on to say 'that when Michael dies he should be stuffed and propped up in a corner of the dining room.:) The second said that a spiritual connection with me had been made by some over the years. This touched me very deeply.

I enjoyed your blog very much.
I hope that you are both well.

Michael H---

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