This letter of thanks and appreciation was written during the Christmas "holidays" - the days that are "holy" at the year's end when Christians celebrate the life and work of a great spiritual master, and a time when all humans, religious or not, may "formally" re-experience the innate happiness of giving and receiving.
The winter solstice (December 21st) is the darkest day of the year, but it is also the day when the Sun turns around and thereby brings the promise of increasing light, of warmth, and of the continuance of life. The following "holy days" can mean many things but an obviously crucial meaning for all of us is that there is light at the end of the tunnel: the Sun gives, the Earth receives, life thrives, and humans celebrate their good fortune. Some years, however, are better than others and for many of us in Lake County the year now ending, with its many and fierce wildfires, did not seem to bring the kind of "good fortune" that one would wish to celebrate.
As Valley Fire refugees, Kathleen and I could say (and have said) that "we lost everything". But this, of course, is not really true. We lost our home and possessions but not our lives, our heartminds, our land, our 2 cats, the Sanctuary we serve, or our spiritual practice and disposition. And, most of all, we didn't lose our many friends and loved ones. In fact, we have discovered that we actually have far more friends than we thought, friends willing to make sacrifices of their own for our sake. Many others, no doubt, were also willing but simply lacked the means to do so.
I had never heard of "GoFundMe" (and would probably have been suspicious if I had), but the funds that came in, and continue to come in, are very real. All doubt quickly vanished as surprise, relief, admiration and gratitude came to the fore. The help arrived just when it was most needed - an unanticipated gift that saw us through the darkest days of our ordeal.
We both recognized and deeply felt the profundity of such spontaneous giving as the bright light of open-heartedness. Such generous brightness really does dispel the darkness just as it teaches us how humans should and can live always - with or without any compelling disasters.
What can one really say of such matters? Thank you - all of you - for your kindness and help. We can only hope that you will feel our response as deeply as we feel your giving. If you do you will thereby understand a true simplicity at the very core of so-called "spirituality", something that my Teacher consistently demonstrated and impressed upon me over four decades of interaction: to truly give is to receive, to truly receive is to give; in Truth, giving and receiving are the same, and this sameness is simply the Heart's act of loving.
Tiny Tim, after all , did indeed get it right: "God bless us all, everyone!"