A good friend, Steve Georgiou, introduced me many years ago to US-Poet Robert Lax (30/11/15 – 26/09/2000) through his wonderful trilogy of books: The Way of the Dream Catcher: Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax; Mystic Street: Meditations on a Spiritual Path; and The Isle of Monte Cristo: Finding the Inner Treasure. Since then we’ve caught up briefly in San Francisco and regularly exchange e-mails; the 21st-century equivalent of the “postcards” (and indeed the occasional postcard and photograph of coastlines and beaches) that Steve used to send Lax.
Lax was also one of Thomas Merton’s oldest and closest friends, the two of them having met at Columbia University in the 1930’s. Merton wrote of Lax: “The secret of his constant solidity I think has always been a kind of natural instinctive spirituality, a kind of inborn direction to the living God.”
Steve’s most recent e-mail contained the following quotes, which I wanted to post.
He writes: “…a powerful quote from Joanna Macy always pops into mind when getting up from a bad fall: "To become whole, sometimes a heart must be broken, for only a heart that breaks open can contain the entire universe."
And I also hear Lax: "Think of the freedom, in a world of bondage, a word expelled from Eden; the freedom of the priest, the artist, and the acrobat. In a world of men condemned to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows, the liberty of those who, like the lilies of the field, live by playing. For playing is like wisdom before the face of the Lord. Their play is praise. Their praise is prayer. This play, like the ritual gestures of the priest, is characterized by grace; heavenly grace unfolding, flowering and reflected in the physical grace of the player… For we are all wanderers on the earth, and pilgrims. We have no permanent habitat here. Our tabernacle must be in its nature a temporary tabernacle.
We are wanderers on the earth, but only a few of us, in each generation, have discovered the life of charity, the living from day to day, receiving our gifts gratefully through grace, and rendering them multiplied, to the giver…"
Which brings me to the need to highlight that Steve is also giving the three keynote addresses at the inaugural “Lax Week” being held this coming week (4-8th March 2013) at St. Bonaventure University in New York. Needless, if I lived closer to New York I would be there. St Bonaventure University houses the Lax Archives and the Merton Archives.
Steve’s three lectures are entitled:
- An Introduction to Robert Lax.
- Robert Lax: Poet and Contemplative.
- Robert Lax: Mentor and Peacemaker.
Image accompanying this post is courtesy of Steve Georgiou.