This has been the week of an unending parade of children. In other words, I’ve had a grand old time with short people on my emotional level with whom I share a remarkably similar sense of humor.
First off, I should offer an update on Asia Claus. Poor little Asia was flown to Tennessee for surgery but for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear to me, this was not possible – something about their not being able to perform a proper biopsy prior to the surgery. So she has been flown back to Arizona and is scheduled to have surgery today (Wed.) at noon Pacific Time at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I’m sure this will be a very tricky procedure, as the cancer has manifested on her lungs. Your ongoing prayers are needed and deeply appreciated.
You won’t be alone in your prayers, believe me. In fact, there will be a chorus of tiny voices. On Monday, I was in our meditation room leading a practice and one of our members came in and said, “Um, the foyer’s full of children who say they were supposed to have a tour.” Well, the nun who was supposed to do said tour spaced it, so guess who had to step in? And boy, am I glad I did. The 25 or so 3rd graders were making their annual visit from the Oneness-Family School. Now if some of you are rolling your eyes at the name, cut it out. These were some of the most perceptive, bright, and curious kids I’d ever met. They were also quite hip to spiritual concepts, knew nearly as much about the life of the Buddha as I did, and were eager to learn my style of meditation (they all, seemingly, already had their own).
So I told them about Asia. And then I explained the tonglen practice of “sending and receiving” that I discussed in the last post. They got it right away and you should have seen their serious little faces as they did it for a minute or two. They’ve promised to make it a class project to make get well cards for her and keep her in their hearts.
At the end of the meditation, I led them in dedicating our good energy to all children everywhere. I thought particularly of a recent report on ABC’s Nightly News (watch the video, it’s really moving) about the ongoing plight of Mongolia’s street children – for whom my cousin Ryan is spearheading The Dulaan Project to knit them warm clothes. I wish the world was filled with Christina Nobles, the feisty Irishwoman portrayed in the piece who cares for and loves and champions these kids every day.
Closer to home, and apropos of Mongolia, we had a visit from the artist Ganna and his family on Saturday. He brought his lovely wife Mogi and their two exceptional children, Marta and Zana (short for Zanabazar, the greatest artist in Mongolia’s history). They arrived just as we were decorating the temple for the holidays, including putting up and trimming what we call the Buddha Bush. In this photo of our nuns, they’re reacting to Alana, the one to the right, saying, “OK, Anis, hold up your balls!” Need you ask why she’s one of my favorites?
And here’s Zana adding a piece…
…and then little Marta:
Both of these children are so precocious. Zana is living up to his name; he’s already displaying remarkable artistic talent. And Marta is one of those beings who’s like a sly, sophisticated, unimpressed-with-you grown-up stuffed into a four-year old body.
Both of them drew pictures while the adults chatted. Zana gave me all of his, but Marta would only allow me one. Here’s Zana’s excellent drawing of a female Buddha…
…and Marta’s portrait of yours truly. A striking resemblance no? Right down to the enormous feet.
And, finally, brace yourselves, because you’re about to be confronted with the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen in your LIFE. I’m speaking of a photo I just received from the owner of Dogwood Hills Alpacary of my alpaca girlfriend Chloe…
…when she was all of 30 minutes old:
I know. You’re welcome.