-- which was that at 12:45 this morning I was running 8-minute miles through Southie, in shorts and baseball cap, through the most unlikely of hurricane-strength downpours (never a sentence I'd expect to write on the first day of winter in Boston) and how even though I was drenched, I was invigorated, and how even running uphill into the rain and headwind and with water squishing in the lining of my shoes from the massive puddles felt good in that "I'm running through a metaphor about perseverance and overcoming adverse conditions and enjoying it" kind of way --
-- you'd probably correctly guess that I did not sleep enough last night, that I felt restless and wired from too many Christmas cookies and joy over having (amazingly, before the day itself!) completing my Christmas letter, that I stayed up way later than I should have and woke up pretty out-of-sorts.
Arriving in the office, though, I found a "Seasons Greetings" e-mail from my only known friend who embraces Buddhism in a real and comprehensive way-- a former co-worker from Minnesota, go figure. Here were his greetings.
"Monks, whatever kinds of worldly merit there are, all are not worth one sixteenth part of the heart-deliverance of loving-friendliness; in shining and beaming and radiance the heart-deliverance of loving-friendliness far excels them.
Just as whatever light there is of stars, all is not worth one sixteenth part of the moon's light; in shining and beaming and radiance the moon's light far excels it;
and just as in the last month of the Rains, in the Autumn when the heavens clear, the sun as he climbs the heavens drives all darkness from the sky with his shining and beaming and radiating;
and just as, when night turning to dawn, the Morning Star is shining and beaming and radiating;
so too, whatever kinds of worldly merit there are, all are not worth one sixteenth part of the heart-deliverance of loving-friendliness; in shining and beaming and radiance the heart-deliverance of loving-friendliness far excels them."
Wishing you a metta, metta christmas and a metta new year...In case you've not heard of the term metta, it has a lengthy definition, in part: "a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence ... the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others ... altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest."
Richard's sentiments brought down my heart rate and shored up my focus for this last, hectic day before the holiday -- for which I'm grateful -- and reminded me of the many multi-significant and lovely people in my life I should also be grateful for.