Rev. Debora-Ellen Brown
“What if..." Are those words familiar to your hearts? "What if" became a gnawing deep with my heart for many many years, challenging who I was, what I believed, what my life's mission truly was.
Eight years ago, after hours upon hours of Googling, looking for something ... anything that would speak to my heart, my longing and, out of the fertile grounds of Google’s Earth, Tree of Life Interfaith Temple whispered, ‘yes, this is the place I have set aside for you.’ And out of the clear blue, my complete application arrived on Stephanie's Doorstep. 8 years ago, a visionary, a dreamer recognized me as a Beloved. Sight unseen and beyond, she believed that somewhere deep beneath my smoldering spirit embers, was Divine Spark barely flickering. And, as any Fire Dancer, woman belonging to the Sacred Circle of Fire Starters, with her many skills, her devotion, her life experiences, her Inner Voice, and her own Awakened State, Stephanie created the spaces between the logs of my own human experiences and sufferings, my daily practices, servant spirit, unique soul. Into my spaces she blew fresh breath, moving air dancing within me and between each and every log and space, until a small, steady, climbing Spark of Divinity emerged. A fire was re-kindled, seminary allowed for the purification and refining processes to begin, a whole new world began to unfold before me, and I found myself ascending new heights, traversing unfamiliar Pathways that my inner Self recognized, honored, in a strange sense of intimacy.
At 50 + years, finally, finally I felt a sense of coming home to my Original Self, the self that was so intrinsically connected to everything that had Breath, and I was sung back into existence in the Song and Breath of the Divine.
Bringing my 50 years of cradle Catholicism, my 30 years of active ministry to Diocesan, parish and Aids communities; along with two postgraduate programs in Divinity and Pastoral Ministry with Loyola University and Alexian Brothers CPE residency programs, I was suddenly aware of the "What If...there was more." I was more, we were more? I am a part of the unveiling of the "What If" of all possibilities, but especially of the Divine Breath, Word Spoken, Seed Sown, and so my grafting onto the Tree of Life began taking effect.
Over these years I have awakened to the many prophetic voices singing in Tree of Life, singing the ancient songs, "Dry Bones, come alive, Come O Holy Breath of Life, come from the Four Corners of the World, from the Seven sacred Directions." Though my voice may be older and not as fully trained as others, I am but one small somewhat new branch on this mighty Tree. I am bringing forth and now offering the authority placed upon me at my Ordination to Rise Up, recreate, reunite, reaffirm, re-imagine, re-connect. Rise Up, o Divine Spark! Rise up to all the infinite possibilities those two treasured words, "WHAT IF" hold before us!
One of my most treasured friends and Franciscan sisters offered me a simple mantra that is my life's motivation, my unceasing prayer:
"Pauper sum Ego. Nihil Habeo. Cor Meum Dabo."
And so to you, this Sacred Tree of whom I am a part... As a candidate for the position of your Associate Minister I offer the Meaning of my Mantra.
"Poor am I. I have Nothing to Give. I give you My heart."