Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Between the Waves

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one."

-TS Eliot, Little Gidding

What a beautiful poem. "To arrive at the place where we started, and know the place for the first time." This is the longing in my heart. To go back to the place where I first knew Jesus, before man's religion strangled the newborn shoot.

This was both a place of confidence in God, and adventure for myself. The Great Adventure of getting to know Him. Of hope and possibility, of transformation and refinement.

For years I have lived grieving what was lost. Grieving things I had no say over. I remember when we were first forced to resign our staff position, I would go on these long walks wearing my "celebrity in hiding" sunglasses....and cry. The tears would roll down my face and I would sing this song my Grandfather taught me, "Don't cry for me Argentina. The truth is I never left you. All threw my wild days, my mad existence, I kept my promise, Don't keep your distance."

"The truth is I never left you...." "I never left...." "I didn't want to go."

When my Grandfather passed a few months ago, my mother reminded me of how he taught me that song as a child. I wonder if he had any notion that it would become a coping skill...a survival tool, when I was in the throes of deep grief and trauma.
The trauma phase was rough, it's like living with an exposed feel everything. After it comes "the fog." It's like walking into a field and having a heavy fog roll in. It's calm, numbing, and disorienting. The road signs that had been directing my life are no longer visible. Points of reference are gone. The world gets bigger and smaller all at the same time. There is space for meandering, and space to get lost. It is in the mist that I discovered grace. In fact in many ways it was grace. The fog, the numbness, the lack of striving, the just being had a grace quality to it. It was healing, comforting in many ways. Like being wrapped in a warm cozy blanket on a misty Puget Sound morning.

The only problem was getting lost there. Getting lost between the waves.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm not really living

I'm convinced of that. This isn't working, (how's that for honest?) There has to be more. There has to be way to navigate life in a semi-healthy manner. Something to inspire and direct my artsy personality. Something to inspire my role as wife as and mother.

I used the think I had the answers. I had an encounter with God in my teen years that was life changing. I knew I had found something worth living for. And it worked for quite a while. I went to Seminary, married a Pastor and went into ministry. In many ways "I" was fulfilled. I had a growing brood of kids, my art was thriving, and I took great pleasure in my domestic career.

Then disaster struck. Some betrayals are easier to recover from than others. infidelity is devastating, but I would put forth that there is something worse....

When all your eggs are in the basket of church, of serving God and serving others, when that basket is ripped from your grasp and dashed on the as you knew it ends.

The death of relationships...
The death of dreams and hopes...
The death of inspiration and hope...

...and most devastating of all, the death of Faith!

I could have forgiven a husband, gone to counseling, healed a marriage...
...but how do you forgive God? He could have stopped what happened? I was His servant, why didn't he protect me? Why does an All Powerful God allow "Wolves in Shepherds clothing?"

When someone you trusted as Shepherd rips you to shreds, and leaves you to do you ever trust God again?

These are some of the questions that have been running thru my mind for the last few years. Some I have found answers to. Like this....yes, there are wolves who rip apart sheep, but there are other shepherds who bind up wounds.
Yes, horrible things happened to me, but God never dropped me. There was a cool cup of water right when I needed it, there was a soothing balm placed on my wounds, and protective wings encased about when the attacks continued. Yes, God took very good care of me after the tragedy, but could I trust Him again?
Could I trust myself? No longer would I blindly follow anyone...innocence was ripped away from me.

It is good to be strong. To take care of ones self, but it is lonely and scary at times.

It is good to be safe and have boundaries, but what happens when they become prisons?

...and so, I'm not really living. I'm caught in limbo, somewhere between spiritual death and life. I hunger for God, for the hope of a life I once knew. I fear God, religion and church life.

...and yet this isn't living. Going thru life in response to a tragedy is good for a season. It protects and helps you face things about yourself you may not have had to before. Eventually, though new questions arise...

Who am I really? What do I need to live life abundantly? How do I move on?

and...Was everything lost, or are there a few eggs that didn't break?

This is my Journey. The journey beyond faith and to faith. A going deeper. A hope.