"...In your day and times this life seems meaningless, terrifying and full of suffering, violent and easily brushed across the veil because of a thousand menacing dangers. The purpose of the inward struggles for integrity, to live, even to simply exist, stupefies the philosophers who like all the rest grope blindfolded through the first human stages, for the mystery is not revealed at once, but day by day, little by little and only to the seeker...The events of your times , stages in human personalities of those with whom you must march add to your darkness and confusion. Under these circumstances of human living great can be the loneliness and the suffering...But the hope and the wonder is that a change comes, a dawning,when you reach a place, when you step forward and choose wisely. You have acted upon your choice, you have stood your ground and have not weakened so that we can tell you to walk confidently carrying your dawning with you...within you is the light, within you is the freedom, therefore with eye turned inward you are safe...."
So, I've been thinking about death. And life. And friendship and fears and a multitude of such heavy, ponderous things. And I wanted to come here and sort it out and share but I feel inept because the subjects are vast and complex and because I've been out of flow and out of practice... but here I am. So, please forgive if my fingers and my mind don't do justice.
One of my closest friends lost her step-father last week. And this morning we got caught up. I had no words so I listened.
And what can I even say now, here?
Only that maybe death is an opportunity to see grace fall. Grace, like rain. A downpour, drenching and we can either turn our faces heavenward and let our tears mercifully mingle with the soaking sky or we can try and hide, stay dry all the while knowing that at some point we won't be able to escape.
This, the only awkward way I can find to describe how I felt as my friend spoke of her family's closeness, their wisdom, their journey through the pain. My first thoughts were that they were 'handling' it well. But that word handling didn't seem to do it justice. Neither did the words, accepting or embracing. So, contemplating, listening, I just thought of grace. Grace given, grace shown. Grace bestowed. Grace like rain. Rain received with grace. And how when someone possesses grace, when they've been given grace -it shines, creating a prism of color for all to bear witness to God's goodness.
"Go your way step by step. Now is the appointed time to do your part: and your part, as you know well, cannot be done with righteous and breathless rectitude, but by being receptive so that you can be used as a channel, which is part of being a temple of the Spirit. It is the antithesis of noise and dubious fame; be the silent ones, anointed, with rod and staff and the scallop shell of quiet and the promise of truth."
It is 5:41 am. I have been awake since four am and out of bed since 4:30 am. So forgive if this post is less than polished.
Funny, that for so long, I've been desiring to rise early and write. And yet the plan was to be up before the kids to write in silence. I just never seem to be able to get up before them. And even this morning, I am up because they are up. Why they were wide awake at four is beyond me, but after hushing them for a half hour to no avail, I stated that we might as well just get up.
I decided to take advantage of the sunless morning sky and write and yet, not without the chaos of the children,who are already loud as they are at any given hour of the day. Please, Lord, don't let this hour become a habit.
Envisioned life, is me writing in quiet with coffee to a sunrise, greeting the kids with a smile as they wake hours after me.
Writing anyway at this hour, with four kids in four different directions appears to be real life.
I have been pondering words. Praying for a word. Not a word, as in a word from the Lord which is prophecy but a word from the Lord for the year.
I have considered and discarded a few already. Considered and shelved some others. And then there's the one I've considered and prayed about and said, "Are you sure?" to God, not sure it was relevant.
It's the word, quiet.
When I hear it, I wonder if I hear correctly because I don't think I have a problem with this. But I read Proverbs 18 today and verse after verse confirms:
"The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (v.4)....A fool’s lips bring him strife,
and his mouth invites a beating.
7 A fool’s mouth is his undoing,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to a man’s inmost parts. (v.6-8)...He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.(v.13)...The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.(v.15)...From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.(v.20)
and oh my goodness....
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.(v.21)
So, 'quiet' it is. I guess God is saying to me what I often say to my children: