It seems that everything is changing, now. Life is never stagnant. It's exciting and scary at the same time. There are choices and no clear answers, yet. I want to know. To understand.
So I'm waiting. Trying to stay grounded, focused and in prayer.
"I once thought, "I would like to feel the contours of these times with my fingertips." I was sitting at my desk with no idea what to make of life...And then I was suddenly flung into one of many flashpoints of human suffering. And there, in the faces of people, in a thousand gestures,small changes of expression, life stories, I was suddenly able to read our age....Surrounded by my writers and poets and the flowers on my desk I loved life...There was simply one great, meaningful whole. Will I be able to describe all that one day? So that others can feel too how lovely and worth living and just-yes, just-life really is?"
Life is always beautiful, I'm learning. It may not always be pleasant. It may not always be entirely clear which direction it will go but when broken down into moments, moments of just cleaving, and when one knows that 'great, meaningful whole', there can be a peace and even a new view of tragedy, a sort of hushed acceptance.
My natural reaction, in times like these, is to isolate, go inward and shy from the unknown. But I find I'm not doing that. I'm open and waiting for what God has to bring. I'm seeing that He sees me and that it's okay.
I was reading John 4 today, struck by the fact that Jesus, when He spoke to the Samaritan woman, immediately exposed her sin. Candidly, matter-of- factly but leaving out judgement. It seems like judgement was not His purpose. Rather, He wanted her to know that He knew her.
How often does this scene play out between Jesus and me? How often does He ask something of me and I respond that I can not give, given who He is and who I am ( or am not). And He says, "Well, ask of me then and I will give to you...so that you will know, then, how to give." And He shows me that He knows exactly who I really am here on earth. What I have done, or what I have not done. And contends that, still, He is offering Himself to me.
The Living Water flows and it is mine to take, to never thirst again.
Teresa of Avila, in Interior Castle, says that, "It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame, that, through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance...if a person were asked who he was and could not say..."
She speaks of our souls and the lack of care we give to them, that our bodies are where we place most of our interest rather than on the inner man. And how true this is. I know who I am because I know Who created me and Who lives within me. I cannot know the future but I can know that God knows me intimately and loves me and blesses me and this means everything. It means that in the midst, of all I never thought would happen, I can come here and share, still, because I am known.
-being known, being seen
-time to write
-flowers on a desk
-treasures every where
There is an opportunity here to grow. Will I take it? Can I take it - this pressure building? I taste choices here, questions and know somehow that there are answers which are more right than others, though the question is not a trick. I want sometimes, someone else to answer the question so I reword it and pose it, when it is within. I want to take it out, give the responsibility to someone else. Because the consequences scare me on both sides. I'm afraid to listen. To be called upon. To heed the call. Sometimes there's no easy answer. Sometimes waiting is hard. So I kind of dance around the truth, not seeing the Truth dance over me. And the opportunity is lofty, high and I don't know if I can reach. But I guess it's just climbing. One foot in front of the other. Day by day.
I'm not entirely sure what I can at this point in my life - this very immediate point - bring to the table or even what table I'm attempting to bring something to.
Really, what I'm doing is prayerfully coming here because my heart is wildly experiencing something so brand new and it seems that maybe if I work it out here, something will come of it.
I have said that, for me, the thirties have brought into my life an element that I had not expected and maybe this is all the more true at this very moment. Because I am working out a new identity. And at the same time, asking God to be the one to work that identity out. And honestly, it's scary.
There was something very safe and comforting about the practice of contentment and quiet submission in my twenties. And now suddenly I find myself single but with children. This is not a slight thing. Because without the marriage part of mothering, a giant piece of what a woman has attempted to attain is now under question. Of course, my job as a mother is the same. But with the housewife role stripped, this woman within, flounders a bit for herself. And this, may be one huge reason against divorce. It is unnatural to the way of things in a family setting. And yet it is what it is. And here I am, mapping out this new course. Somehow. I'm barely touching the surface of it all because my mind has barely touched the surface of it all.
If the husband is to be the head of the household, the manifestation, in a way, of Christ's love for his wife (even if this was an unsuccessful endeavor) and he is then gone, then in many ways woman is now face to face with the real Christ and there is the Lord's face, asking the woman a question.
How can it be that I felt for so many years, that I was already walking alone with Christ and now that I truly am, feel that I must not have been, then before? Marriage served as a protection. Faulty, but there in its own sort of way. And now I totter, here, ungrounded, the world beckoning in its beguiling way as never before, the Lord in His quiet manner offering peace which surpasses all understanding. My flesh has risen to its occasion, if only with temptation and I feel compelled to say that Every Woman's Battle is not every woman's battle until it is. And I am not merely talking about sexual temptation. I am talking about the cry of the spirit to hide until these storms have passed and the skin prickling with whispers of freedom, forgetting that it is the truth which truly liberates.
I feel that as a Christian writer, my work will never be the same. That there will be more than ever, many who must turn their face as I speak, the words unable to penetrate, the experiences I have to offer, unrelatable to many. But still, I must write. Bring this struggle and its beauty to life on page and that requires a raw honesty that in actuality loses audience.
Brand new idols are showing their face,begging for worship and I have to choose, hourly now who I will serve. I also have to be willing to confess that this is the case. That new territory is being trudged and that though I know where my help comes from, there are times my hand reaches toward a mirage or a mirror.
And maybe, if I can bring this fight in its authenticity to this small table, in a minor way and with few gritty details but at least the essence, then I, myself, will find sustenance and perhaps, just perhaps, if it is God's will, one woman might find some little thing here which brings her closer to her Maker.
I have thought that this new life phase might mean the end of this one here. Because in the midst of a marital separation which looks to be permanent, I'm catapulted right out of the Christian mommy blog world - I feel. At least,hurled away from any housewife claim or title. So, I am an average what? now?
And what am I to say? Here?
"The language of religion is the vehicle of collective experience and it is meaningful only when it speaks of experience and addresses itself to experience." - Dorothee Soelle
I've tried very hard to be real even if at times I insisted on vagueness. And so, now, though thoughts are plenty, there's not much I feel I can liberally express. Except that, though one major piece of who I am has changed, the whole of who I am is still hid in Christ. I am admitting, confessing even, that the piece that's been shorn feels like a very big deal in terms of writing as a Christian. Not writing, in general, because elsewhere, I've been free to do that therapeutic, dark writing to work it out. But here, I had established a sort of something that I wanted and was true to its time. But it's all different now.
I want to speak as a Romanticist rather than a Realist but idealism gives way to how things are and so require a different language. I'm learning it. But I'm also steadfastly holding to my first love. Trying not to anticipate His body as my final judge and just hold fast instead to unconditional love.
So there you have it. A big confession. And maybe I am still to come here. At least, for today.
And I am still thankful:
- for knowing where to turn
- for knowing the author of my salvation
-for strength and honesty
-poetry, brilliant by True and Annika
-for children who still can somehow laugh because I can still somehow laugh
-the gift of teaching children
-friends who call because they care
-the babies learning Spanish from Dora - ha!
-the tools of recovery
-other's words which have helped me through