Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Silence

For so long, a deathly silence. Whys piled on whys. Why won't You rescue me? Heal me, love me? Speak to me; give me one moment when I know for sure what You are. But He never spoke.

The whys that I ask myself. Why won't you accept the proofs that you are given? The little things, the "God things"? (How I hate that phrase, said by people who never asked for more.) People stood around me, holding their breath, watching. "Surely she'll see it our way now," they said, "believe like we do." The god in my head was as arrogant and manipulative as them - wanting to control me. So I kept silent, terrified of what it would mean to give in yet again.

I cannot pray. I cannot pretend anymore. I don't even know what I want; all I know is what I need - something real, a word that speaks to my soul.

Layers drop away. Before, did I even know I had a soul? Did it belong to me? Did I know who it was, what it wanted? My life becomes a gleaming silence of not-pretending.

* * *

I've been wondering if God's silence means something different than what my old paradigms claimed. Did He refuse to rescue me, or was it a refusal to coerce me? Was it a refusal to speak, or was He refusing to batter me with arguments? Did He remain perfectly still, knowing that I, with my finely tuned intuition for what the other person wants me to do, would predicate all my behavior on what I thought He wanted of me - would never be myself?

Perhaps His silence is a quiet waiting, a peaceful patience. There are no requirements in it, no limits to it. I am allowed to be safe. I am allowed to make choices on my own. I reach out my fingers to this silence; I weave it around myself. I am in a cocoon of sweetness and color and warmth. A voice within it breathes, "I am here, and I require nothing of you but what you give of your own free will - however little or much."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia.

I tend to think (along with many other Christians) in terms of questions and answers. I've been framing my current quest in that way - saying I have questions for God, I'm looking for answers. But today I was thinking to myself, it's not so drily intellectual. My questions don't even need words. I could lay out all the objects, the real tangible items, of my case: my body, the facts of my life, the real minutes that I have lived. And these courtroom exhibits would ask, "What were You thinking? Are You crazy?" And like the questions Job asked, these aren't really questions - they're accusations.

It annoys me when people talk as if the Christian life can be settled with propositional truth. I'm fed up with people saying to me that God is good and everything's going to work out, as if their words (which are definitely true, in an empty-shell kind of way) can put back together the pieces of a smashed soul.

So today in church, one of the phrases in the liturgy all of a sudden meant something. After communion, we thank God "for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom."

The assurance comes not from cut-and-dried logic, but from "holy mysteries." The phrase meant something because I've experienced it. My healing is not coming from doctrine hammered over and over into my head. It's coming from "holy mysteries" like anointing oil and communion elements and statues and stained glass and tiny, gleaming candle flames and music and ancient creeds that my tongue delights to say, because in this tangible holiness my body, heart, and mind are meeting at some mysterious nexus, and my soul is being knit back together.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Against the Darkness

Who gets to tell you who you are?

The one Who said "Let there be . . ."

You woke up sick and stayed in your pajamas, putting in half a day on your laptop,
And the sunlight burst into every inch of the pink-walled room
and sank into your bones.

And then what else happened?

Ran into an angel at the library yesterday -
An acquaintance really, but somehow she saw
You
And inside her God was carried like an exploding sun inside a lantern.

Some voices tell you to hate yourself;
You'll never be good enough, do it right, deserve good things.

But then when you got out of your car there were more stars
Than there ever were in your whole life put together
Orion peeking over the trees
And stars you didn't see before because it wasn't dark enough or clear enough
There are so many stars.
Big and bright ones, shooting stars, tiny ones,
A little handful of pinpricks suddenly discovered
In an inch of sky
These stars, these stars

Singing into your ears the truth of who you are.

Don't let any other voice drown them out.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I like reading Ecclesiastes.

It says there is a season for everything. Sometimes things are bad, and sometimes they are good. Different responses suit different events. It's a peaceful thought. I get tired of black and white - things are always this way! Or always that! Always do this! Here's the answer, all the time!

Not so, saith the Teacher. Sit back, evaluate the situation, decide what to do. Eventually things will change whether you want them to or not!