You know those mornings you wake up raw? When the dawn fails to bring the promised new mercies. When the new day reminds you of your failures, your fear, your competition, your inadequacy. The mornings that begin far too early, when the night still holds promise for some. The mornings that are wrong.
Where do we go? The coffee isn’t enough, a false hope. Writing, praying honoring the centeredness, rawness still persisting. The marathon’s twentieth mile, the long slog to the finish line of bed, pillow, down comforter.
And then the voices start. Yammering reminiscent of the Trumps, Falwells, Grahams. Like a Congress gathering in my head – an obnoxious committee doling out hatred, rhetoric, fear. Whispers of hope and mercy, beauty and accomplishment don’t stand a chance, unable to rise above the noisy cacophony. Each party yowling for their cause, demanding my assent, my compromise to their bellowing call. Demanding I live scared.
My faith, my beloved Christianity has been hijacked by lies and extremism. Islam, the beloved faith of Muslims, also hijacked by lies and extremism.
The weight of the world threatens to stay awhile, unpacking suitcases, hanging clothes, drawing a bath. I am oftentimes far too polite, offering a cup of strong coffee, small talk, scone. The fear weasels through protective barricades, finding the low part of the fence, that part with the relaxed security.
What is the answer? Surprisingly, silence.
December 3 reading in my Celtic Daily Prayer book:
It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of Him in whose image he is created, is silence, solitude – in a word, the desert.
True silence is a suspension bridge that a soul in love with God builds across the dark, frightening gullies of its own mind, the strange chasms of temptation, the depthless precipices of its own fears that impede its way to God.
True silence is a garden enclosed, where alone the soul can meet its God. It is a sealed fountain that He alone can unseal to slake the soul’s infinite thirst for Him.
Silence, the gift waiting. Silence, the gift available, free.
The risk – my insignificance revealed. My insignificance the springboard for recognizing how loved I am, just as I am. To be loved and called by God is a reckoning with our smallest self. Once my smallness is reset, my fears laid to rest, my Big Things resigned I can settle into grace.
Anymore, fewer and fewer days are entirely given over to the voices. I’m learning to nip the hollering early, chopping the committee off at their knees. Today I called upon the restoring power of the community pool, summoning the will to plunge into the chilly water, lap lane ropes holding me safe. My arms pumping and pulling, legs and feet fluttering…one, two, breathe. Oxygen gulped on the threes lining my body throughout. Life-giving, mind restored, issuing stillness and peace. Joy’s path and hope’s flow renewed.
It is my choice if I pick it all up again. Do I pull myself up by my proverbial bootstraps and steamroll my way into the day, or do I stay small?
Do I confess my own notions of greatness, rightness, significance?
Or do I shrink into the heart of God, allowing from my smallness, the work of God to flow out of me, surrendered, grateful, resting?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40528219@N00/3551987474″>Swim training 14</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>