Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: March 23, 2004

evening

The light constant breeze whooshes through the trees, a whisper, though loud in the surrounding quiet. Planets are lined up, a bright line beginning in the western horizon. My sister-in-law just called, asking about a Kenny Rogers song. I have no idea why.

This day was one of those which make me likely to spend a long Saturday or Sunday catching up. I did no more than the minimum, and felt groggy throughout the day, weary to do more. Part of me wonders if it is just one more expression of a cold too long lasting. I don’t know. My mind stayed agitated, my soul found no peace in its reviews. Things lost and looked for remained lost, the only result being closets emptied, and now a mess to clean. It does reflect my inner self, so I will likely let it be until tomorrow.

Today was another day in which I feel myself being drawn back to some sort of community. It is not in my strength that I need those surrounding me, it is in my weakness. There are times, many times, in which I can bolster and encourage, then there are days like today when I need someone to help me get moving, to spur me to where I do want to be. I miss that today, as I always have. However, the difficulty remains the same… finding a community who are no more lax than I am, who I am not allowed to drift while at my low points.

I’m of that terrible sort that I will always live up to the challenge before me. If there is little challenge, I live up to that, and take on an emaciated sort of life. If it is a great challenge, beyond me even, then I come alive, finding joy and ruthless devotion to the task. In this I remind myself of Sherlock Holmes, who between cases would descend into some netherworld. I yearn to find a place where daily prayer, constant attention, openness and honesty can thrive. I am not catholic, nor do I hold to the theology which they insist upon, so a community of this sort is hard to come by.

It is not because I am stronger or better that I seek a more passionate focused place, it is because I know I need to be surrounded by likeminded men and women, who I can help with my gifts, and who can help me with my weaknesses.

That is not before me, so to lust after such is not worth the effort. I have what I have, and that means a more solitary quest at the moment. Learning to know Christ, and Christ alone, is a worthwhile, if difficult, pursuit. The road gets very narrow, and the way becomes steep. Yet he calls, and though I stumble and feel the pain of the effort creeping into my legs, I will get up and press on once more, finding in these kinds of days nuances of understanding.

The road becomes slow at its later stages, growth is almost imperceptible. Only by slogging on does it happen. There is no turning back. I just pray that tomorrow will be a day in which I feel the renewed strength of the Spirit within and around, finding inspiration, where as today I found only agitation. I will go to sleep earlier, and wake earlier, hoping by this to return to the schedule which is most helpful. I also, again, need to devote myself to prayer. I feel this is my next step, the call on my life, the wall which is before me. And with this I end the day.

morning

Clouds are covering the land, blocking out the rising sun. Birds are active, the wind is heavy. One could almost expect a storm to be coming. A small tree blooms in the distance, white flowers weighing down the branches, non-native and fitting all at once. Closer to my view is a squirrel foraging on the ground, running over pavement and dirt. They only visit my balcony on snowy, stormy days.

My agitation of last night, from internal doubt and external awkward communication continues. I awoke this morning praying for three specific people, whose lives are in points of stress. Surfacing as I continued to awake were thoughts stirred up like leaves in the wind, unmanageable, scattering. While last night I was wishing to understand the spirituality of it, understanding my role, this morning I am a wee bit more offended.

It takes my eyes off my goal. I awake this morning not with thoughts of how to pursue the creative life, how to progress in fiction or add another touch of spirituality. I awake instead agitated, distanced from my calling, forced back to engage the past of which I have moved beyond. My eyes were turned, and while I am willing to engage others with where they are at, I cannot lose sight any longer. I understand Antony in the desert.

I cannot be what others may want me to be. My goal is Christ, and those around me can aid me, or they can even give me rest and restoration, but I can’t be dissuaded anymore. I have no desire to return to Egypt, though I may have left friends there. There is only forward. I have friends who journey along, some who stay. For my own sake I have to keep my eyes on the prize, even if it means only me and Christ.

Today will be spent attempting to regain that which I lost, that which I lost because I am not yet strong enough to maintain my sight in storms.

I am young, spiritually immature, only having gone a short while along the Way. It is too easy to distract me, to tempt me, to pull me away, leaving me not with change, but with increasing confusion. For I know the path, and so today I must walk it again, come what may. I pray for peace, for strength, for wisdom. The road is unclear right now, and I have to trust Christ will bring it back into focus. There is nothing else.

I also have a bit of a stiff neck this morning, I must have slept in an odd position. God warns, of course, against stiff-necked people, so hopefully in all things I can move on.

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