I awoke while it was still very dark, a time in which I generally love to rise and get started, my creativity at its highest point. It was not with a sense of joy, though, that I sat and stared out at the fluttering branches and fog rolling by. Through bitterness and anger I wallowed and waded, until after the sun rose.
Now the sun is far enough north that it shines on my face, bringing a smile. Two squirrels engage in Spring’s loudest call, chasing each other up and around the large cedar. Jays screech, and fly in acrobatic delight through the branches, on the rail, all around.
It was supposed to rain today, according to the weather forecasts. The clear blue of the sky says otherwise, at least at this moment.
I awoke with discontent, directed inward and outward, frustrated to the point of distraction at missed moments and lost opportunities. Beyond this, though, was a root of bitterness at past employment, feeling anger and anger at my anger, tired of dwelling in places past, wishing them all the best in part (my good part), wishing them ill and disaster in part (my not so good part). Thoughts of Viking rage, hordes of barbarians pillaging and laying waste, had an intriguing air. I awoke mad, frustrated, that my part was being carried on by others, that my suggestions which were rejected by everyone are now held as the model for activity. There is the pride that I was right, and anger that I wish they realized this earlier. I wish I was wrong then, and could now still take part, having made the mistake of ignorance and journeyed with everyone, rather than being an explorer who is pilloried for heretical proclamations. There is bliss in ignorance, and pain in discernment. For many years I sought to be a part, losing my way by saying what they are now doing. So, I was discarded and replaced. I was not offered inclusion in the new colonies. Instead, I was put in a well and lost in a foreign land. Others lead and step in, having robbed me they use my funds.
The root of bitterness bloomed before sunrise. Grasping and twisting, a noose on my soul, iron shackles over my heart. I rejected it and embraced it. Suffering under its hold, wishing for release. What could I do? It possessed my soul, my creative flow was gone, overwhelmed by a rising flood.
I made decisions, in my head, to watch my bitterness, to reject its voice, to listen also to what else was being said. I know in situations like this to look both inward and outward, willing to accuse myself, but now also willing to admit that what I feel is not purely my own sin. It is the way of discernment. Grace is lifted, peace is lost, doors which seem welcoming hide tigers. I pursue a thought, prompted by others, and suddenly the gates of hell are unleashed, telling me that what seems safe is not. So I flee and stay away from land which hold only bitter fruit.
I stop in the midst of the storm and stand. “Dear Lord,” I pray, “My heart is fallen, I need peace. Dear Lord, I need peace and light.”
I reach for my Bible, part of the tasks on my heart, but which acedia has tried to tell me are not worthwhile. In the sway of swirling chaos I reach for those tasks, hoping to assuage the storms within by distraction, a gentle and quiet answer to the prayer. I do, and it does. Maybe I should be better at ignoring acedia, and not require God’s pressing hand. If I were at peace and always well, very little would I do which I should do. For not knowing the end, I doubt the trail, and so God chases me.
The chaos dies, though winds remain. My heart is wary, cautious at itself and at topics which ignite infernos.
There is no place for bitterness, no room for raging discontent. A mature one could sift and understand what voices were saying amidst the storm, and in confidence hunt down the source and cause. In me, though, sin still has a place, and so my insight is clouded and my understanding is marred, unsure by where I stand and where reality speaks.
I cannot engage that which holds no peace. God is sharpening my focus, intent on my accedence. The road narrows as it is traveled down, becoming overgrown on all sides, leaving less and less ability to maneuver apart from the clear path.
The difficulty now is that I do not hold on to the victory yet. Joseph forgave his brothers, telling them truthfully that what they did was used by God for right and good. He said this while standing on the steps of Egypt, second in command of all the country. I only have faith, that what God has done will become a light to me and others. So, I wallow and lose sight, and must fight to hold on to that which Christ holds out to me.
I did fight this morning, and the day founded in bitterness has become something else. In listening to the whispers of the Spirit this week I did do what is right, I did find and give joy. Gentle nudging resulting in smiles and appreciation because I dropped my over analysis and sought to swim in the current of the Spirit. Only on the path can I stay this way, which is where I must stay.
In a lesser way I return to this this morning, letting my bitterness be exhaled with deep breaths, praying for peace and answers, letting God take the burdens off my shoulders, and trusting that despite what the world may say, all is indeed well.
The sun shines bright this morning. Branches sway in a cool breeze. Birds of all kinds sing and fly, squirrels are enraptured with each other. I sit here quietly, with nothing more than hope and faith. And so I write and do that which is right before me, trusting that at the end of my story it will be told that all was in God’s hands, and it was good to wait.