Someone is hammering. The echo of the pounding carries in the quiet. Too early for such noise, someone with little awareness of others at their tasks. What is of real note is something else. I see, nor hear, any birds. One jay, just a moment ago, came to my balcony, then he left. No birds before or since. That is it. What has been a busy time for the past few days, has now become silent and still. There is no activity, but for the hammering, and the light breeze that blows. Hazy clouds to the east blur the morning light, though do not block it. It is cool, and it, of course, is beautiful.
I wake today with a conflicted sense. Only problem is I do not know the conflict. I feel a bit restless, and feel creeping lack of focus. There is only one way through these, of course, and that is diligence in the tasks at hand. Which I will get to, only at this moment I search deeper.
One of the greatest measures of the spiritual life is to learn to really be content only with God’s favor. We live our lives trying to please and hoping that someone in a bit of authority will look kindly on our efforts and help us with that which we want. To view only God in this light, however, is a task for the mighty and courageous, maybe even foolhardy. How would we live if God was our only source of affirmation? If only God could confer the satisfaction we desire? Much differently then we do, I imagine.
That is learning what it is to be aware only of God in our lives, to look only to him and let that gaze and purpose work out the rest of our existence. With our eyes fully on God, looking to please only him, satisfied only if He is satisfied, the rest of the ‘good works’ will occur. It’s why Mary had the good part, and Martha was corrected.
Saying this is one thing. Letting my soul rest only in God is another. For I want to impress, with differing reasons, I want others to smile upon me and say, “well done.” When this does not happen, when I am ignored or dismissed, I lose heart. That should not be. There is only God and me.
God is a difficult sort, however, in that he is loving and demanding. He is the Face, as James Loder would put it, who never goes away, and yet for many seasons it appears he does just that. So we look to others to be that face, and always, as Loder did put it, we will be disappointed by these others, because they bear a burden that only God can sustain.
Whether in career, in romance, in any aspect of our lives, we substitute God, intentionally sometimes but usually not. We are sincere in our words, just not in our hearts. That’s the trick of learning the depths of the Spiritual life, matching our heart with our words.
Of course, the other side of being dependent only on the favor of God will come if we misunderstand God and his being. Then, our ties cut off from the opinions of others, we can easily drift into some nether region of heresy and cult leadership. So, there’s a balance to be found, interacting and learning with others, while dependent only on God. Open and closed all at the same time.
May God help me to find this balance, not just in my mind, indeed with all my being.