Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: April 2, 2004

evening

Rain drizzles, the wet greens of the forest bright and bold in artificial light. There is not the slightest bit of wind, only the tapping of rain on the roof, a jet flying over the mountains, water dripping from branches to growing pools on the ground.

Miasma. That was the day.

I tried to write all day, finding myself caught in noxious fumes. Finishing tonight a little farther along, somehow squeezing some juice from what remains. Still expectant, still hopeful, really, just feeling weight in my burst of noncreativity. It occurred to me this evening that if my faith is wrong, if my beliefs have no bearing on reality, then I’m really in trouble. Not just eternally, either. I’ve leaped headlong into this and the only way through to the end is for God to come and reach out to me, letting me land softly in his presence.

If there is no presence, I’ve nothing but a long fall. There is no hope outside of hope.

It is a muddy path I now walk, my feet are covered, my boots slip. I’m a little hungry. Only to the end, though, only to the end.

I wish I could speak of interesting tidbits, and fascinating facts of this day. It was none of those things, though sitting and staring out the windows gave pleasure, watching the rain come gently, raven soaring just feet above the street, by our window, and away out of sight. It was a day for staring and watching, and a little walking. Nothing else of note. I suspected this when I woke up, and felt content to stare and drifting flakes.

In my grasping for more, in my insistence on progress, the fumes arose, and from the miasma I had to emerge this evening. My pattern of prayer was disturbed without cause, though like with writing the only response is to continue on, and forget what is past.

I pray, I hope, I trust, I yearn, feeling an inner joy, arguing myself out of it, for it does not make sense. Moments during the day, I felt the rest, felt the peace, in my deep breaths and closed eyes. The more I embrace that side the more I shall be, though I worry in grasping after that I will lose even more of my connection with the wider world.

I have not yet decided, and the choice is ever before me. I know where the road goes, however, and I already miss what I leave behind. There is joy ahead, that is the promise, that is the goal. The meats and vegetables of the slave lands come to mind, and at the moment they are stronger. So, I shall pray, and then sleep, trusting that God will reach out and take my hand, pulling me through this void. “The best of all,” John Wesley said on his death bed, “is God is with us.” A lesson and truth I still am learning. I’ve walked far, and still have far to walk. Now for rest and restoration. G’night.

morning

Grinding of a trash track in action entered my dreams. I awoke to hear them for real, bothered for a moment at the early dissonance. Then I turned and opened my eyes, looking out my sliding door. Snow was coming down, light flakes covering the branches. Birds were about, fluttering around, the chickadees serenading while checking for bugs or seed. A raven croaked in the distance, then again farther away. It was cold last night again, and so I was not surprised to see a squirrel jumping on my balcony rail, eager for an easy and quick meal.

I feel the same anticipation I had the last few days, the unknown sense of something bearing on my soul. I want to stop and stare for long periods of time, letting the calm of the beauty outside fill my inner being, though that is not something I allow myself to do. Days could be lost, weeks. I awake not feeling like chasing after spiritual pursuits, though certainly not content with the mundane. Despite my feelings, I kneel outside, face west and pray for freedom, for guidance, and the same for those I know.

My fingers are a little numb now, it is cold in my room, I see my breath. I honestly don’t mind, this is likely the last taste of winter, it now peeking its way into the blossoms of spring.

I went to bed last night watching two fat raccoons climbing the cedar outside. I knew we had raccoons up here, I just haven’t seen them yet. Larger than the usual, their tails seemed shorter. They weren’t bothered by my stares, and I wasn’t bothered by their late night foraging.

Back to the tasks which have enveloped me these last couple of days. More writing, more praying, more hoping.

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