Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: April 7, 2004


The night is gorgeous, many stars shine, the moon rises late tonight. All the constellations are clear, none more so than the Dipper, which lies outside my window. A dog barks, nervous, it sees something. There are many things to see in the forest at this time, most of which do not want to be seen.

It was a dog barking which woke me up last night. My dog, barking wildly, then the door downstairs opened, I heard my dog attacking something through the screen door, wild and ferocious. I sat up, awake now, all was quiet and still. A dream, a very vivid dream. I got up, checked around, made sure it was just a dream. My whole being was alert, and I could not go back to sleep.

I tried. I read, and got sleepy, turned out the light. Minor irritations sprang into my mind, more serious than they are, glaring to me in the moment. I would wake up, read some more, turn out the light Frustrations kept my mind going, I tossed, then turned the light on again. Try a different book, Gibbon is too serious, Douglas Adams might be better. Same pattern. The light goes on, I check my email. Amuse myself by looking at the news websites. Not amusing, the frustrations glare some more. I realize the irrationality of my irritation, feeling anger I do not want boiling inside. I go downstairs, turn on the light, turn on the TV. Magnum P.I. is on, serious and funny. I watch a moment, have a bit of cheese, feel my soul easing, and go back to bed. After a half an hour more of Adams, I turn out the light, and wake up at 9:30, groggy.

This is the thing, I never dream. I even more rarely will dream something vivid and negative. It may not be the case that something more, something hidden is happening in a world outside my own, but it feels like it is. Something tries to break in, something fierce and deadly. It must be fought, continually. Whether a reality or just a lesson I am drawing from a peculiar night, it is worth learning.

There is so much we cannot see, so much we do not know, so much that is outside our own story yet affects us in a vital way. We walk half-blind, half-aware, because that is our part. None are to know the whole story, so we must act our parts as we do know them.

Faith is the realization of this broader story, and acting out our part even though we neither know the end or even most of the middle. Scriptures tell us much of the beginnings, to be sure, but even they leave much too much out. It’s a funny thing to know you are in the dark, to know that you will never know the whole of the story. It is my prayer that I do my part, for myself, and for others who are affected by my part.

Scattered ramblings to be sure tonight. My mind is a little weary from much consideration of the crucifixion, all week in writing, and tonight seeing again The Passion of the Christ. There is so much to that story, too much to get our hands around, too much to ever really grasp. We don’t know why it happened. We just know it did. The wrestling with the why is a task for a lifetime, and a lifetime of delight and wonderment if so lived.

I think I’m past the time for insight. May I sleep the night, and wake up early, just not as early as I’ve been.


A wonderful wind makes it very cool in the shade, a bright sun makes it warm in the light. Birds fly around, not the early ones to be sure, for I woke up and am about late today.

Wide awake at 12:30 am, last night, after going to bed. I stay awake until 4. No reason. So, my day starts now when I prefer to be halfway done. I’m not sure what was going on.

So, no inner contemplation at this moment. I want to go on and ahead, make up for lost time.

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