Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: April 8, 2004

evening

The stars are again bright tonight, before I see the moon rise high. All is still. All is quiet. To be honest, I am not particularly in a noticing mood tonight, my mind paints broad brush strokes, intricacy is missed.

There are explosions of activity, in which I think non-stop, on various topics at once, fully engaged, life is itself caught up totally. All the peripherals, my hopes and fears, fall to the wayside. Once I stop, though, it all catches up, and I droop like a flower past bloom.

My last week was like this, in apparent and unapparent ways. Tonight, after an intended day of rest which didn’t turn out to be that restful, I feel the droop.

At moments like these I must arrest my thoughts, stand against my leanings, and say I did what was right and good in the moment, contributing and doing all I could. That is all. And then I must move on.

This is the danger of a task oriented life, I revel in the task, then feel empty once done. I want both acceptance and ‘well-dones” while at the same time wanting to hide in my cave until everyone goes past. I feel vain and shy all at the same time, wanting people to know, wanting no one to know. Conflicting emotions all at once, making an uneasy heart, for with such conflict there can be no satisfaction.

I consider whether this is because I do not presently have an acceptable way to feast or celebrate. The season of course is against this, completely and absolutely, until Sunday. So liturgical I feel exactly as I should, I suppose… conflict, angst,…

As I’ve said before in other contexts, I can only do that which is on my heart, pursue what is before me, pray that God is continuing to work and lead. Whether trails go to the palace of peace or run into no where, stopping suddenly in the middle of a dark forest I still must follow as I’m told. For even the empty trails have meaning, meaning which I do not, maybe can not know. I only know my part, and I feel faithful in having done it in various ways. So, having done my part, I must continue to stand. Hoping beyond all hope, praying when there is nothing to pray for.

Tonight is the night when Jesus broke bread with his Disciples, including the one who would a few hours afterwards betray him to death. All was at peace at this moment, though Jesus knew what was approaching. He feared it, he was nervous, he did not want that cup. But he stood, continued to stand through it all, through all the night, through all the next day, through the grave on Saturday. The salvation of Christ came not when we would expect it, it came two days past when we thought all hope is lost.

A curious thought in our own trials. God saves, hallelujah, just often not when we think he should. I continue to run the trails before me, knowing God leads even when they disappear and I have to turn. There is nothing else.

Tonight we celebrate a false peace, anticipating both death and life. All is not as it seems, then or now. Makes one remember to keep one’s eyes on the prize.

morning

The trees are busy, well not the trees particularly, the birds in them. All sorts of birds, chirping and whistling, trilling and singing. For some reason all the small birds in the neighborhood are gathering in front of my window. I awoke earlier today, not as early as I would like, and lay in bed for an hour watching the chickadees, and juncos sing and eat, bouncing from branch to balcony in aerial delight. I walk outside and still the chickadees come, landing and eating within a few feet of me, not bothered in the least. I feel like a diner in the middle of nowhere which has just been visited by the bus full of hungry travelers. From empty booths to overflowing. I had to go and get more seed to put out. “More coffee,” the juncos seemed to yell. “Some pancakes here,” I swear a jay said. The sun is out, and peace is still in the air. My bird visitors have no cash, but they do sing for their food, and their songs are indeed wonderful on this spring morn. Cool mountain breezes waft by, carrying the scent of the forest through my open window. Ah… a delightful start to the day.

I awoke again last night a couple hours after going to bed. Not like the night before, however. No, I woke up and felt such a profound peace, as if some celestial being stirred me just to let me know that everything was okay. Thanks, I said, and went back to sleep. A couple hours later the same thing. I awoke, and felt like everything was perfectly right, all was at peace. Instead of returning to sleep I prayed for a while — something I always feel I should do when I wake up in the night, though I do not always do it.

This morning I feel the same peace, the same calm, my body is relaxed. I sit and stare outside with content, while at the same time excited to get started anew.

There are no particular theological insights, nor internal spiritual perspectives which come to mind right now. Just a restful peace, a continual feeling that everything really is okay. All is well, and I just have to keep taking the steps ahead of me. It is nice to bask in the valley of peace, the view is so pretty from here.

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