Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: April 22, 2004


There is new space across my balcony, no longer filled with the reaching branches of dead pines. Instead I see a line of saplings, some getting quite tall. Well, really, two or three lines of these various trees; cedars, firs, and even a couple of daring pines. The heavy wind this morning rustled along these trees, making it seem a vertical ocean of green, ripples and waves forming in the wind, reaching upwards rather than across.

The bright sun which reflected into my eyes has been hidden by clouds now, white rushing across the blue.

I’ve developed a bad habit. I am going to bed much later than I should, which means I wake up much later than I want. At this point in the day I want to have significant areas of writing done, for the morning is my time of creativity.

There are aspects of staying up I like, for there really is no quieter time than past dark in the mountains. Only I am groggy and unfocused, not at my peak. I’m going to have to change my schedule and force myself into bed at a decent hour.

I woke up with a sense of how much a wider world we live in. The feelings of last night still resonate, with my impression as I fell asleep being how much is going on, how active the world around us really is in a myriad of ways.

In my peace there was much I felt that was not peace. A war rages, and we fight what we cannot see.

At times that is comforting, at times that is frustrating.


The day was very windy, the windsock flew up and off its hook, away from the house. I was able to finally get back on the water, with thirty knot gusts. It was a wet experience, to say the least, the bow ducking over and into the heavy chop, my hands losing their feeling in the cold water and wind. The waves went into my face as I paddled, and made a deepening puddle where I sat.

I needed this. Though my mind is not fully restored, this kind of sun and exercise will do wonders. Most likely I’ll wake up more eager to write than I have for a while, at least eager to write fiction. I’ve been busy with other forms, I suppose.

Spiritually, I am worn out. I earnestly want to hear from the Spirit. I eagerly want to find connection and purpose beyond this (though I’m not sure I should). Temptations of ‘elsewhere’ feel frustrating and oppressive. A person doesn’t have to know the way to get to Seattle to figure out that the 10 east is not going to get you there. That’s how I feel, really. I know the ways which aren’t right, only I’m not sure of what is the best. I have to wait. Those I trust are oddly supportive, my own soul gives me strength and inspiration in narrow directions. Outside these paths and I get confused.

We want this journey to be short, and even though we know it isn’t we still want it that way, expect it that way, pushing aside the greats of the past in their wisdom. Very little has changed between the NT times and our own, people are the same. The only difference is our perceptions as being advanced, of being worth more, of having more owed to us. This is sad because we waste away our longer years, trying always for the short term and quick results, always falling short of what we need.

This is, I think, because we have no real heroes of the faith. We have intellectuals, or we have salesmen, or we have kind hearted men and women. Not that I know of, at least. The bar has been lowered over the years. At least in this country. How I yearn to study under someone who has gone the distance. To rest in the presence of someone I trust.

The Evangelical life is frenetic, full of work and duties which drain, earning our salvation by doing the right tasks. If a person retreats from this, there is nothing remaining.

I feel that frustration, feel the need for wise direction, without having an outside voice to hear my heart. There are kind people about, just none to whom I can share and who really listens. So, I learn to stay quiet, bifurcating my soul into deep and shallow. This tension I could not maintain so constantly, and so I retreated from the world as I’m told it should be.

The only wisdom I have is that I am on the right path. Only no one, outside my immediate family, accepts this. They urge me elsewhere, and cause me confusion. I want this path to reveal itself, not turn and quit and go elsewhere, always wondering.

These voices I cannot listen to anymore, shadows of answers without the reality serve only to distract. I learn still what it means to say to live is Christ, and tonight I weary of this learning. God hid the path from me so many years ago, for had I known this journey I would not have started.

The kicker, however, is that the end is where I need to be. I’m committed, and it is either finding an end on this path or finding nothingness. Joy awaits, I know and am told. Peace and joy. For those things much can be temporarily sacrificed. That’s the story of the resurrection. First the death, then the prolonging of the death. And then, on that Sunday morning, the First Day, everything changed in an instant.

This is what we live out in our own lives, if we trust.

So, why do I like to write? Because it leads me to where I need to be as well. It cracks open those locked doors and reveals a measure of light.

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