Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: April 26, 2004

evening

Unseasonably warm. That is what the news people said. Times like these are when I value my mountain life more, for last year I had to endure summer temperatures without the cool breeze, or without even an air conditioner. It was bad for my mind. Now, here, unseasonable does not mean unbearable. Much better for my mind.

When the pines were being cut down, the cutters did an admirable job keeping the collateral damage to a minimum. Small saplings underneath huge dead pines survived, the yard is filled with Spring growth. There was one accident. A large section of trunk was supposed to go one way, towards the street. It veered. The several hundred pound section sheared the side of a twenty foot fir, and split a seven foot tall black oak right down the middle. Once they were done cleaning I tried to do what I could, feeling sorrow for the trees. Life is always important, I think. There is more than a little bit of Ent in me.

I got some stuff which covers the wounds, and some special arbor wrap to put around broken branches. The fir was not badly damaged, just a few branches taken off. I covered the open wounds, and know it will be fine. The oak I had my doubts about. I did major surgery, wrapping the trunk after pulling it back together. Only a foot of it was not split. I wrapped some branches as well, restoring them as well I could. My hope was I got to it quick enough, and it would be able to manage.

Today, it was full of new red leaves, bud exploding with new growth. It isn’t the most vibrant of the oaks about, but the fact that it still lives is a miracle. It is a delight, and I pray it will be so for a very long while.

This was not my most succesful day. I try to have a list of what I want to get done, and have both a goal and a minimum. Today, I got done the minimum. I’m not sure why. Distractions, minor irritations, other tasks of import which took time away from my usual.

I feel like I am wrestling with new things, with new approaches, that a curtain has closed, and others are opening. And to be honest I’m not sure how I feel. This is not where I wanted to be at this point in my life, though maybe it is where I need to be.

Part of the trouble is there is no rest really. Unlike a regular monastic life I do not have either a vow nor a long term commitment, each day is one in which I feel I must prove myself, to try and forge a way. So, I have no ability to settle back and just be, no calm in which I relax. Well, not really. There are aspects which I do embrace, but it is not deep within my soul, the meditations are just enough to keep me from losing my way entirely.

There would be peace to know I have years to spend, but I do not know. I do not know the path, so I try and manage for all sorts of possibilities, keeping all options open, and thus not purely focused on any. Yet, I feel a certain sense of purpose. Something is driving me different, something has changed. I cannot yet grasp what it is, and feel uneasy and hopeful all at the same time.

morning

Some nights I enjoy sleeping. Last night was one of those, where it was delightful to pull the covers over myself, and fade away. It was restful, delightful, and waking up to a sunny Spring morning is delectable. Slight haze covers the rising sun, birds sing and fly around, new sounds (babies?) emerge from the branches, as do small red leaves from the more lively oaks. A chipmunk waves its tail as it basks in the morning light atop the woodpile, resting for a moment before moving on. This is going to be a warmer day, a taste of summer for a moment.

I realized yesterday that churches remind me a great deal of dating. Having committed I stay committed, only with difficulty breaking away. Bad experiences turn me off to the whole quest for a long while, though once I again explore, I enjoy it. To stay where it is not comfortable is often said to be a matter of commitment. That can be true, not always. Sometimes we should not stay in abusive or degrading situations, nor even stay where the fit is not right. Because a church exists does not demand our commitment. The commitment goes both ways, and we must learn to find that which fits our giving and our receiving. God never calls us to endure hardship without cause, the spiritual life is not one which assumes our unhappiness. Yes there are moments of sacrifice, moments of humility. No one has, however, ever benefited from following the lead of a fool or the lost. This is the importance of discernment, there are no set rules, only the rule of obedience to Christ and the Spirit, whose leadership is fluid.

Today I ponder my life, and the wrestlings of another with similar questions about Church, though in a significantly different place.

I wonder what I could have done in the past, how I could have fought to overcome the difficulties which seemed to bind me. Or, I consider whether the difficulties were not to be overcome because they were the hand of God steering me in a certain direction. Sometimes fighting against the issues which assail is fighting against the God who brings the issues. Until we hit the heart of the problems, return to the proper path, our fight is not a noble one. Hard to tell, for discernment in the situation is the only guide.

So, I continue to ponder, continue to debate myself, thinking I am on the right path, though feeling confused why the path is unfamiliar and not freeing. Yet, I continue on, not trusting myself, only the compass I have been given.

And learn to keep at the tasks at hand, while enjoying the beauty all around.

© 2022 Learning to Dance

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑