Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Month: May 2004 (page 2 of 7)

morning

I always have wanted to be included in a musical. Not a stage musical, not a movie musical, walking down down the street kind of musical, where for some reason I start singing about my relationship woes, or happy thoughts, and everyone around joins in on the chorus, choreographed dancing over parked cars, people emerging from buildings, then finishing and everyone returning to their respective business.

In college my roommate and I choreographed a sword fight, using bats rather than swords, lasting about five minutes or so, complete with jumps, rolls, and use of living room furniture. One night when a group of friends were over we got into a minor spat, and with rather good fluidity merged into beginning our choreographed fight and going through it while the group of people sat stunned. Their faces were worth the effort. Ah, the good times.

I think these thoughts because I looked out a different window today, towards the new neighbor’s house, or rather the neighbor’s new house. The forest creeps to the concrete in their backyard. There was a flicker pecking along the ground. A squirrel came up the hill from the west. Then a jay flew into the scene, then another, then another, then another, all interested in the ground, finding bits of seed or bugs. From the south side came a chipmunk, darting up, then around. Another one came from the north. Flicker, squirrel, jays, chipmunks, chickadees in the trees, all within one scene. It felt a Disney cartoon come to life, I kept waiting for them to break into song.

They didn’t. Instead they just kept on their individual ways, paths which merged in the dawn light on a small patch of wild forest hillside.

The day itself is warmer, or at least without the cool strong breeze. A little change of pace from our wintery past few days. I like them both, a little of cold, a little of hot, keeps the mind fresh.

There is a fluidity to the spiritual life which I was never taught. Always it has been expressed in static forms, clear foundations built with established layers. I consider this, and consider how similar the spiritual training I have experienced matches modern architecture. Functional, blocky, useful and without character. Lots of cinder blocks, and standard shapes.

There is not much fluidity. Then with postmodern architecture we get a lot more creativity, function exists, with the understanding that form doesn’t have to be sacrificed. There can be flair, distinction, while retaining even more accessibility.

The spiritual life as I am learning it is almost entirely a fluid experience. Of course, the Spirit is not revealed by images of rocks, or bricks, or ponderous beasts, or settled concrete. The Spirit, difficult to define, is revealed in a dove, fire, wind, water. Fluidity, adeptness, litheness, which the blocky patterns of our established ways do not always mirror.

Not to say all must be sacrificed. Rather, taking the lessons and wisdom of the past we must continually learn what it means to live as a Christian in this era, to be Spirit people now, rather than having to transform into ancients, or more likely, 50s folk.

I also was thinking about swords this morning. A few years ago I was asked to bring an object to a group meeting and share how the object symbolized me. I brought my sword (a copy of Excalibur… at least I think it is a copy, otherwise I’m the king of England). I forget my exact words, they were along the sentiments of being sharpened, a tool for God. I talked for a while then, so I said a lot more which relates. The sword image came into my mind as I sat looking out at the dawning sun, that very sword in the corner of my eye.

Ignatius wrote to some early Christians facing persecution, “Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten.” Anvils are beaten when swords are made, the metal being heated to the point of becoming maleable, then pounded into shape. Thrust into water they are cooled quickly. The best swords go through a very long process, heated, folded over, cooled, heated, becoming enormously stronger through the continued manipulation of elements, fire, water, steel, iron, all going into forging a well tempered blade. This art is far beyond my ken, but I appreciate the work.

So too the spiritual life, only we have become experts at producing cheap blades, blades which break, which shatter under pressure and force, which are weak in battle, inflexible, brittle. The art of making the perfect blade has been lost, along with many of the other classic arts. We do not even know what we should strive for anymore, what we should expect.

Yet God does. He leads and guides, manipulating us like blades being forged, the best blades taking the longest time.

Our call is to stand firm, to wander the paths he leads us down, without expectation of continued bliss, without wavering in times of darkness.

We are also called to submit to that which we do not understand, and walk directions which don’t seem right, until we reach the destination. That is the call of obedience, the task of faith being acted out in our lives. To take the next step as it presents itself, following the instincts of the Spirit within, trusting our prayers are being answered. God says ‘no’ much less than we think, more usually giving directions to go, and we thinking they lead nowhere. That’s where the fluidity comes in. Antony lived in a cave for twenty years, a task no one would say is the path to Christian spirituality. Yet God led him, and he has influence millenia of Christians, whether they are aware of his influence or not.

God leads down paths which are clear, then takes us on paths which are not so clear. That is the path I’m on to be sure. Only in following his lead, however, do we reach that end he ordains, that prize for which he calls us heavenward in Christ Jesus, a prize which is not only found in eternity in heaven, but can be grasped in eternity now, if we walk the trail, wherever it may twist and turn.

Ignatius also wrote, “It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality.” That is the goal, that is my task for which I am even presently being forged, through fire and water and waiting.

evening

All day it was sunny, windy as well. Blue sky was mingled with a bare mist, more a scene of northern California than southern.

Then evening came, and the fog rolled in, billowed in, streamed in. Long before the sun set, one’s breath became visible. Not something one would expect so near the Solstice. I do love the mountains, there is a respect for what weather should be. At night it becomes cloudy, the seasons make themselves known, cool breezes accompany a warm sun, there is surprise in what will come.

The frantic feeling continued, a new nuance revealed itself. It was present, but I hadn’t put my finger on it. Something sinister. I don’t know what. That was the feeling, the trepidation of expectation, on guard, alert for what will come. Either something here or something near, I don’t know why, only I know the feeling. It was the feeling in which I would have been surprised to have anything happen to family or friends, but not at all surprised to see something tragic on the news.

There was nothing, though this doesn’t mean there was really nothing. All the day I felt a burden to pray, to stop, even if for a moment, and say a few words.

I remain the same, the same watchfulness, awareness that not all is at it seems. I could be wrong, it could be a bit of high blood pressure, or differently expressed depression.

I remember feeling like this the night LA erupted in riots back in ’92. I had a good youth group then, I was a student leader of sorts. I left the group in a bit of a fog, disturbed in mind and soul, when I found out what was going on, what confirmed my inner self, I came back, and asked a few others to pray with me for a while. We did, about five of us, for a very long while.

If I had a group tonight, one I could trust, I would do the same. And I don’t know why. The news says nothing.

And I know that in my more recent contexts this would have been an impossible task, community in name only, not when it shows itself to be real.

So, I sit here, type, and distract myself. There are no fires creeping over the edges of the hills, nor panicked citizens fleeing downtown. I could easily doubt, and dismiss. Or I could sit and pray a while, letting myself feel what it is all around, and responded to what I know even if I can’t see.

The latter is really the only worthwhile choice.

And curiously, again I find the internet connection to be broke. I write this tonight, and will post it tomorrow.

If this is the sinister event, then that’s nice, only I feel the vibe has gone a little overboard.

morning

A chipmunk scurried over the woodpile, through the branches of fir and cedar saplings bunched together, down to the ground, over by the stairs. He scurried along, out of my view, looking intent, purposeful. I wondered what he was up to. So, I got up, scurried away from my desk, by my bed, to the my stairs. I continued down, past the couch, looking out the front window, to see if maybe he was getting a drink. He wasn’t. So, I continued on, into the kitchen, and looked out. There he was, gamboling with two friends. The three darted about, up and down stairs, to the deck, off the deck, by a cedar, away, nibbled on some grass, dug in the ground, chased each other, paused to eat some seed. Three, maybe a family, small chipmunks, thin tails swishing when they stopped in the sun, their black and white stripes easily seen. Good fun.

I woke up feeling frantic. Not terribly so, just a little darting around myself, much like the chipmunks. The internet connection wasn’t working, an early bother I did not bother with, letting me focus more exclusively on the present tasks. Which I did, most effectively.

I don’t know why I feel this way, driven to move forward, driven to attack the present issues, come what may. It is like a fire has lit, and I’m pressed forward, with or without my accession.

So, that is my present state as well, moments of consideration interrupted by other tasks, such as overdue yard maintenance , drive me back. Coffee, thickly made, also encourages the state. Ah, but it will be a day of progress, methinks.

evening

When the forest is bathed in an encroaching mist, lit by the setting sun below the horizon, it is a mystical scene. It speaks of times before time, and I don’t know why. I feel drawn into it, entranced, in awe.

The gentle breeze blows, the mist shrouds any light. I feel the scene in my soul.

Maybe this is it, or maybe it is something else. I feel the encroaching acedia biting my being. It wants to take hold, seize me in its smothering embrace. All day it sought me, all day I went from one task to the next. Learning, exercising, keeping my body and mind moving despite the enervating force.

I consider again what it is I am doing, and feel again that all there is to do is carry onward, do that which I know to do, that which will again occupy weeks. Other tasks loom distant, presenting themselves, though not fully, whispers, hints, which raise expectations without yet being revealed as anything more than shadows.

I grasp, and what I take hold slips through my fingers. My heart exults, then drifts down to earth. I feel the way Wesley noted when I consider standing outside in a prayerful pose. There is no relationship there, not really. I do, because it is right. My heart connects with God only through the translation of others. I consider whether this is a sign of artificiality on my part, or whether God only presents himself to me through the eyes of fellow believers. Alone, staring into the mist, I see nothing, feel nothing which speaks of friendship.

That doesn’t detract from my yearning, my seeking, for I know enough to say that God is likely drawing me ever onward. There is contentment in the presence of God resting. There is delight in experiencing in full the wonder of the divine. Enough so that we stay. We do not know what to do with joy, so we squander it. And God knows how easily we can become amused, so he distances himself, letting us seek him in the only way which works, through the emptiness, through the unsated thi

Ah, but the call upon us does not guarantee utter delight. None of whom I’ve read speak those words through their lives. Not David, not Wesley, not Mother Theresa.

So, I feel as I do, without letting these feelings burden me with a false sense of reality. This is the reason for always keeping one’s eyes on the goal. Only understanding the end can make the path worthwhile.

morning

Light mist blew west along the driveway, thin and ethereal, the trailing edge of fog gone by. Now only the barest fog remains, an organdy sheet laid softly on the land, disturbed in the breeze. In the distance someone saws, or does another kind of work which entails loud whining machines. I remember my urban suburban days, where daily on some point of the compass there would be such sounds. Now it is a rarity, and I am glad for the fact. Whining noises and wind chimes, the bane of this present world, introduced noise pollution which no one seems to mind, only these same people don’t know the delight of hearing the wind shake the leaves of an oak, or stir the needles of a fir, whistling and whooshing, a quiet symphony of trees.

It is a beautiful song sung in a world which has no longer an ear for such music, and thus must add raucous beats, discordant dings. and grating choruses. Personally, I have a wind sock, which tells me of the wind with a little dance and swish of fabric, a swish which joins in the music already playing through the trees.

Spring continues, a real season here in the mountains. I notice we get all the seasons, with none overbearing.

Justification. That’s what’s on my mind. It’s a spiritual term, one of those big words that people like to throw out to impress and convince. I’m considering it this morning, but not with its theological implications. No, I’m much more earthly now, more worldly in my thinking. One of the hardest things about this present life is not the absence of cash coming in, or the distance from friends, or any of the other sacrifices. It’s justification. Before others, before myself, that is. The whole assumption being that God is the source of that, the real source. Only with a lacking faith, my mind turns more to others at times than to God. I want to prove myself, to show everyone, to show myself, that what I do I do for a reason, a good reason.

So I wrote a lot, trying to convince people of my reasons for retreating to a mountain cell, writing to convince myself that I was not doing this out of flagging ambition or stifled assertion. Most of the others weren’t convinced, and I waver in my own belief.

There is a place for the focused pursuit of God, I believe, where being an adult means being mature before Christ, not proving to this world how I can do exactly what 99% of people accomplish. Maybe that’s my issue, I don’t feel a need to prove myself, or I don’t most of the time, so I’m happy to do that which brings real progress in my soul, in my spiritual state, willing to let loose the security of this present world to grasp ahold of that which is eternal.

Others who feel a need to prove, look disprovingly on me as not playing the game rightly. Assuming my reasons are what theirs would be in retreating, the feared show of weakness, the abhorred reality of incapability.

That is the case, and yet at moments of confusion, at times in which I stumble, I feel the weight of justifying myself. I know, of course, knowing myself, that the real challenge is not others… it’s me. The person who had dreams of a federal judgeship while in college, who planned for many years the precise path, working at the foundations. Or the person who came up with what, I think, were some rather nifty ideas about church, who found himself dialoguing with some great thinkers and influencing thoughts, knowing that given the right context he could make a real mark in the church world. That person found frustration along those paths, the heavy hand of God leading and guiding, and yet not removing the inner ambition, the drive to have a voice.

Now, voiceless, influenceless, without any aspect which one could admire or respect, living what many would think is the worst reality for someone of my age and education, I struggle to show that my ambition has redirected, become more attuned to the Divine. I struggle because I myself rebel, doing those little things which assert my independence, when in reality my only freedom will come in completely letting go.

I feel the need to prove myself, to myself, to those who doubt. At the same time I realize this need is precisely against my higher goals. Only when I let loose my demand to justify myself will I find the contentment which eludes.

I know in my mind what I cannot achieve in my heart. So the dissonance arises, stifling any expression, making me unsuited for either reality. Ah, but at least I know what battle to fight. That is something. I hope.

evening

My oak in front is doing well. Split in half, and reconnected, it now displays full leaves of green. My cedar in back is not doing as well. I was least worried about it when the cutting ended. Only a few branches were twisted, some gashes in the side. I scraped on some tree sealer and moved to more damaged saplings. It is now the most sickly, branches droop, pale instead of bright green, some brown. I’ve taken to watering it, I shall do so more regularly. We’re in a drought up here, not supposed to water anything. I’ll break the rules, for if it grows it shall be such a well placed tree.

The evening is cool, my breath billows out. I notice the fir tree, once hidden by the cedar next to my window reaching out its light green shoots. The firs have blossomed with the pines gone, making a strong case that this shall be a fir forest. The cedars all look thirsty, the firs look eager.

This day ends. Thoughts again tease and run away before I can catch and document them. I sit and stare at my floor, trying to recover my intended topic. Ah, well… they seem to be gone. They usually try to come back in the morning.

morning

There are three wires strung across the driveway, leading to some houses behind my own. I have known they were there, acknowledged their presence, especially when various tree cutters came, and even more when SoCal Edison came. These power wires strewn across the driveway saved us around $7000. This morning, however, I noticed them. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the way the bright sun reflected off their dull black in an unusual way. Maybe it was a unique breeze, or heavy unseen bird, making the wires sway more than surrounding branches. Usually they retreat into the surroundings, there and not there. Of all the beauty outside they catch my eyes, and now I can’t seem to focus on anything else. It is harder now, really is, for the sun is hidden behind haze, the wind now blows the branches more than the wires (or the bird has flown away). They are there, only now they blend in with the perspective. Curious. My eyes drift now back to the cedar, and the more active fir next to it.

I realize there is likely a spiritual analolgy here, only I don’t write this for that reason. It is just my wandering eye this morning. My fingers are numb, it is cold.

A new bug is biting this morning, or rather an old annoying bug which feels less annoying. I had a look at Greek this morning. Just a look. A look and a thought that it feels right and good to have further looks, regular gazes in fact.

I’ve never been one to enjoy language studies. This distinguishes me from being a real intellectual, I realize. This realization is one of the two points which helped steer me away from further academia at this point… the other being my distaste for politics and aware that half of academic life is politics, if not more.

But, I’ve always been good at languages. When I put in the time, which is what I don’t generally want to put in. In seminary I had to study Greek and Hebrew. Greek I know better because I studied it as an undergrad, only it has again drifted away because that whole time studying thing. When I have a use, I use it. Like when I was leading a ministry. I studied greek every week, translating Philippians as we went through it. It’s just not fun, nor a hobby — which I think is a mark of a true academic.

Something has bitten me, or at least maybe I see vague purpose again. Knowing the original languages has a wonderful aspect, for what we read in English is not always what was said, for interpretation is a major part of translation. This is especially true in Hebrew. So, I consider also getting my hebrew out again as well. That would require more grammar studies, for my taste of Hebrew has been less and more distant.

Part of this, I realize, is my own drive towards understanding, a drive mixed with an inherent passion for independence. I want to study what I want to study, for my own reasons, not to impress someone who can get me a better recommendation. Too much learning has limited itself to academia in our era, I think. That is a vocation, not a possessor of knowledge. The church has always been led by knowledgable people outside of the halls. And, as Peter Stuhlmacher said once in a statement which struck me as strong as Antony overhearing the story of the rich young ruler, “The salvation of the church will not come through academia.”

This, though, does not make an excuse for anti-intellectualism. Rather, I think intellectualism needs to find expressions outside the academy, where the knowledge can be pursued for its own sake rather than for vocational advancement. What can a scholar do if not being weighed down by the need to impress, yet still retain the same degree of purpose and passion for quality? I don’t know. It’s a picture we do not see much in our era.

evening

The day was gorgeous, and for a Saturday fairly quiet. I made my way through Gibbon a bit more, finding Diocletian not to be such a bad character. Now a church history tells a different tale, of course. Birds were animated, flying about, an aviary all around. I was delighted to see a short article on the Flicker in this months National Geographic, and even more delighted to see a real flicker landing in the branches of a small oak, and then pecking along the ground.

Standing outside for a while, I watched. Nothing in particular, just watched. And found myself apparently a little more acceptable. There was a bird bath two feet away from me. A squirrel came while I was standing there and drank for a good long while. I’m not yet able to feed them from my hand… it takes time. No sermons either, though I did chat with a particularly noisy jay.

I didn’t get away as much as I thought, returning to other tasks for a while, moving forward when I said I wasn’t going to try. Ah, well. It feels right, and I don’t feel quite able to settle down and relax. There is a strong sense of preparation, work, constant movement in a direction I do not know. I have no vision of the end, only I feel constantly driven to seek it out, to do those things which advance the cause. Maybe this is because I have a meditative life built in. Looking out the window, sitting quiet for a moment watching the wildlife.

This afternoon I was thinking about calling, about purpose and direction, how God leads to unusual places, by unusual paths. I think it is easy to see what he is doing and not accept it, to say, “no, how about something else.” Only there is no ‘something else’, we have to take what comes. Then we are frustrated, not because we don’t hear the voice of God, because we delude ourselves into thinking we don’t hear the voice of God, but we do, and don’t like what God has to say. It is easier, then, to blame God’s silence, his lack of answers, rather than settling back and accepting the answers which come.

I wonder if I have been guilty of that in times past, always looking out in another way. This all now is me throwing up my hands and saying ‘come what may.’

That’s the trick really, that and faith. Our faith tells us the measure of our response, if we will step out because we completely trust in that which we do not see. If, though, we settle into trusting only that which we do see, those worlds which await stay hidden, grasped only when we fight the giants who can be vanquished after all.

I say this because I wrestle with the words of others, those who don’t feel the consuming presence, who don’t feel that which drives and leads. I do to such a degree that I cannot escape it, and can only embrace it… though I may be wrong of course. I wonder if people do feel the same call, the same leading, and yet have a stronger draw to hold onto that which justifies in this present world. Or, maybe there is a distinction, some are called to different roles which allow for less flexibility in response, and thus God’s hand is much stronger in setting the path.

It is a mystery, and always will remain such, for as Aslan told the children, the story of others is not theirs to know.

morning

The sun burst into my room this morning, like a early surprise guest, boldly claiming it was here, and asking what’s for breakfast. Such a different day than yesterday, the greens reflect the light, the blue sky a sharp contrast to the dark forest colors. Birds sing spring songs, cheerily at their tasks. A little breeze gives movement to all around, bringing with it the smells of trees alive and growing. Jays seems more content today, less screeching, more quiet chatter, exploring the branches, and my balcony.

A few years back I took sailing classes. It was always something I thought would be fun, and on a trip out to the channel islands a friend and I decided to follow up, sign up for classes. The sight of a spread of canvas going over the wide blue sea is an incomparable sight, except for the view beneath those sails, which is soul expanding beyond description.

In sailing one learns a great deal of analogies for life, for ministry, for spirituality. So many in fact that it is easy to become insufferable to those who don’t know how bad luffing is when seeking speed, or what to do if asked to open the main sheet.

Another analogy came to mind this morning, one apt for my present state. The ocean is a beautiful, wonderful place to be. It is also not very hospitable. It likes its own, and we are not its own. The funny thing about boats is that the sea is not good for them. Salt water does interesting things, which is why the way of sailing is such a busy life. Always there is maintenance, always repair. Put off tasks for a time, and corrosion sets in. Put two unlike metals near one another, and they will break down, causing no end of trouble. The terrible thing is that this kind of trouble reveals itself at moments of stress, when wind and wave are fiercest. What was done or not done in the times of ease shows in the time of trouble.

There is also the problem of barnacles, little pernicious beasts with hard shells who like to stay in one spot, and the spot they like is often a hull. They float around after birth, merry as can be, food for the various other animals, until they find a nice place to settle. Then they glue themselves on, and feed from the water moving by. Hulls travel, and make for a lovely barnacle buffet.

When barnacles build up, they cause a major loss of speed, manueverability, and other problems. This is called fouling. The problem is that these baneful molluscs are under water, where they can’t be seen. Out of sight, out of mind. So, regularly a ship has to have its hull scraped. If done regularly this can be done by a diver. If put off for too long, the ship has to be hauled out into a dry dock, where more radical measures can be taken.

But because the rising and continual problem cannot be seen by our eyes, the only indication that fouling has occurred is the vessel’s reduced performance. Sailors who are experienced don’t have to look. They know to clean. Those who don’t, learn, with costly consequences of their ignorance.

So too the spiritual life. We go through this world, where many things attach, things we invite and don’t. Our goal remains the same, maybe, but through the passage in this world our progress is slowed, fouled by the accretions of society not amenable to our goals.

A person has to stop, take stock, re-evaluate, clean. This is most useful after a task has been finished, or in whatever natural point of stopping reveals itself. We can barrel onwards, persistent to the end. And while we may feel wonderful about our perseverance we do not notice that we slow, that we misstep, that we are being passed. The stubborn persistence becomes a vice.

That is how I feel today. I have pushed for a long while, a set of tasks which were on my heart pressing me on. Now, with some of that finished, I feel a need to stop, pull the hull out of the water, take stock of my heart and soul in a way which goes beyond just the daily considerations.

This may mean nothing more than a day or two of casual examination, changing pace to spark my mind and let the whispers of my soul have a voice.

Other things loom on the horizon, some started, some still hopeful. Today, however, I have a moment in which I can stop without guilt. And so I think I shall, spending time outside with a book or two I’ve wanted to read, or at least get farther along with. I also have a rather unique tan problem, the kayak tan, dark knees and white shins… something which looks a bit silly while wearing shorts.

This is a day for some light reading, some well written fiction which could swallow me whole. Only I don’t have anything like that handy. My situation has limited my reading explorations, so I think I’ll take up some good classic history. Gibbon, or maybe Eusebius, then again, I’ve been trying to make my way through Bede for a bit now. Maybe a taste of all three. Or maybe a longish nap in a hammock strung between two mighty cedars.

Scraping the hull, that’s the task, however it may work itself out.

evening

The fog rolled in, the fog rolled out, the fog rolled in and away all the day, streaming and billowing. The chill continued, more than once I caught myself shivering, not once did I consider closing my sliding door. Ravens flew all about, excited by the wind, stirred, I believe, by the dramatic weather.

Two ground squirrels, their thin tails waving, made an appearance. I regularly see them along the lake shore, not here, maybe they were lost. It is late, and I am up, and for not a single good reason other than I don’t feel any particular burden to get up early in the morning. In staring out today, I did make plans if not exciting onesfor the morrow. I think I shall consider the trees, take note of their growth, and shape, look closely at the bark, feel the leaves, the texture of the branches.

I intended to go out this afternoon, only it was a melancholy day. I’m a firm believer in a certain amount of melancholy, makes a person think, look more deeply. I’ve passed my measure by a bit already, so more would not have been good for my soul. My kayak stayed on the deck, collecting condensation.

Indeed I considered going out, seeking God, asking for wisdom and direction. I thought about it, and the moment I did I felt an answer without the wait. The answer was wait. I have my answer, I have my goals, so sitting and asking for more at this moment would not have been a worthwhile venture. Maybe for other reasons, though for those reasons I might as well stay in my room, the cell that teaches everything according to the fathers.

I seek something but I don’t want the take the path to get there. I have, however. I just don’t want to. God gets the credit, for the walls, for the closed doors, for the direction he has pulled and pushed me. I would have settled, in just about every area of my life but for his strong, heavy hand.

So now, where do I stand. Nowhere with nothing. Only potential and dreams and possibilities are ahead of me. For those I write now, for those things I say what it is like to sit in the void in this present, where there is nothing other than faith. In a way this has a pure sense to it, a fullness which potential success may obscure. While I wrestle in this moment I wonder if I will look back and consider this time one of the more pure moments between me and God. Not that I am most mature, no that road is very long and I hope to continue down it whether with success or with nothing. Rather, here I am, stepped away from everything, seeking only obedience, seeking only to do those thing which are before me, which seem right in the moment. Do these things without apparent reward, without visible advancement. For obedience. I let loose those things which bind, those things I loved, or could have grown to love. I learned to hold all things loosely, and much fell away in my weakening grip.

Now tonight I sit, alone, and not alone. Frustrated in many ways, eager and passionate in others. I wait, I pray, I work, according to obedience, and the hope for tasting eternity.

This road does continue to ascend.

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