Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: August 10, 2004


Tonight it is the crickets, spread out, subtle sound blending together in a peaceful buzz, a soothing tone of nature’s yearning. The cool air is a release, the slightest of breezes welcoming, a needed change from the stale air of indoors.

I feel the strain melt off when I go outdoors, like heat leaving when one jumps into a cold lake. The peace wraps around me, drawing out that which seemed so very vital on the other side of the doors, leaving me only with the light breath of tranquility giving ease to my shoulders, and chest, and mind. I breathe deep this harmonious air, and for a moment feel that despite all I know to be true, reality is in fact a fine place to be.

Then back inside, and the stored warmth stifles once more. Is it wrong to be eager for summer’s end? I am, but will go steady along in the meantime, finding my productivity broken during the day and my activity peaking at dawn and dusk.

There is a learning which seems to be seeping its way through the granite, finally. We who walk with Christ expect the blessings, expect his leading to be filled with excitement, promise, power.

What we always seem to forget is the tale of every single person who walked with Christ. They stumbled and fell, sometimes even at the end, and very few had beginnings which didn’t entail disaster of some sort.

We learn the lesson of the three friends when we sign up for the Way, that deep truth that God can help us, but if he does not we will still have faith.

This was not my finest day, to be sure, one which seemed to entail more languishing than promise, making thoughts of wasted years rise to the fore of my mind. I can blame the heat, the over eight five degrees which guarantees my ineffectiveness in creativity, but that only reveals those parts of my soul which lay close to the surface, hidden but strong.

Why there isn’t the clear response or the many leaps of promise from the past revealing more than shadows I don’t know. I know I am here now, though would be eager to take up arms in various ways, for a more active interaction. But I am here now. Through God or sin I still wonder, but God is the more powerful, and prayer never goes unanswered.

What of this day? Nothing, empty, a few crumbs which speak of greater feasts to be sure, but not today.

I am frustrated with myself, only I don’t know if I am frustrated really with my failings or frustrated with waiting and watching.

God is at work, and there is only to do that which is before me, to see what happens, and try and be faithful in each moment. Moments lost can not be recovered, but the next moments, and the ones after that always retain promise. So, once again, that is the thought of the night. Today is done, tomorrow comes.

And once again I shall pray for my daily bread, and daily forgiveness of debts.


A green hose is snaked along the hillside behind the house. A drought, said by many to be among the worst in five hundred years, is causing a continued change in the hue around. The pines are gone, and with them the greatest amount of tan orange needles, but now the cedars are fading in their lower branches, sacrificing the bottom for their still vibrant dark green (forest green?) tops.

So, the hose moves around every couple of days, a trickle of water coming out, enough to seep into the soil, giving renewed life to the parched roots. It seems to be working, or at least it seems like it should work enough that I have convinced myself it is working.

Reports say that the child who causes so much chaos in the central Pacific waters may be stirring again in the next few months. The reports were more concerned about the disasters this precocious little boy can cause. In Southern California it means we would get some rain, and in these hills a good bit of snow.

Last year we got some snow, hardly any rain, and the snow which came was immediately followed by heatwaves, meaning it melted two feet in two days. Quick melt means little retention apparently, and once navigable stretches of the lake are now exposing their stumps, rocks, and old metal cannisters.

Did I mention the empty fuel tank I came across a few months ago? Dropped by an Air Force plane at some point in the last fifty years (it said US Air Force on it), it finally made its way to shore. An odd thing to come across in such a now suburbanized lake.

It was gone within a couple of days, whether by the hands of an intrepid collector or dutiful airman I don’t know.

I hope El Nino returns, though I worry about my selfish desires in this regard. Praying for rain is such a request of Biblical proportions, I figure it’s okay. It’s for the trees, and the thirsty little creatures of the forest. Maybe, also, the pines will return, though it would be long past my death until this becomes a thoroughly pine forest again, even if it were to start immediately.

Personally, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern. I am the kind of person who wants to know where I stand. I handle honesty and directness quite well, and am bothered tremendously only, mostly, by dancing around an issue.

That was part of my problem with my previous church. It wasn’t that I was rejected or accepted, it was that gray shadowy area in between, where I was both prompted forward and backward, thus leaving me in a bind. Until out of sheer frustration, and the physical hand of God in action, I had to leave. There is no doubt the shadowy uncertainty would remain, for that seems to be the most comfortable place, allowing the excitement of risking words without the dangers of real actions which may, in fact, offend some while encouraging others.

But, here I sit, waiting for the next couple of days, after waiting for the last couple of months, to hear of plans for a collaboration, which if worked out would mean a profound door opening, and would make sense of the previous year and two. If not, if for whatever reason it doesn’t quite flow. then I will know not to look for it, and will be able to free myself from the hope of a potential answer. I’ve been somewhat locked into looking at this for a while, and have been steering my thoughts that direction, so having some clarity would tell me whether to settle into the demands it offers, or to again seek to forge my own path… or rather seek to find that path which God is forging.

Other things keep me occupied, to be sure, so it is far from a wasted wait. I am eager to know, trusting that whatever happens is of God, but wishing to know what will happen all the same.

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