Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: September 15, 2004


This was a day I didn’t notice. Not completely, and really I’m only speaking about the weather. I didn’t really pay attention to how the wind was blowing, or the clouds. I did notice the tree I planted, with dark green leaves, a richer shade than the pines and cedards. It seems content so far.

I also noticed the birds on the lake, a few of which I’m sure were turkey vultures, another two which I’m fairly certain are ospreys. White body, black wings. It could be something else, but I don’t have a picture of the wing shape to look at, nor do I remember them if I did.

This day almost escaped me. I almost didn’t write, I almost didn’t spend time outside. Only at each point of a decision I took a step out and did what was right. Last week I made the opposite choices, and felt the inner turmoil begin to burn.

That’s the way of the moral life. Big decisions are inconsequential. By the time we get to them we have already defined who we are through the continual and constant decisions of daily life.

The Didache begins with a desription of the path of light versus the path of darkness. A wonderful, detailed list. Each moment of our lives is filled with deciding the direction we walk on these various paths. Too much of one, and we begin to reflect its reality in the core of our being. Balance the choices and we become lost within, nothing, of little worth.

Each decision makes us choose the path we want, who we want to be… even what seems to be minuciae. It adds up.

So, I end the day a little bit farther down the path of light. To be sure I’m not quite in the market for a veil yet, but, I’m closer than I was this morning.

That’s all I can ask of myself. Of God I ask more.


It was still dark when I woke up. Dog barking loud got me out of bed, and I was just awake enough to try to read for a bit, try to work on the computer for a bit, finding not that much productivity. Then I fell back asleep. For three hours. Too long.

I’m groggy now. The sun is out strong, a chipmunk chirps on the woodpile. I’m struck, for no particular reason, by how green everything is. I think there was consideration of a return to urban life dwelling in my head and dreams, a consideration somewhat dulled by the beauty which encompasses me.

On my mind recently has been a topic which visits me every six months or so, a basic re-examination of self as regards to my status, my purpose, my ambition.

As I’ve noted, this resulted in a renewol of my schedule, especially as regards to my spiritual disicplines. I have to read Spiritual texts, I have to pray more consistently, I have to let my life dwell in the counsel of the Spirit so that my attitudes and opinions are soaked thoroughly with Divine influence.

I look at my circumstances, which are not the ideal settings for a nearing thirty year old California boy. To be a lawyer was my goal in college. A far cry from that now.

I know how others perceive my situation. One friend a while back noted offhandedly how she really valued asserting her independence, proving to the world she could ‘make it’ by getting the ‘job’, paying the bills.

Then, and now, I understand. However, maybe this is a weird form of confidence on my part, I don’t feel that need. No offense, but anyone can ‘make it’ if they choose to do so. The world is filled with people living free for themselves. My heart and goal was not simply to ‘make it’ by showing I can live just like everyone else. My soul yearned for God, to reach out to Christ, to be filled and led by the Spirit so that I, in increasing measure, would reflect the bounty of the Triune God in my own soul. I sought, still seek, to ‘make it’ by establishing in my mind an eternal perspective which teaches me how to live a fluid life, based on discernment, willing to take leaps out into impossible dreams so that I could find faith and worth through the God who calls me out.

I write everyday because the way to write is to keep doing it. For the same reasons I run, and kayak, and do whatever else I do in order to embrace a life which points beyond the prosaic existence most embrace.

There is a surgery called a gastric bypass surgery. It is for those who have lost the means to control their own weight, and make drastic changes in order to limit the food itself. The surgery literally shrinks their stomach so that they cannot take in even near the quantities of before.

I’m convinced that most of society has essentially had spiritual bypass surgery. We are a culture which has such anemic conceptions of the Divine, we literally cannot hold down very much. This results in shallow expressions even in the most holy of sites. Depth is rejected because it is not palatable, or limited because people fill up too quick.

The soul, like the stomach, can shrink and enlarge, able to take in more and more, or less and less as it is habitually trained, or significantly changed.

I seek to enlarge my soul, to allow for an environment which does not shrink my discernment, but rather helps me to touch the Divine in a multitude of ways.

That is my ambition. My call, as I believe God has pounded into my soul, is to write, and more importantly to learn, to become a soul which he can use when the time is fulfilled.

So I write, and I wait, and I seek his goodness outside and in.

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