The fog was yellow. A pale yellow, sickly almost. The ground was white, mostly white with scattered spots of brown. The trees are green, dark green, bold green, that peculiar happy shade of green only living trees can express.
I woke up frustrated at many things, myself most of all. It was a vague frustration rather than specific, tinged with that creeping depression which comes at times seeking to swallow me. I wondered and watched the moving fog, feeling the frustration turn to vague anger. Loss of focus, loss of spiritual connection, waking up early feeling I’ve had it with chasing after God. If he wants a relationship with me he will have to start doing some work himself.
The vague negativity made me desperate for some path of release.
So I wrote. I went back to that which I put aside for various reasons, some very good and some bad. And I felt better. I felt alive, at peace, restored.
“Grace,” Bono sang a while back, “is a name for a girl and also a thought that changed the world.”
We wander away from what fills us and wonder why we lose touch. I know I am supposed to write. Not because I feel this inner demand to be a “writer” or to wander alone through the field of words. I know because nothing else fills me. Writing is not easy but it demands me. Only when I write do I feel things are alright. I take time away and lose myself, becoming good for nothing else or for no one else.
That is a key aspect of real spirituality. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I think it is also the hardest because we can explain away so much of the lack of grace in our lives, we can blame ourselves or other or circumstances or politics. The more noise in our lives the more we can explain away, the more we can hide from how grace is leading us because we can shower the absence with so many other attempts to fill the gaping hole. It hides the hole but does not fill. Only grace fills and grace is used by God to steer us to where we need to go. It fills and retreats. This isn’t grace for salvation, that is something different. This is grace for living, the living grace of the Spirit towards sanctification and more importantly towards God’s design for us. Learning to ride this wave is like learning to surf it seems. A bear to start, a quite unnatural proposition but oh so grand when one is able to really get the hang of it.
Losing touch is like crashing, and where once one was riding, flying even, the wave because a terror and crashes down with a weight heavy and dangerous. The more confident, the bigger the waves, the more dangerous the crash.
That, again, is the lesson. I am not being filled with grace to spend the day in endless prayer, or stare at a tree, or study books deep and profound. I’m not being asked, today, to do a ministry or speak wise words to a congregation. Those are good things. Wonderful even, needed. But there is only grace for me to write and keep writing and continue at it for the time being, come what may. There is no palpable response which makes my mind interfere. But I don’t do it for the financial rewards… it is my soul I look to and my soul demands grace to live. Having stepped out with the aid of grace to go in a direction which is entirely focused on spiritual pursuits I no longer have the option to do without grace or live absent the filling of the Spirit. That I do sometimes is true… but I cannot survive like that. It is like the vacuum of space sucking out my air.
That is a consequence of all my decisions. I have to pursue where Grace resides. I have to do this even without the response my mind and heart can appreciate.
And so I write and the yellow fog wanders north and reveals the rising sun. The blue sky begins to peek out, first in patches then in great swaths. The juncos fly in. First two, then another four, finally about twelve all on the ground. A chipmunk comes, two jays, and the hill outside is a flurry of activity.
Haze still fills the sky. A strong breeze makes the limbs sway in its rhythm.
And I remember the path of grace and remember why I do what I do. Something which no other person may understand leaving me too often unable to properly explain my present place in life. There is only to follow Grace, however, and listen to the demands of my soul. I’m too long down this path to go another way, come what may.
That this path fills the heart with joy and peace and light when pursued is certainly a boon, one only to be fully grasped in the fullness of time and the lead of the Spirit.