The trees are alive and alive with birds. Juncos mostly, which conceal themselves in the branches if one only glances. A longer look shows movement, then more, then everywhere. In the space of about fifteen feet there are about fifteen birds, mostly juncos and one jay who just arrived with a double screech. The sun crests the hills, showering light in the higher branches, not into this room anymore until the transit and tilt of the planet coax the light more northward. The sky is blue, the snow is mostly all gone, the ground is covered in tan oak leaves, which hide the last remnants of pine needles. The oaks will come back in a season. The pines will likely take a century. Days and months, eh?
I wake this morning with a fair bit of discontent. Not the everyday “wish I was somewhere else” kind. Rather it is the eternal kind, the kind that drove me to the mountains, that gentle persistent whisper which if everything else is quieted becomes a dull roar. It calls and I cannot resist the call.
When I am, as I am today, in a state where life allows the space to listen and respond the discontent fills me, pushing me, driving me. I do not have the outside clamor to hide the raucous noise, nor do I have excuses thrown on me to quiet the stormy seas. There is only myself and my heart, and in a life which seeks creative response, the stormy waves prevent everything but to batton down the hatches and head into the wind.
This is disconcerting when my purported goal is to ease such storms and sail west with a fair breeze behind. That is the bugbear. I lose sight of the wind and sail along, not paying attention as I should until I realize I’m off course and have no idea where I am or which direction to go.
I check the charts and they tell me nothing, for there is only blue water around. I check the stars when it gets dark, and “Ah” I say, “There I am, how did I get here?”
What keeps bumping around in my head is the thought I am not pursuing the world nor am I pursuing God. I am pursuing God in order to pursue the world and that is not a healthy task, as one finds success in neither. I’m taking Interstate 40 to get to Seattle, one might say, or hoping the trade winds push me onwards to Mauritania.
The fact is, this morning, I don’t want to pursue God. I’m weary of God, finding in my soul a drive to go towards that which has never brought real satisfaction. But I’m driven towards God, bolstered by a faith and study which force me to acknowledge the beauty of seeking him. I am driven, but don’t want to go.
I want him to let go of me, and I don’t. I don’t have any interest in pushing anymore or focusing my mind with great effort to begin to grasp a hold of the depths. I don’t want to worship, I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to depend on ethereal realities for my practical delights. But, I must. God calls, and his hand has pushed me onwards. Like John Wesley once said in middle age, “I don’t love God and I don’t think I ever have.” I’m tired of the discipline, and tired of constantly falling away from the discipline, in not being that which I tell everyone is the essence of who I am.
I want release, and I don’t.
So, in response I live a wan life, a dull glow replacing real passion as directed passion needs some purpose to alight upon. Shining a beam into the night sky becomes tiresome… even when there is a cause to eventually see that which comes.
I pursue God with the hopes of pursuing this world, making him a means when he entirely insists on being a goal. I acknowledge the reality, understand this, but still have no desire to pursue him for the sake of him, unless it means some fine benefit for me. Then I will be a fine Christian, I say, and I will. Neither neglecting worship nor abandoning the faith but raised up within it because of what God provides, when all he is asking of me is to seek only after who He is.
Which means I’m in a bind, a civil war between what my soul knows and what my heart wants.
The Way is so very simple, minimalistic in expression, and yet really grasping onto all of this is an elusive task. Maybe for only me. I know I am not one cut out for the religious game I play. I’m not particularly religious and would do well if Faith did not demand my entire being. I am weak, and silly, and misaligned too much for whatever it is God wants of me. I try to run a marathon by stumbling the entire distance, with chains around my legs, and heavy clothes.
There is only to press onwards. This I know. Being in a place where I have no choices otherwise is likely a sure sign of the Spirit doing a good work in my heart. I want to be distracted, I want an excuse to live a nominal life. I want to gather with those who bemoan a living faith while actively running away from it.
The light shines too bright to ignore. I delight in this light, yearn for it, yearn for it with my entire being, and yet am weary of the chase. It steps away and always I have to step after it, a wearisome task as sometimes I seek to bask in its radiance./p>
So I am drawn to that which discourages me this morning, without another course, and with ony the drive to keep at it. The present realities are not worth such a flurry of discontent. I look around and determine nothing is real as I have seen it, nothing is right, there is no Good. Such thoughts bury me, filling me with evil discontent, pulling me down deeper into the muck and mire.
And so, there is only Faith, the faith which says all is not as it is, the faith which says that which I know is indeed right and perfect if yet unseen. Nothing is seen and everything is seen, dependent solely on which eyes I use. And the goal is not this world, which is the trickier bit to grasp. My goal is this world and my soul drives me towards God.
Leaving me all in a maelstrom of discontent with a burning light of absolute hope and faith. A reality I need to settle, and pray that God settles. Sometimes there is only to trust in the work of the Spirit to do and continuing doing a good work.
That is my hope… my only hope. May God be faithful, and may I be faithful to God.