Something I wrote exactly 12 years ago:
Very early Thanksgiving morning yesterday, around four am, I woke up feeling very thankful. For what? That’s always the question, and something I can easily beat myself down with. This wasn’t the point in that moment. There wasn’t a ‘for what’ there was simply a thankfulness, a full, cleansing thankfulness that had no object only a direction, and so I prayed and prayed for others.
I spent the morning cooking, something I don’t do very often, so I try to have a bit of adventure when I try it. My contribution to the family feast was salmon cakes with a walnut and pomegranate sauce. It indeed turned out well, better than I thought. The whole morning was filled with delight, and the day went by with that glow of thankfulness.
Then evening came, brother and sister-in-law came over, and I slowly descended. Until today when a fog rolled in over my soul, clouding my insights and delights. It was the kind of day that wanted to be wasted, which wanted to waste me. But, somehow I pressed on, turned direction, and spent the day building a renewed spiritual habit. I didn’t feel the pull of the Spirit, nor did my soul look outwards and upwards, but I did work to facilitate the habits which would keep my eyes focused even during the days of storm and fog.
I looked to the Daily Hours for inspiration and renewed the habit of posting the daily Bible. So, the fog rolled in, and I rolled onward, seeking God and Christ and the Holy Spirit no matter the emotion or frame of mind.
Tonight there is a full moon reflecting on the snow which still fairly covers the land. It is an eerie glow, a mystical light that the soul embraces without knowing why, or caring. A breeze picks up every once in a while, catching me by surprise as it stirs the branches and rattles the needles in the trees. I love the sound of the wind rushing through the trees at night, I love to look at the wan light of the moon reflecting palely off the snow. I need to dwell on this more, and dwell less on those things which God has called me towards but has not revealed. I need to dwell in the present, and embrace the work of the Spirit in the now.
This is the goal of time formatted to reflect a Spiritual yearning, and one which has encouraged countless seekers after Christ to find their rest in him. So, given that I was going to end the day with no thoughts and little encouragement, and after reading my through the evening prayers by candelight I sit and write this with a kernel of delight renewing in my soul, I figure it is precisely the course I was supposed to take.
God calls, and it does us well to listen.
When I wrote that I was 30 years old, living with my parents, unemployed, all my hopes and dreams had stalled. I had become so frustrated with the frustrations I stopped fighting to keep up appearances. Moved to the mountains where there was beauty and time to be found. I wrote this after a year there, when God’s work was still much more about breaking me down than finding light and progress. I was reformed in the forest, in the midst of having to come to terms with my own self, finding who God wanted me to be more than focused on what I wanted to do. I had to let go my calling in order to find my becoming. It wasn’t a quick journey, full of promise and discouragement, glimpses of progress and awareness of deep deficiency.
It was hard to find hope in the midst of nothingness. I am glad I listened to words of faith and of the whispering promise of redemption and renewal.
It was indeed precisely the course I was supposed to take, though circuitous and uncertain.
A good reminder as I continue to journey into the fog-filled path ahead. Even as my current path has much less of the loneliness and much more of the two-year old clamoring in the background, “I don’t want to.” I know the feeling, Oliver. But we do it anyhow.
Hope is not a privilege, it is a calling. It is the daily step, the “forgetting what is behind and pressing toward what is ahead” because that is the way of life.
Ignore anyone who preaches despair to the broken and hopelessness to the outcast. They don’t know what they’re talking about.