Friday, July 19, 2013

Toward A Strange Land

I came home from a week's holiday last night to three new books waiting for me in the mail. You can't get a better homecoming than that! I started reading one of them and turning down corners of pages to remember where I wanted to highlight. Every time I turn down the corner of a page I think of my grade three teacher and how she would be frowning at me.

The first thing I wanted to highlight was this:
"When we get right down to it, none of us wants to remain where we are. We are not awake until there stirs in us the possibility of what we can become. Then, and only then, can we begin a journey and belong to the migrant people of God."
                                     ~ Elizabeth O'Connor in Search For Silence

And more:

It was at length the same to me
Fettered or fetterless to be,
  I learned to love despair.
And thus when they appeared at last,
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage -- and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are: - even I
Regained my freedom with a sigh.
                              ~ George Gordon, Lord Byron
                                  "The Prisoner of Chillon"

"It is a strange and frightening discovery to find that the sacrificial life that Jesus is talking about is the giving up of our chains -- to discover that what binds us is also what gives us comfort and a measure of feeling safe. Change, while it has promise, will take from us something we have found sweet. The image we have of ourselves may keep us from wholeness, but it has some very satisfying compensations. There are dividends in being known as the one for whom nothing ever works out. It is never easy to lose the paradise of one's innocence and to have to struggle with growing up and being held accountable for one's own life.  There are all kinds of anxieties in having to leave the land one knows and be on one's way toward a strange land. No wonder Jesus comments so often on the people who look and look, but see nothing; and hear and hear, but do not understand. If we really saw and really heard, we might turn to him and become involved with a migrant people who may have no place to lay their heads when night comes."
                                                              ~ p. 39 The Search For Silence

Such a biting thing, truth is.

I'm pondering what my chains are and if I'm willing/ready to give them up.

There is a part of me that feels embarrassed for where this journey of the last nine months has taken me and then for writing about it so publicly. That's my ego taking a kicking there. Which is humbling and good. Among other things I was under the illusion that bitterness was beyond me.

I know that where I find myself is not where I want to stay. 

As Anne Lamott writes in Traveling Mercies, "Don't forget, God loves us exactly the way we are, and God loves us too much to let us stay like this."

Thanks be to God.



Rebekah Grace said...

Your post made me get straight onto Amazon and order me that book, "The Search for Silence." Thank you for sharing.

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

I find I am in misery only when I wish that things were different. When I wish I was further along in my life past whatever feelings I am feeling. The resistence makes it worse and makes me feel helpless.

If I can just be wherever I am no matter how painful it does pass and sometimes quickly. I hate it that the only way is through.

As far a putting yourself out there it isn't easy but for me it releases my secret feelings and helps others to not feel alone.

Brene Brown does a talk on about how the most joyful people are the ones willing to show their
vulnerability in every situation.

Peter said...

I for one appreciate your candour and your willingness to question where you find yourself. Your mention of "ego" reminds me of what my counsellor told me once in a session: that our flashes of insight on a spiritual journey are not where we are, but where we hope to be going. We aren't there, yet, and have a lot of work ahead of us to get there. It means that sometimes our progress isn't what we hope or think it is--yet. There is still "ego" or some bugbear happening.

You (and I) and so many others are therefore works-in-progress. That's always a good thing to keep in mind.

Mary Christine said...

I think it is good to know how fallible we are. Even though we would rather be perfect.

Hope said...

So true Mary Christine.

Daisy said...

You always find the best books, Hope. I love that poem.