Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pensive Ramblings Today

Mother Teresa talked about loving Jesus in the dark night of her soul.  Those words tremble for me, as I spend much of my time seeking to be light, whether it is through humor or feasting or celebrating, playing and punning, praying and writing and dancing. I feel pulled to the luminous mysteries, to the Holy Spirit's fire, and to the beauty of the Catholic faith in my every day. 

It's not that I fear doubt or darkness or fail to notice the broken nature of this world.  But  beauty sometimes comes from the relief of things, when one who is suffering is given comfort, when forgiveness is accepted or asked for or embraced, when we reconcile, when we surrender our pride and our preconceptions in favor of humility and trust. Stars like the Saints, are easier to stare at than the sun, but stars like the Saints, are called to imitate the Son. We are small and far away from Christ, and being sinners, often we fail or fear or refuse to shine.

I hear Mother Theresa's longing for her Beloved and can only imagine that great thirst she had, knowing each time that even if she received silence in her prayers, she had already been blessed beyond count and it was her job to hold onto that experience and allow it to fill her lifetime. And I can sense the hardness of that blessed cross she took on and embraced, and how fiercely she loved.

Every once in a while, I get to a point and say, "What am I supposed to be doing? Is this it?"  because I spend a lot of time just triageing my life.  The laundry, the errands, the cooking and the cleaning, the reading to this one, diapering that one, pick up minutia can crowd the day to the point that I don't ever come up for air. 

Having had a week of air, it made me pensive as I returned to start back up again the familiar routines that had prior to vacation, been done reflexively.  It wasn't that things were done without love, but they were done mostly, without thought. Love unravels when it becomes thoughtless, so I asked the Holy Spirit, "What now?"

And I have been still, strangely still since.  I know this pause is important even as it vexes me.  I know that feasting daily leaves us bloated, there are fasting seasons in our lives for a reason, to make us better anticipate and appreciate all the times the table is set lavishly.  Loneliness makes us take in all the times we are surrounded with love.  Being sick makes us remember what a gift it is to be well.  Ten children is a sort of permanent feast, that can be like weeds, a source of riches that can choke off the devotion necessary with duty if one goes along too long thoughtlessly.  So God is demanding I be more awake, pay more attention, listen better. 

I know all these things in my head, but my heart still chaffes at having a time of dryness the same way my body hates when I put it on a diet.   It is better for me to have this stillness, to know it is working on me in ways I cannot comprehend and to pray through it, embrace it and accept that this is not endless, it just feels that way because I'm used to an easy prayer life.  It has always been a blessing, it has always been easy for me to pray.

When I have writer's block, it feels as if I will never write again, or that if I do, it will be junk and as I do not want to write junk, it makes me fearful to write. The only thing that cures it, is writing, even writing junk, writing hard stuff no one will read, writing anything that comes from my heart, even if it is fearful to reveal.

Spiritual writer's block is a temptation to stop listening, because I'm not feeling it.  It is the temptation of the age, if you are not having a  transcendent experience, you must shop through the various writers and preachers and churches and methods of meditation and whatnot until you find a way to obtain that feeling.  The relationship with God becomes the mental equivalent of a mood ring with an on-off switch.  God does not want us to be so shallow, so He keeps Himself mysterious and unobtainable by magic or physical means.  We cannot will or command God, we can only submit out of humility and embrace out of love.

So I have asked, "What now?" and I wait...wondering if I've received what is supposed to fill me for a lifetime, and being impatient, am an ungrateful peevish greedy child because I'm always asking for more. 
But the answer is in part, "Yes."  To do this, all of this but with more zeal, more love, more thought, to be the one preparing the feast, not supping, and to trust that Christ will fill me up beyond myself with love.

The theme this year is "to wait in joyful hope."
Thanks for waiting with me.

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