Sunday, August 17, 2014

You never lose the old, only gain the new.

You never lose the old, only gain the new.

There is no such thing as "getting over it." No such thing as "healing it." There is only that new self, that new life, you build for yourself. Once you live through hell, it always remains in your memory, in the solid bands of strength that define your character. Walking through hell--climbing out of it--defines you. Don't hate or regret it. Just know, no matter how far you think you travel beyond it, it will always be ready to assert itself over your life.

You can only keep moving forward. You can choose to walk away from it, toward joy, toward a good life, toward Heaven and all of God's blessings. You can choose that for yourself. You can do it every day.

Scars remain on the body. A scar is not something fully healed, but a permanent mar, a flaw that might be gruesome and unrelenting. Yet despite all the flaws of the body, the soul continues to grow. With each new period of growth, our soul becomes stronger, wiser, bigger than it used to be. We can move beyond our flaws. Eventually, we grow beyond our scars and move on to better, higher selves. But we will always remember the darkness that made us what we are.

Monday, August 4, 2014

So what if you're not liked?

We weren't given much time, either way. A lifetime? 80 years?

God is the only permanent companion. Surely, you must realize that by now. Why become so attached to others, when you already know their inevitable departure?

Why try to impress? Why try to hold on?

You and I, my friend, are not like them. The loneliness eats at us, because even surrounded by our fellows, we feel that emptiness of their hearts. When we surround ourselves with those who are sleeping, God feels absent from the world. No matter what the circle, I inevitably feel alone.

Loneliness has become, in a way, like God. Because here, I can feel His love beside me, and His love is greater than all worldly desires.

I don't know where I am called. I don't know where I go, or what I see. But with God as my guide and savior, I continue to explore the world, and learn about myself and my purpose.

 Life is an endless mystery. What to value, what to maintain, what to seek, what to hold dear...we never stop seeking. But God is here in the woodwork, hiding beneath our fingers and along the narrow angle of a shelf.

Friday, December 27, 2013

No end to the valley....

You'd think, eventually, this one event would stop coming back to haunt me. That after four years, my life would move on and resemble something close to normal. In some ways, I suppose it does. I know how to smile. I know how to laugh, and I laugh often. I know how to take pleasure in beautiful everyday things. I know how to sit silently and allow myself to seep into a moment, to expand that silence until I lose the center of myself, and I feel a great overwhelming sense of fulfillment.

I know when to let people take priority, and when I must prioritize myself. I know that a broken heart can't heal the world. A tired mind can't cope with a new day's struggles. Grief becomes a constant process of opening and closing. Recovering and spreading out, accepting our new life, inviting friends into our hearts, relearning how to love...and then closing, cutting off, dissolving into ourselves, still trapped by those deep-seated mental structures of trauma and loss.

These days, I feel a great need to retreat from my life.

I am not healed. At times, I don't think I ever will be. I have stopped striving for it. Life continues to roll on, and grief rolls with it. Sometimes that grief is hardly noticeable. Sometimes it is a wonderful thing, rich in poetry and a solid sense of satisfaction, knowing the personal and spiritual growth that comes from it. Through years of struggle, I've come to know myself. At least where my soul is concerned, I stand on solid ground. And yet always, there is a backlash. That backward sliding motion. Yearly events trigger it. Stress at work, fights between friends, between family, small everyday details. And I realize I am far from healed. I wonder, sometimes, if I am worse off than I was at the beginning.

How can I move on from grief when the loss of my parents continues to define my life? All of my stress comes from inheriting a house I was too young to care for. Navigating a harsh world with no safety net, no loving, nurturing arms to enfold me. Working too many jobs, losing out on those soul-searching years of our twenties when we're allowed to make mistakes. I cannot choose to give up, to take a break, to redirect or reorient myself to this life. A bad decision can cost me my home, my livelihood, my honor, my sense of self. I have too much to lose. Too much I am trying to hold onto. In this sense, God grants me no reprieve. I must carry on, nose to the grindstone, rolling through this world as grief rolls through me.

If I had one parent left, it would change everything. "Well, I may not have my mother, but at least I can turn to my father. At least I can spent Christmas with him. If I am upset, I can call him on the phone." But I don't even have that. And I am still so young. Twenty-five. And four years now, this same situation has defined my life, my struggles, my achievements. I can't move on when the problem is still in the present.

Now, today, it is hard to make a decision. Any decision. I can't even finish a thought. It is difficult to entertain the future. Too many possibilities. I cannot plan, or reply, or explain. I want to shut the door on the world. I need to block it all out. Every thought splits in many directions, chains of words, rivers of logic, and the mind cannot resolve them. I fumble for threads, but can't tie it all together.

God knows how often we fall. God knows our struggles and our failures. And today, in the face of grief, I am falling. Failing. Dear reader, I promised never to lie to you. This season has been a hard one. Four years into this struggle, and I thought it would be over by now, but a cold thought arises--perhaps it will always be there. Perhaps this valley is much larger, much deeper and wider, than I ever imagined.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On the brink of a New Year....

And always, I forget.

So close they come, and yet they still don't know.

A dear friend said to me, "That is why those who know the divine spirit are always smiling. They know something you don't know. That's why they're always laughing. They know the divine joke of life."

And I wanted to explain myself so badly in that moment. I wanted to say everything, but I couldn't. And so they indirectly ask me--why am I always smiling? Why am I always laughing? They ask in the late night, after a Christmas party, as I'm dropping them off at the curb. They ask me, but I cannot answer.

Because those who know the divine secret know the joke of life....We know the peace and joy of God. We have made peace. We know the great presence of the spirit in the world around us.

And that secret, you know...that secret stays between me and god....

It is like they almost see it. They see a shadow in the corner of their eye. Almost, when they look at me....

But if I told them the truth, why would they believe me? Would telling my story change them? Would explaining my beliefs make faith any more accessible?

And then I realize--that is why. That is why all the great teachers are so difficult to quote. That is why they contradict themselves. Because the story changes. Because we are preachers, not mathemeticians. Everyone is in a different place, starting from a unique point toward that same, central whole. Everyone knows God differently, and so the story must change, to reach each individual soul.

And so my message changes, depending on the listener.

And so my wisdom, at times, is hidden, because I know a listener is not ready.

And so I hold my tongue, because people need to be free to speak of their souls, to rejoice in their own spiritual self. By asserting my theology, I am stifling them. People need to know it's safe. No, it is not a weak or shameful thing to reach for God. It is, in fact, the most important stretch of your life. Reach, in those early stages. Just reach.

And then I realize, I am in service, no matter my doctrine. I draw those listeners into a delicate web. I am listening with my heart, trying to mentor, trying to love, trying to say the right words that will uplift the soul to God, not tear it down.

A single perfect word can awaken the soul.

And who cares of the right way? The first step is what they need. There are so many paths available. They need that one step, that nudge in the right direction.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Truth is simple.

Honestly, I just want to bring joy to the world.

And that is where I will begin.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I need to walk closer to God. I need to keep my channels open. I need to listen.

It's amazing how when I am most in need, those who walk close to God, or who listen very clearly in their hearts, will reach out to me. I don't see it as a coincidence.

There are people in my life who I love fiercely and blindly. People who I care for and want to protect. I extend myself to these people as much as I can, but when I see others of faith reaching back to me, it makes me wonder if I am really listening. Not just to the people I love and care about, but to that Spirit that lives inside of us. Am I listening to that still, small voice? Am I truly hearing the plights of others, or am I simply responding to what I see in the world around me?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Confessions VI

God blows on His hand, and says, Now.

And a fine wind moves across the valley, circling and spinning, picking up pollen, thrusting through flowers....

And inevitably, a seed is sparked....

And we have a sense, looking back, that everything was heading to something, and we might just be in that place now, that hidden knell, where we are supposed to be--and it all might be simpler than we think. The first step was the hardest--walking with uncertainty--yet the second seems to follow....

Is it time?

And God says, Heed me now, for you are young, but your desires are great. The greater your desires, the greater your failure; so by all means young one, fail, because in that you will find weakness, humility, strength of character. You will become detached from the world, solid on your own two feet....

And I say, that in all ways I am stubborn. You know my rebellious nature. I will continue this path for my lifetime, and if it leads to naught, then I was not what you asked of me. And if I fail, I will suffer for it, and bear that suffering gladly. For I knew from the start I was not worthy. I followed the sanction of my heart, and resided where I was most at peace, and if this is not Your way, then I am a failure, and I was never meant to be your child.

Dear God, you know I can do better.

And I know you can make use of me as I am.