Prophet in a Strange Land

Some times it seems the harder I try, the worse things get.   I flopped around my week like a fish out of water.   This last week when I listened to career counselors tell high school students how college prepares them for the job market and a better future, I thought of how my degree is helping me now.  I’d be in much better shape if I’d become a mechanic.  While I have no doubt that my degree has increased my quality of life and that at one time it did open doors to jobs I’ve held, it is now basically irrelevant and that was exactly how I was feeling.

At home, as I boldly tried to connect with old and new customers and kept getting voice mails and the occasional live no, I felt irrelevant.  Over weight and out of shape, I felt exhausted and again irrelevant.  I sorted through the past and found things to blame but couldn’t indulge in blaming . Again, the default emotion: irrelevance.  It’s much harder to be a nobody than a some body and I’ve been working too hard at just that.

Negation cripples.  It blocks love and compassion.  My life felt like a land slide on a road no one travels.

This morning, I stumbled to the shower like I usually do.  That transition phase between sleep and wakefulness is an odd territory.  The landscape seems barren yet comfortable and familiar.  There on the plains of my mind, God often speaks.

This admission makes me grossly uncomfortable, yet, here I am again writing about my shower revelations. Over the years, I’ve listened to many people speak about God, His work in their lives, what God wants of us, what we need to do.  Often their words did not match their actions.  They are often blessed with confidence and committed to the conviction that God is speaking through them.  And, often, He  is.  Yet, the God they talk about so easily, is not Someone I know.  I am not like them.

The God, I know, is infinitely confusing.  He/She surrounds my life with ordinary miracles that I usually miss because I’m feeling rather lost and often more than a wee bit worthless.

My belief in God doesn’t instantly make my life better.  The challenges remain and they keep coming.  It’s often enough for me to be more than a little angry at this God.  I’m still waiting for my “joy in the morning”  like a petulant child.  So as a weary morning me steps in the shower, I hear, “You are My voice, crying in the wilderness.”

“Great!  That’s just great!  I already feel like an irrelevant loser and now I’m a voice in the wilderness.  What a lousy job!  How is this going to help me dig my family out of the scary hole we’re in?

In my mind, God smiles patiently, silently, waiting for my little hissy fit to end.   It winds down into exhaustion.  There are some things that are best not to fight. Silent, invisible, smiling God of the shower is one of them.  And, yes, I know how crazy that sounds.

Belief is crazy.  It doesn’t make sense.  It isn’t rational or logical.  I’m often embarrassed to admit I am a believer because it seems so quaint and colloquial, like something evolved civilized people have outgrown, but I can’t deny what I believe to be true:  Some Thing infinitely more evolved than any of us or all of us combined, lies just beyond our rational knowing and this Some Thing loves us beyond our imaging.

This is what I argue with in the shower.  I’m arguing against some amazing, infinitely indescribable, Love.   How stupid is that?

Oh, I’m completely aware that this idea can be one of my own creation.  My desire to have something beyond to believe in might be so great that  in my limited mind and soul,  I may be creating this God as a figment of my imagination.    It doesn’t feel that way.  This shower God that speaks to me and passes on wisdom that pulls me out of my mental prison and opens the door to loving possibility in the midst of a life that looks pretty bleak on paper, is way too good to be a figment of my mind.  I’m just not that gifted.

I stop arguing.  “Ok, I’m a voice in a wilderness.  I don’t want to be.  I think it’s nuts and just out right depressing.  No body is going to listen to me.  Few people listen to me now.  I’m an emasculated Moses without an Aaron.  (I can’t resist an opportunity to be cleverly sarcastic.)

“You’re beginning to get the idea.  I want you to be a prophet.”  This I hear in my head with such clarity, I’m either schizophrenic or actually listening to Some One outside me.  There aren’t too many other possibilities.

“Wait!  This is way too egotistical.  I’m going to sound like an idiot if I ever admit this.  It’s way too arrogant not to mention impossible.  I’m no prophet.  I can’t even comfortably admit that You and I have a relationship.  Who is going to listen to me?”

The Silence that answers, gives me pause.

Can I fight this new level of crazy?

Yesterday,  I spoke with an adult who admitted that he/she is probably an atheist but that even that requires a committment not to believe in something and that wasn’t a place they wanted to go.  I felt sad.  I wanted to say, “I understand how you feel but I believe in a God of Love beyond us and that makes all the difference in my life between a life of meaning and purpose and a life of utter despair. I wish the same for you.  I wish you could know this Love.”

I didn’t say that.  I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t know what to say but I felt sorrow.  I felt like something was missing that God could fill  but I didn’t know how to help.  I couldn’t even share what I believed.  I was ashamed of my silly belief but I was even more ashamed for not sharing it.

No person or idea has been so abused over the centuries, as the concept of a God.  God has been used to justify war, punishment, and all the ills of the world.  Is it any wonder people can be turned off by the idea?  It’s the idea that has been abused and misused, not God.  All the nonsense, we humans toss out that clouds the picture, doesn’t affect who or what God is, was or will be.  It’s us humans that get it all messed up, royally messed up.

“I’m no prophet.”

Hello, God of the Shower, are You listening?  Are You?”

“Write about this, My voice crying in the wilderness.”

And I have.

Create

Following the Daily Love blog by Mastin, today I read a guest post by Chris Assad.  Read the entire article at the link posted posted below.  I’m also sharing a quote on creativity for all those creators out there.

http://thedailylove.com/show-up-for-your-creativity-and-it-will-show-up-for-you/?inf_contact_key=0391e96d470e0bba8339c4bbf5be7fd888f18986e2d4be4e26848f5f8cd3d9f8 

“The truth is that creativity flows when we show up at our instrument, at the blank page, at our mac (or PC), at our desk, at the easel, and when we make ourselves available for creation to happen. The truth is that creativity is one of the greatest gifts we humans possess and it’s available to all of us all the time if we’re open and ready to receive it. The truth is that creativity is magical but only in the sense that it’s one of the ways that the Divine expresses itself through us, not because we need to wait to be chosen or struck by lightning to experience it.”

Surrender

I’m a better lover than a fighter.  Lately, I’ve been doing too much resisting.  Focusing on the lack and not the abundance.

So, this morning, I stumble toward the shower, shuffling like a stiff old man on Thorazine.  There, with sleep threatening to pull me under, I pray with words of desperation,

“God help me.  God help us.”

A groan may have provided punctuation.  I’m not sure.  I couldn’t remember washing my hair so I washed it twice and let the water wash over me as I struggled to figure out what do I do next.  The answer, clear and strong was simply this, “Give up.”

Wooooh.

“Are you kidding me?  This runs counter to everything I’ve been reading and what I’ve been told.  I can’t just give up.”   Inside my head the words came quickly.

“I must be losing my mind.”  I think to myself.

“That would be a cop-out,” I hear in response.  “Oh, and giving up doesn’t mean you stop trying,” the voice adds.

I’m starting to feel annoyed.  “Alright, I’m a little confused.  You’re going to have to clarify this for me. I don’t have a clue where this is headed.”

Silence.

Maybe clues are reserved for those who are more awake.  I go back to trying to figure out where I’m at in my shower routine .  Oh, time to shave my legs.  The razor hits the shower floor not once, not twice but three times.  I sigh.

“Stop focusing on the outcome.  It’s all about the process.  Not everything depends on you.  You certainly can’t figure everything out.  You’ve got to let go of all the mental energy you pour into things.  The end result doesn’t define your worth.  Most things in life have too many variables.  You’re not enjoying the process and you’re making yourself miserable.  You’ve got to give up!”

As I put the end back on the razor, I understand.  I respond in absolute silence.  The warm shower feels good.  I stop worrying about the routine and what needs to be done and tell myself that no matter the outcome, I’m going to do everything I can to enjoy the day ahead.

So far:

I’ve prayed in the shower while I shaved my legs (Yeah! multi-tasking!)

I’ve had a wonderful visit with an old friend.  (R.  I love you!)

Got some valuable information from a dear newer friend.  (Love you too, L.)

Had a nice conversation with a neighbor.  (Miss you when you move, N. )

Made cupcakes and lunch.

Wrote a blog entry.

I’ve spent too much of my last few weeks making myself miserable because of all the things I wasn’t doing and how things just aren’t working out.  I focused on what was wrong.  I whined.  I complained.  Playing worse case scenario made me miserable.  Being angry at other people just eats me up inside.  These are the things I need to give up.  I surrender.

Ridiculous

Ridiculous.  It’s how I’ve been feeling.   Merriam Webster online dictionary’s primary definition of the word is:

arousing or deserving ridicule :  extremely silly or unreasonable :  absurdpreposterous

Feeling like I might deserve ridicule is not a pleasant place to be and it certainly contributes to a huge writer’s block.

Not long ago some criticism took the wind out of my sails.  Writing has been painfully difficult.  Well, actually clicking the publish button is what has been hard. Writing and then publishing it in a blog with even the most limited readership is not an easy thing for me.

“Why do I still l try?” you ask.

First:  Over the years, there have been many things that were not discussed either in my family, my community, or in my church. I believe that there is a lot of inner pain and suffering that remained locked up in places no one dared open.  I’m not just talking about my personal pain. Every day I am keenly aware of how many people are hurting, insecure, lacking love and attention, feeling that they aren’t good enough.

Being able to admit and own how I feel is an on-going process but an extremely valuable one.  It’s part of healing. Getting things out in the light often kills the things it should. . . like vampires, mildew,  maybe?   Battling the supernatural or mildew is best left to some one else with the name Buffy or Van Helsing or Mr. Bleach.  We just have to get some things in the light and the light will take care of the rest.

My job is hard enough: being me.  It’s so easy to get off course and forget how.  Finding out how I feel or what I really think helps me get back to the job of being me.  It’s time I started to buckle down and master this. And for some reason beyond my understanding, I do a certain amount of that in print, on a little known blog.

Second, in my human stumbling through my quirky little psyche, I believe I have something to offer.  That something may be useful to only one person, once in a blue moon but now that I know blue moons exist, it has made all the difference.  Believe it or not, I don’t always like hitting that publish button and if you mention something I wrote, there are times, when I’ll blush in embarrassment.  Some times,  I still feel ridiculous and I probably am.

It isn’t easy being emotionally genuine and I don’t always make the mark.  I believe in its value even when I can’t see it. Disillusion-al?  In denial?   Definite possibilities. I, however, consider this an assignment. If I didn’t there would be no point in my doing this crazy thing that makes me uncomfortable.  I actually think of it as a long term project for a grad class in which God/the Universe is the teacher.  There is no way I want to disappoint Dr. God. Some times I do. I often disappoint myself but it doesn’t change the assignment.  I’ve got to show up and give it a try. It’s that simple.

These last few months, I’ve been stuck in a shame tornado.  I’ve also been more than a little peeved at the world in general. This made writers block into writers stone cold mountain.  Tunneling through wasn’t working.  Darn cave ins.  Can’t find good psychic mine workers these days that will work 24/7 for free.  Time to go around.  Practical, efficient and not ridiculous in the least.

What’s Your Purpose?

Yesterday was hard.  I poured out my heart writing but couldn’t hit the publish button.  Some struggles are best kept private.  Overwhelmed, lost, I struggled to get my bearings.  I prayed that God would show me the way but I didn’t expect an answer.  One was provided for me any way.  In my faithlessness, I was shown faith.  My closed heart shown an opportunity to love.  Lost, I was given the way.  No one else was given the job to be me.  It’s time to step into the life I’ve been given as a gift.  It’s time to be me, the better me, the best me.

 

Is It Me?

On my way home, I move with the traffic.  Kids and buses everywhere.  There are seven school very close to the road I take home.    Going home can feel like an obstacle course.  Some days are worse than others.

Looping through the new rotaries, I enjoy the back and forth movement of the van.  It’s the little things.  I look in my rear view mirror to see a young man with his cap bill facing backwards.  He is in a hurry.  I am not going fast enough.  As I make another graceful loop, he honks because he can, not because he is actually communicating anything to  me other than that he thinks I’m too slow.  He is wrong.  I know he is wrong.  I can’t make this impatience of his right no matter how I try.  “You’re an idiot,” I say quietly under my breath.

Irritation fills me.  I consider going slower.  Then, I realize how ridiculous it is for me to get upset with him for his getting upset with me.  This is how negative interactions begin.  If I get irritated with his irritation am I being an idiot?  I don’t like this line of thinking.  It puts the responsibility back on me.  I’d rather be irritated with the irritator even though its doesn’t make sense.   GrrrrH!  I’ve thought myself into a hole.  I hate when that happens.

The impulse to go slower just to spite him is very strong.   Mr.  Speedy Pants is still on my tail.  How I want to teach him a lesson.  Can you teach patience with impatience?  Not very likely.

What’s wrong with me?  I seem stuck in the same juvenile level as the person dogging me.  This is no big deal.  I’m safe.  I’m going the speed limit.  Chances are I’m going to make it home in one piece, my arms and legs in the same condition as when I began this little trip home.  Why do I want to stop the car and give this kid a piece of my mind?  The more I fight against it the more tempting it is.

Finally, he turns left.   Relief floods through me and I think about mindless nothings.

The late afternoon finds me running here and there.  Everywhere I go there is a new wrinkle or road block.  Finally, I am within 2 miles of the refuge of home when I round a corner and find a young boy on a bike in the middle of the expressway heading toward me.  A bike trail is yards away.  He is traveling in the dangerous no-mans land of a highway.  No helmet and seemingly no idea that his sudden hurtling in front of me is a breach of sanity not to mention traffic laws.  Windows down, I brake in time and say loudly, “Oh, my God.”  Didn’t exactly feel like a prayer but it was.  I was so grateful I didn’t hit him.  The boy  haltingly crosses the 4 lanes of traffic continuing to put himself in danger.    Maybe he doesn’t care.  Maybe he doesn’t understand.

“I wonder if his mom knows what he’s doing right now?” I think to myself.

Then I hear, “she probably doesn’t but this mom does and was careful.”

This mom is me.

The boy on the bike was lucky, I was quick and paying attention.  My Mr. Speedy Pants was lucky he was dogging me and not some one who might have gotten out of the car and really let him have it.  I’m pretty sure they had no idea how lucky they were.   Their actions reflected their choices and my actions reflected mine even though I might have felt like retaliating, my calmer self prevailed.

I can’t teach patience with impatience.

I can’t avoid the reckless if I’m being reckless.

For several hours this afternoon, people kept giving me opportunities to do the right thing.   This choosing to take the high road didn’t feel good.   By the time I got home, I felt like I was coming home from a tour of duty.  So I stole a few moments here and there to write and in the process discovered that today I gave several people the benefit of having crossed paths with me.  They received the gift of my tolerance.  From them, I received a very important lesson.

It was me today, my perception, my struggle to do the right thing.  There are a lot of people like me.  There are people better than me.  Most of us are just trying to do the best we can.  Some days are harder than others.  Today, it was me and it was a good thing.

Entry 200: Silence

picnicview

Several days ago, I read an article on silence.   It has clung to me like a second skin.  I feel compelled to write about something I can never capture.   How do I write about silence when its very state lies beyond words in an emptiness so full there is no describing it?

It’s the lack of silence in my head that troubles me.  I long to have the stream of thoughts and their companion words broken by the grace of silence.  Only in the silence can I begin to understand my relationship to all things.  It is in this space that God speaks to me in the economy of stillness, a loving quiet, a healing silence.

Lately, the words have been such a jumble that I can’t find myself.  I tumble in the land of words like a feather in the wind.  Driven to figure out things I can not understand, all the words in the world still leave me feeling empty.  They have not been tools but a burden that I can’t sort out.  Trips to the library find me leaving with an armful of books, I can never read.  I pour over them in the evening, searching for some thing I can not describe.  My busy head is driven to find the answers.  I fool myself into thinking that some day, one of these books will open the door into a place I’ve never been and I will understand what I’ve been looking for all these years.  But I know that this isn’t true.  These books can never contain the answer to everything that challenges me.  Such an answer isn’t found in a book.  It is only found within, in the vast empty space of silence.

Words can carry me only so far.  The rest of the way must be travelled alone in the gentle caress of silence.

And so, I celebrate my 200th entry, advocating the opposite of words, symbols or pictures.   I have always been convinced that at the very heart of all being is a space beyond words where God/Love dwells within us like a gentle fire.  So much of my life has been consumed with putting out this fire.  Tending this fire seems to lead me down an unfamiliar road but it is a road I know better than myself.  Lost in the mystery of silence, I discover that it has always been where I began and where I will finish: in Silence.

 

I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.

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The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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