LIFTED FROM THE MUD– STOOD ME ON A ROCK -PART 2

FROM PSALM  40, 1ST STANZA—  I WAITED AND WAITED AND WAITED FOR GOD. / AT LAST HE LOOKED; FINALLY HE LISTENED. / HE LIFTED ME OUT OF THE DITCH, / PULLED ME FROM DEEP MUD. / HE STOOD ME UP ON A SOLID ROCK / TO MAKE SURE I WOULDN’T SLIP. / HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SING THE LATEST GOD-SONG, / A PRAISE SONG TO OUR GOD. / AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE SEEING THIS: / THEY ENTER THE MYSTERY, / ABANDONING THEMSELVES TO GOD.

JANUARY 2, 2014 I wrote a piece based on Psalm 40 and finished with a dedication prayer to God service. It is time to look again and sing into the mystery…

April 25— Entering the mystery- abandoning myself to God— Even angels, prostrate, fall—

Once self-awareness dawned, I became anxious:: All was great; I was small; vertigo, being suspended in palpable vastness; mystery- what was keeping me from falling?

To enter the mystery, I must trust that unknown which has always sustained me, must have put me here, surely has a purpose/ No: I hope, has a purpose. I hope, meant to put me here.— Even with trust and hope there is anxiety. On the brink of abandon but still clenched in resistance; what can unclench me?

What responded so undeniably when I reached toward that great unknown for help from the brink of total hopeless abandonment to death? What has ever since responded, when ever I reach out from knowing helplessness and confusion, and met all my needs, though not my bottomless and inchoate wants? And what is the ever-present, underlying quality of that unknown’s response? It makes me feel Loved. It has taught me to know Love. It has taught me to remember Love. When I was a child I was only fitfully aware of my parent’s love, yet I was totally dependent upon it. As I got older, I hungered for independence and was bitter and angry until I escaped, and found myself, by my own actions, abandoned, cold, and alone on the shore of adulthood. Soon I was lost at sea. In all innocence, I thought this was what I had to do: learn to be an adult…. alone.

April 28– I awake again, struggling in inner disquiet. All about me is stillness and clear light; a bird sings, bright and near; my struggles cease and I lay limp. I love the quiet of this place; I love the clarity; I love the brilliant voice of the bird; Jesus brought me here and bade me rest. I Love Him; I will rest until He calls me. I must trust Him and let my reflexive struggles come and go and not be moved by them from this rock where He bade me rest. All my hope is in Him; without Him there is none. Hope is justified in recognizing I am in  God’s Reality, not mine; I can not even conceive of how such a miracle was accomplished; here, this aching sack of bones has a chance of being mended; I accept that this IS the answer to my prayer, so I will rest and allow my agitations to dissipate. My heart fills with all I have been given to Love; let me stay my thoughts on those things; my heart goes out to all those who are also on this journey; all those who are lost  and wandering aimlessly; all those who rage and strike out in every direction; all those deluded and demented; all those mired in the insanity of Evil. All are my brothers and sisters, my human family. My aching sack of bones bears to me witness of all MY mistakes; my placement in this quiet place, with all my disquiet, is pure loving Grace. I obey with gratitude and love the Shepherd who brought me here and bade me rest. I acknowledge I am unready to walk, nor will I be able to judge my readiness. I must depend on Him solely. He will know. — I love Him.

 

May 1, wee hours– Negative conditions still dominate, but small steps of countering activity are possible and some of those I take. It feels good when I make those choices, but negative choices still dominate, by count at least. Something tells me (hope?) count may not be as significant as that good choice do get made and confirmed in acts of will, even joy…..   Small steps. trust. hope. Love. I come. I come. O worthy Lamb of God. I come…

 

 

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QUOTES AND THOUGHTS — Parts 1 through 4

1-  Reconciling God and myself–

” We only know a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled… —But for right now, until that completeness comes, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of all three is love.” – 1 Corinthians, 13, last verses…

“He was supreme in the beginning and — leading the resurrection parade — he is supreme in the end. From the beginning to the end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe– get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down the Cross.”  Colossians, 1, 19-23 (approx)

“What is left for us to do is to act upon this forgiveness by decisively accepting Christ’s love as the organizing center of our identity, as the heart of our existence as a self.” Oates, CHRIST AND SELFHOOD, P. 41   ” He moves, with our permission, into three areas of profound conflict which prevent us from becoming the self we are in his design and that we can be in his workmanship… These deeper conflicts are the conflict between God and man, the conflict between flesh and spirit, and the conflict between self-surrender and self-realization.” ibid, P. 46

It is frightening to feel friends slip off, look down, change the subject when I try to be open about what I am experiencing and how I am being changed. Having so recently been in their place, I do understand, but my love for them drives me to stretch language beyond the limits of what can be expressed. But language only works based on a consensual understanding of the meanings of words. If I had not had an unmistakably real encounter with Christ/The Father/The Holy One, and repeatedly had such encounters since,  I would have died 4 years ago, so unsatisfied with living I was. Amazing Grace is not just a beautiful song to me, it is a statement about a Truth which I have experienced and when I hear that song I tear up with grateful joy at that Truth which saved my life and makes it worth living. The shining, bright as the sun, impels me; how can I not sing?  But I do dislike to be thought simply crazy, to be asked do I believe in Santa Claus, too? Walking along, gaily whistling, looking at the sky, with a feather in my cap, my possessions bundled and hanging from a stick held over my shoulder, heedless of the little yapper nipping at my heels or the cliff at the edge of the path— Am I crazy that I do not fear?  I know I am not. I am a child of the Creator of all that is, who loves me and who protects me and who commands me only to love Him and all my brothers and sisters and myself. May the Holy One, bright shining as the sun, bless you and keep you and fill your cup with joy.

2. – Flesh and Spirit –

A friend and fellow truth-seeker once said to me– Why is it, do  you think, that every time I get really, really high I want to smoke, which brings me down??? I am Thinking about the reality of Jesus actualizing the Christ. Now I am attempting the same, but since Christ did it already , He sets tone, pace, and most importantly, the example… I find the conflict between flesh and spirit the hardest to resolve. It is so hard, I find it hard to even think about, much less write about. There is so much of shame and humiliation and uncertainty and anger and fear in the history of how I came to be as I perceive myself to be, that it is hard to is hard to let go of my clinch around the idea that I must somehow make it all right. There is an old hymn that I sing a lot to calm my agitation about all this. I will quote the passages I find so very healing to reiterate:  Just as I am, and waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot/ To thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!/ … tho’ tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt,/ Fightings and fears within and without… / …poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing of the mind,/ Yea, all I need in Thee to find…/ Just as I am– Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; / Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!  The wisdom here is in releasing to The Father the task, and the agency which makes that possible is the great working Jesus did to reconcile his human self and the divine being he also was and then redeeming all humankind by making of his fully realized human/divine self a living sacrifice, thus opening a doorway through Him to the Father’s healing embrace… Having won the battle over the evil forces of the world, He lifted his head and prayed Father forgive them for they know not what they do… And you and I were forgiven. Then came the triumph over the Great Shadow of Death. So the real labor left to me is to LET Him take all the broken, twisted, dislocated pieces of what I am and re-form, and “fit them together in vibrant harmonies”…. My fragile ego still seeks to avoid some changing but Paul addresses that by pointing out how little we can see of God’s Reality which is at work in us, and he advises that as we wait for the consummation we so ardently desire that we Trust God steadily, Hope unswervingly, and Love extravagantly– the greatest being Love. I’m working on the Love part…

 

3 –  Self-realization vs Self-surrender –

This arena is spherical. There are no corners. There are no rounds. There is no bell to save us. And as we battle around and around ourselves, we realize this opposition is perfectly balanced in weight and necessity. I ask– what keeps me in this endless inner contest? And, questioning the contest itself: –As a polarity, the terms are in flat contradiction and thus there can be no resolution that doesn’t do great violence to Self. The situation demands a third term which allows a synthesis. Paul in his great explication of love, pauses to remind us that we can not fully know God as we are, with our human limitations; and that until such consummation is possible to dwell in Trust (faith), Hope (expectancy), and Love (over-arching acceptance).

I know this is a pretty deadpan delivery, but the intensity of process is desperate and I periodically get lost in it and Jesus has to rescue me when I fight myself to the point of collapse… By His Grace, He patiently does this; and as I recover, I wryly, ruefully reflect that at least I don’t do it so often anymore and I am grateful once more to feel the compassion and strength which cradles me and heals the consequences of my mistakes (sins). Jesus found Christhood, by his Father’s Grace. By His actions, then, He became the third term by opening the door between me and God, walking through into the infinite and eternal, turning and beckoning me to come and accept the boundless Love of the Father. I too must suffer the Cross and sacrifice my earthbound self. I too must submit to God’s realization of my whole, cleansed, and balanced place in God’s intention. I too must act in accordance with what I am in God’s creation. Jesus shepherds me through the steps as long as I remain open to God’s love. God does the action just as quickly as I can bear. And I am given to drink of the Cup of the Holy Spirit to the limit of my thirst.

I thank God for Scripture and the other records left my those who have followed Christ’s beckoning. Reason, my human mind, my puny understanding, my emotional self can not even begin to encompass this mystery. Paul is right– Steady Trust, unswerving Hope, and extravagant Love– it is my constant prayerful practice, limited only by my constancy. I often fall off this horse and have to dust myself off and humbly ask assistance to remount Constance.

 

— 4. — How it is—

Now comes the hardest part. Recounting my own history– my fall from Grace; my long journey of self-centered suffering; my flight from powerlessness and lust for power; my reluctance to declare my salvation through Christ; my childish clinging to my own way; my continuing struggle to stay the course toward the redemptive Light. Growing up in God’s Love has not been easy; relaxing into God’s loving reformation comes in fits and starts and restarts…

What a friend we have in Jesus, / All our sins and griefs to bear! / What a privilege to carry / Everything to God in prayer! / O what peace we often forfeit, / O what needless pain we bear, / All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

SONNET XXX- Shakespeare —– When to sessions of sweet silent thought / I summon up remembrance of things past, / I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, / And with old woes new wail my dear times’ waste: / Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, / For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night, / And weep afresh love’s long-since cancelled woe, / And moan the expense of many a vanished sight: / Then I can grieve at gievances forgone, / And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er / The sad account of fore-bemoan`ed moan, / Which new I pay as if not paid before. /  But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, / All losses are restored and sorrows end.

I THEN SHALL LIVE AS ONE WHO’S BEEN FORGIVEN… It is in Christ, experienced as the friend who walks with me into the fearful radiance, supports my resolve to accept God’s working, loves me when I cannot love myself, pulls me when I falter– it is through Him I am set free. When I finally crashed into the pit of my powerlessness and reached out to the only source of light and cried out for help from my helplessness, it was He who came and rescued me. He counseled me: Be as a child before our Father. and he will restore your rightful self; I will help you, brother. I often stumble and fall as my old self reflexively  fights to survive in the old way; again and yet again I must reach for the Shepherd’s hand, and there He always is. I have been reasonably happy since this all started, four and a half years ago; that is the mean between highs and lows and a state unprecedented in my life history. I do not achieve this, nor do I sustain it. I enjoy the love of friends unlooked for and even am sometimes aware of having participated in the lifting of others. Yes, I must work to maintain my spiritual health , spiritual awareness, willingness to be guided on a path of God”s defining, and praying the His will be done in me, not mine…But I don’t have to do it alone–Jesus walks with me and provides sustenance on the journey. I am content. May all who read this find the help they need on their journey…God bless us, each and every one.

 

 

FINGERS IN THE EARTH

In the parlours of the parks

Black bees bobble about the deep trees

Honey-buzzing drips on grey stones dark.

As I dream in the night wet wood,

My bones heavy in my weathered house;

 I turn t’ward my death in the humid dark

And my life swirls about my sticks like a sea.

So do I dream it~

Down the hill of flowers

Into the green, wavey pool

‘Mongst roots of the swimming forest–

I dreamed myself a tree

And there among damp leaves

Became long grains of wooden age

Bound to the freedom of life

Home of  the honey combing bees

Tickled by the diplomatic woodpecker

Littler birds flit ‘n’ twitter up and down the leafy stairways

Of my many storied arms

And my toes slowly crumble the stones.

But I have been otherwise made

shaped by the fingers of the earth

Head now resting on a soft knuckle of root…

But there is yet time enough

For everything to be.

ACCEPTANCE

What have I done?

Within and without,

My house is littered with pain.

Who can I blame?

Round and about my mind spins,

Senselessly out of kilter,

Out of time,

Sans patter of excuses.

 

On the horizon… the sun

From under a day-long cloud cover shouts,

Then sinks behind the waters.

The waters lap endlessly the land

As light bleeds slowly out

Of the western wound.

 

No moon

No stars

Clouds and deep mist lock in the dark.

And there on the damp sand

On the breathing shore

In the seething dark

I find acceptance…

 

BIRDY SPAR

The bird of my thought is a Flycatcher

Swooping, turning, flipping like a bat

In pursuit of fleeing fact,

Compelled to the act,

Always in fact,

Right where its at —

Intact.

 

while on still wing in clear light

thought-hawk sails the wind heights

sphere below       —       spheres beyond

reflected in sphere of eye, innocent of fear,

remorseless, near