Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Way of Living Life

I always forget - every year - that advent wrecks me. 

When the kids were little I would sit and stare at the candlelight year after year, with no words left at the end of my days except: I am so, so tired. Those syllables would trickle down my cheeks and I would confess my failures - real or imagined - one after another. And I would love Mary's story. I would find comfort, time and again, in her trembling acquiescence: I don't know why me and I know that I can't, but I will do this magnificent job of raising such precious people. 

Three years ago, the seasons shifted. I sat and my belly hurt and I was terrified and all I could offer was another frightened and not-at-all-brave yes. I had - after all - fought over it long and hard - but there it was. I gave it back. It meant everything to me. It was my heart. Knowing it was going to be broken once more. And it has been. 

Last year I walked the forest trails and I let go. I knelt in frozen dirt and wept and opened my hands and relinquished. I picked up trust. And she was true.

This December, here I am again. The season is about preparation and anticipation. It is a nightly turning to listen and grow still. It is a choice for light to overcome darkness and to do that it must burn through. Again and again I anticipate coziness and, instead, I am handed heat.

My recovery is going well. Thank God. I've even been able to go for walks and that is such a gift of perspective to me. In other ways, though, we are hard pressed - we will either break or be broken (in the right ways.) In ways financial, healing, provision, government changes - all are things we are waiting for - it's hard to summarize - but we know God is present, we know He's involved.

But I am also battle weary in the midst of all that. And I hear an invitation to rest. To rest from a place of thirst. To wait from a place of longing. To be at peace in a barrel of confusion. And, really, again, to trust.   

I think about how every single one who found the stable had come a great distance. Even the baby. We follow vague signs, we listen to incomprehensible choruses, we obey untimely laws, we hobble in broken and disbelieving and there we find our hope.

And we find fellow wanderers. We aren't the only ones.  And all we can do together is kneel. We can take in the sight and beauty and quiet and long for a day when there is no more darkness, no more grieving, no more pain and no more hurt. 

In the meantime we worship a baby, who became a man, who unleashed our thirst for a world He foretold. And in the glimpses of it we are called to rest. To be at peace. 

Even when we break because of that hope.

by Mary Oliver

Another morning and I wake with thirst 
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the
hour and the bell; grant me, in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a 
long conversation in my heart. Who
knows what will finally happen or
where I will be sent, yet already I have
given a great many things away, expect-
ing to be told to pack nothing, except the
prayers which, with this thirst, I am
slowly learning. 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Always such deep and heart felt thoughts on your blog...I enjoy them. :)
There was a time a few years back when a few friends of mine sat around a TV Screen listening to someone speak about this very thing. After the DVD was finished was sat and looked at one another and then my firend said, "I hate what is going on in my life just now, I am hoping for so many things and nothing seems to be happening!" We all felt the ach you wrote about for one reason or another. Then the thought crossed my mind, yes we are waiting, most of us on God, but what if there wasn't a god to wait on? I would hate a life like that. So we all wept and agreed we hated what He was doing in our lives but where else could we go? Peter Said it best to Jesus after he spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. I don't get what you are saying, but you have the words of eternal life. I'll follow you.
Those who trust in the Lord WILL NOT be disappointed!