Wonder, Fear and Longing (Yaconelli) Day 3

What do you want? Jesus asked in John 1: “What are you looking for?”

I have always wanted to belong.

This meant fitting in, being accepted, appreciated, tolerated, lovingly challenged, celebrated and when needed forgiven.

Fitting in meant not having a special designation that segregated me from others or brought unwanted attention.

Being accepted meant being one among several or many who was allowed to have high hopes, expresses frustrations and anger, allowed to develop her own skills for success.

Appreciated for special gifts or sensibilities; tolerated for ignorant remarks and lack of knowledge.

Lovingly challenged to improve, to be corrected, to mature.

Celebrated for unique contributions as well as simply for being one of the family.

Forgiven, time and time over, when my words or actions harmed someone.

For now, I don’t feel as though I have found the place I belong.

I Feel a Little Lost from Where I Belong

I’m trying to re-gather all my pieces, to re-member me. But, I can’t quite get it right.
Something important is missing. Something fundamental is missing.

I can’t name it. I don’t know where to find it. I don’t know how to look for it.

I’ve been told I was born with the gift of fortitude.
Fortitude is for survival mode.  I’d like to do more than survive. 

But, some pieces of me are gone for good now. I can’t be put back together as I was. 

I’m waiting for something; something to hear, or see or feel that will give me that central piece I need.
What is that central piece for the rebuilding that must be done?

I’m listening, and watching for the essential thing to rebuild me.
I hope I don’t miss it.  I hope I’m looking in the right direction and it doesn’t pass behind me. 

Ahh, keeping up with where I think I’m supposed to be is exhausting.
God, you’re going to have to hold onto me because I feel a little lost.

Wonder, Fear and Longing (Yaconelli) Day 2

Desire – a craving, longing, or yearning – suggest feelings that impel one to the attainment or possession of something (in our imagination or in reality). To attain something either in our imagination or in our psychic/physical reality.  

Sometimes I think God exists only in our imagination.  That humans, for as long as we’ve had cognitive abilities, have done the best we can to understand how the world works and we attribute the unknowable or, rather the not-yet-identified and known, to an entity we call God. So, God is understood thru the best of our abilities to imagine, identify and express. Only in these limited human ways can we speak about God. I get a little defensive when people start putting words in God’s mouth to claim what God wants or thinks. God, by definition is omnipotent and unknowable. Remember how God put Job in his place? I would hesitate to speak on behalf of such an entity as if my familiarity with God gave me permission to infer the mind of God.

Job chapter 38: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
    I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know! …

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
     and caused the dawn to know its place,…

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.

19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21 Surely you know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

28 “Has the rain a father,
    or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
    and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
30 The waters become hard like stone,
    and the face of the deep is frozen…

33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?…

35 Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
    and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
    or given understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?

41 Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God,
    and wander about for lack of food?

Therefore, it is only for me to speak my desires into the universe, it is not for me to speak of the universe’s desire, or God’s desire or your’s either – this craving, longing, or yearning that only the individual can know of her own. I do not presume to say our desires will be met by God.  The psalmist wrote: “who is man that you are mindful of him?” Desires are part of the human existence and spoken aloud in prayer in hopes that they will be met.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Wonder, Fear and Longing (Yaconelli) Day 1

I’ve started a new book, Wonder, Fear, and Longing – a book of prayers by Mark Yaconelli.  It’s a book I had to read for class last semester, but I wanted to spend more time with it so I’m going back to the beginning of the book. I like how Yaconelli slows the pace of this to give us a short chapter on an attribute: the first chapter is on love.  Then we’re given scripture to prime our thoughts followed by a prayer for the activity of meditation upon several quotes for the day. He asks us to take a deep breath, find a comfortable position and begin identifying everything reframing things as God’s love. Then he suggests we ask God to remind us of a time when we felt deeply loved.  I spent some time on my yoga mat trying to remember as far back as I could.

I have a vivid memory of when I was 4 or 5 years old and Dad carrying my in from the car at night because I’d fallen asleep in the back seat.  I remember this one particular night because he told me I was getting too big for him to carry. I’d have to walk from the car to the house. I remember feeling so, so sad and disappointed that I’d no longer feel dad’s strong body lifting me and balancing me as he opened the house door.  I remember how I loved feeling secure and cared for on the nights he carried me and I woke half way because of the cold night air against the warmth of my breath.

I tried to go further back in my memory and while I have some from when I was three or maybe even two there’s only one that is particularly caring/loving.  My grandfather had come to our house after a hospital stay.  I wanted to climb up on his bed and keep him company.  My mom was trying to scoot me out of the room so grandpa could rest. He suggested we lay down for a little nap and I was so pleased with myself for winning over mom.  I stayed with him for all of about 3 minutes skittering down off the tall bed (tall for a 2 or 3 year old). What was loving about it was how grandpa was willing to have me next to him. He probably knew it’d only last a short while.

I miss physical closeness with loved ones. I miss arms that envelop me and make me feel safe. For this week’s meditation, Yaconelli wants us to identify where God was in that remembered moment.  When I think of the male aspect of God I like to remember feeling safe and guarded in my dad’s or grandpa’s strong protective and supportive arms. Sometimes I’m able to sense a presence behind me with my shoulders and back tucked snuggly under arms that keep me safe, but don’t hold me back from being who I’m meant to be. I imagine that presence as Jesus.  I like that feeling.

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Section 4 Day 17

Today Rev. Thurman reminds us that in all our striving and seeking God; God is seeking us. “Therefore, I will be still, I will quiet my reaching out, I will abide; for to know really that God is seeking me; to be aware of that NOW is to be found of God.”  Here’s my own way of seeking God, in the presence of others.  Seeking the Holy One in the faces of others.

I Wait for You    
Fa Lane

Lord today may I see your face in everyone I meet.

O Holy One, may I send out the warmth of your love in each conversation.

Radiant One, may I reflect your goodness, your patience, your encouragement into this world that is full of disdain, intolerance, mistrust and doubt.

Oh, Best Comforter, grant me ears to listen to the woes and complaints of others without being drawn into judgment, but rather drawn into compassion.

Creator Divine, may I provide shelter and sustenance for hearts that are hurting.

Delicate Arbiter, show me options and solutions that are win-win; that promote reconciliation and bring forth the best in others.

O Source of Trust, show me again today your benevolent ways that open my heart and lighten my way.

Watching for miracles and living for love I wait for your arrival.

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Section 4 Day 3

Thanksgiving – a time to identify what we’re grateful for. Another opportunity to remember past events and relationships as well as current relationships that have meant something dear to us.

One year, as a family, we did a memory line.  The idea is that you take a long piece of thin rope, or you could use ribbon or twine, etc.  As you tell your life’s story you tie a knot at significant events.  Each year you add on to your memory line as a way of recording for yourself and those for whom your telling your story.

Thurman focuses on the warmth of humankind that he had known: his mother’s arms, his father’s strength, friends to play with, etc. As he remembered the laughter, or twinkle in someone’s eye it was a reminder to him that life is good.

He calls them a sacrament of Thanksgiving – a visible sign of an inward grace.  Often I neglect or forget that the people in my life, the acts of kindness or bravery shown by others, are visible signs of inward grace.

I think we can do this act of remembering any time of the year.  It would be a different kind of journaling.  journal with a string across itWe could bring friends together for a meal every quarter even and recant our lifeline of visible signs of an inward grace.