Original watercolor by Matthew LaJoy
In the midst of the of the noise, sometimes you need silence.
In the midst of the coming and going, sometimes you need stillness.
In the midst of the conflict and clamor, sometimes you need peace.
Gradually, thanks to the reaching out of others, I am re-centering and re-grouping. An email from a mentor mommy, the only one I truly have whose life mirrors my own (well, times 2 maybe!), who took the time away from the birth of a new life to help me see my experiences through God's eyes. A 2 hour phone call with someone who loves our family and is in a position to offer insight which is based upon knowledge of how we function helped. Time this morning with someone, sitting still, just breathing, being comfortably with God and in communion with one another...and later gaining their considerable insight helped as well.
There is alone-ness...and yet there is not.
What a gift to be surrounded by people who will say "Come be with me...", who care enough to give up their precious time in what I know are extremely busy lives to listen, to help bring voice to things I might not yet even be able to. I am swimming in a sea of warmth and great depth. These people whose lives intersect with mine by choice are what I wish I could be for others...
Today I have filtered through photos, seeing young faces grow up right before my eyes. I have relived the past 5 years in the lives of children whom I love...and yet I am not yet there for them.
And I am reminded that for them too, there is alone-ness...and yet there is not.
This world can be a bleak and bitter place to walk around in. Daily we encounter the hostile and hurtful side of life on the evening news or on our computer screens with up-to-the-moment coverage of current events. We see people exploited and exposed.
Sometimes we feel that way ourselves.
It is at those moments when I can not, for the life of me, figure out how I walked around for so long with a distant and impersonal relationship with God. How did I manage it??? I recall those days easily, and then quickly try and swish them aside, for the loneliness then was real and heavy. Oh, I would try and reach out once in awhile, tried to call God into my presence, but the simple fact is that I just didn't "get it". I was unable to see God in others, I was unable to see God in situations, I was unable to see God walking alongside me...mainly because I was unable to understand that I had the power to distance myself from the Divine. It was all my own doing.
These days I see God in everything, all around me. Probably to the point that if I spoke of it much people would lock me up as a nut case and throw away the key. It doesn't mean my life has gotten any easier. Au contraire, in many ways it is more overwhelming and difficult than ever before. The difference is that I am no longer walking around unaware of God walking beside me. The mere act of looking for God in the mundane daily tasks of life leads me to walk with my head panning the landscape around me as I search for the presence of the Holy in everything. It lifts my head up rather than causing me to look downward at the ground as I shuffle along without that awareness that makes life that much more rewarding.
There may be alone-ness, but then again, there is not.
Tears welled up as I sorted through those missing 5 years of our children's lives...and as I contemplated the years that came even before that. We can never get that time back, and we have missed so very much. Faces matured, bodies grew taller and lankier, hair changed from short bobs to longer tresses. And yet the smiles filled with hope remained. Somehow, God staved off the dullness and the blank stares that institutionalization usually brings. Were we used in that? Maybe. Did our contact and expression of love long before the current new life that is just within reach was known make a difference? Maybe.
We all can be used by God, even those who don't believe in God can still be instruments if they are willing to simply put themselves out there, be vulnerable, and have faith that something...even if in your own mind you do not call it "God" ...exists and you let the Spirit move within you. We think we have to have it all figured out to be able to let God (or whatever you may call it) use us for the benefit of others. If we all had to wait until we had it all figured out before we could be useful in a spiritual sense, then there would be very few vessels around that God would feel free to use! Thankfully though, God looks at the mis-thrown pots, the cracked pots, the leaking pots, the ugly and the beautiful pots and jumps up and down with glee, clapping hands and saying "Whooo Eeeeee....Boy, can I use that one!". And the next thing you know, Shazzam, you find yourself in the midst of a modern day miracle. Big or small is not measured, for anything involving God and a human being who feels connected is a mini-miracle in this world where ever more often God is relegated to the corner to be forgotten for awhile until a crisis occurs. Then we sure do try and pull God out of back pockets, don't we?
But why wait for that? Why not slip God out of that back pocket and let the Spirit loose in your life? You might be very surprised at what you see and learn if you do.
And you might just find there is alone-ness,
but then again, maybe there's not.