Monday, January 26, 2009

. . . man is the only wild animal - Chesterton

The romantic, unpredictable nature of humans sets them apart from all other animals. All other species are predictable. Every day animals of all kinds eat, sleep and fight for survival as certainly as the sun rises.

Even the most organized critters do not celebrate their brief histories on earth. Have you ever seen little ant statues celebrating ant heroes or portraits of the most beautiful queen bees hanging in hives? At best these organized communities of insects are forever given to gathering food. All the while humans are given to that work for as limited time as possible so they can give themselves to wild amusement and pleasure. Have you ever seen an ant on vacation?

Our passions and their unpredictable nature make it possible for our love and our anger to be hot enough to set us apart from other, more tame, species. In the deepest recesses of our soul we cannot cast aside our wildest dreams nor our darkest nightmares. There, by God's grace, we see ourselves unmasked as we really are and discover, with God's help, how to move from darkness to light.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Home Again

The events of the past five days made me realize how much I need home. In one sense, I went home to Latah. But, I realize now looking back how homeless I was over this past week. I do not feel at home in that place of my upbringing any longer.

Nouwen writes, "Probably no word better summarizes the suffering in our time than the word 'homeless'. It reveals one of our deepest and most painful conditions, the condition of not having a place where we feel safe, cared for, protected, and loved." - In My Own Words, p. 62

My sense of belonging has slowly shifted from Latah to Bellevue. My longing to be home grew stronger the more I was unable to get there. It took me forty hours, nearly two full days, to travel across the state - a journey that usually takes one-tenth that time. The routines that keep my heart and mind close to God disappeared in my preoccupation to get home. I did not understand it at the time, but my urge to get home and the growing adventure of getting there overwhelmed my attention toward God.

"Yet strain does not seem to do good [in attending to God]. At this moment I feel something, 'let go' inside, and lo, God is here! It is a heart melting 'hereness,' a lovely whispering of father to child, and the reason I did not have it before was because I failed to let go." - Laubach. Letters of a Modern Mystic, p. 26

I realize now the need to "let go" during the past few days. I should have put away my computer and turned my attention from the sensational storm toward disciplined reflection on God. But, now I'm home sipping coffee at Tullys and writing in my journal. My heart and mind lean towards God in this morning ritual, and I know I belong here.

"When we say: 'I wish I were home' we express a longing for that intimate place that offers us a sense of belonging.” Nouwan, p.62