Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pause for Reflection

I love checking up on the blogs of my friends around the world. It's always so fascinating to get a glimpse into their lives, and I truly hope that people find something of interest or inspiration in the things that I write as well. It's difficult to keep everything up to date. Life happens. It comes in and carries me away. Without easy computer access in my house it's hard for me to find a time when I feel like spending extra time sitting in my office (like now) or when I want to spend extra money for a drink so I can sit in Bartholomeus. Life is full of distractions on a daily basis, so I certainly don't blame people for getting behind. All the same, when I check a site regularly for a couple weeks with no updates I tend to leave it be for a while. It's always interesting how those moments when I leave it be the person decides to suddenly write endlessly, or in the case of people like my friend Ann Ong, to do a month of posts. If I've suddenly gone a month without checking on her, I can suddenly find myself with a whole lotta reading to do.
The point of this little diatribe is that yesterday I discovered I'd let a blog sit a bit too long and had some serious catching up to do. Thursdays generally being long, I decided to enjoy a brief moment when I wasn't overly loaded with things to do to catch up on the life of Rebecca Smith. I'm going to be seeing her tomorrow in Vienna, and it's always best to do your homework before hanging out :) I always really enjoy reading her blogs when she's updating. She has so much to offer and share, and such a beautiful honest style.
As I read through Rebecca's accounts of the past month or so, I came across a passage that really spoke to me. In days of late I've been going through one of those dark nights of the soul. I've been really searching for the purpose of my time here. As I've struggled with ideas of identity and direction I've found it difficult to make sense of life in general. I know that God is in control. I rely upon that fact with every fiber of my being. He is in control, and he is also good. Without the second half, where would the point be. But there is more to it than that as well. Not only is he good, but he is also loving. His total goodness would clearly leave no room for any member of faulty humanity to stand. But he is able to take his goodness and balance it with his love; to accept our weakness and our total inability to live lives that are always pleasing to him.
I am far from answers. Far from any real semblance of meaning. But these words that Rebecca quoted in her blog really woke something in me:

(Nouwen's The Inner Voice of Love)
'Acknowledge Your Powerlessness'
"One way you keep holding on to an imaginary power is by expecting something from outside gratifications or future events. As long as you run from where you are and distract yourself, you cannot fully let yourself be healed. A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground in which it is sown. When you keep digging the seed up to check whether it is growing, it will never bear fruit. Think about yourself as a little seed planted in rich soil. All you have to do is stay there and trust that the soil contains everything you need to grow. This growth takes place even when you do not feel it. Be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received."

I live my life in an endless state of powerlessness and variety. When I read these words I think of the transience of my life. The title I have taken upon myself speaks of the restlessness of my desire. Ever searching. Ever looking for something more to fill me.
I obsess about the future, and fight to make it what I dream. I look for people to meet the needs that cause me to curl up and beg for oblivion at night. I've lived a life focused on an unspecified goal. I've sought to discover the meaning of the rejections, the slights I feel have been dealt to me.
Being still is one of the most difficult things imaginable to me. I hate being totally still. In high school it was my goal to be a perpetual motion machine. This was partly due to confused ideas of physical perfection, unattainable through any natural means. However, as time has passed I've created within myself a need for action. To do only one thing at a time seems a waste. As do things like eating and sleeping. They take up time and money, and yet seem to achieve relatively little. Their purpose is only to consume, and all the while I desire to produce. To produce, you might ask, and it would be a very good question.
The thing is, I don't have the slightest idea what it is I'm supposed to be pouring all this time and effort in to. Or I have ideas, but don't ever get around to them. I mean, I know I'm supposed to write. I know it deep down inside of me where the heart and soul throb together in the dark. To write words that will speak to others, to play out the things I've learned by watching them and listening to them and dreaming of what being them must feel like. But in my quest for action the very time I seek to create for production is spent elsewhere.
I've heard of, and even known in wider family circles, people who have managed to spend all kinds of money with nothing to show for it. In a sense, I can see how that can happen with the waste of time. I can have these very good ideas that never reach fruition because I manage to come up with twenty other possibilities and then I don't get anything done at all.
I feel that I'm rambling, and not really achieving what I wanted to do with this time either. I'm heading for Vienna tomorrow. I have a solid 8 hour train ride to get through. I will be alone. Just me and my journal and my ipod and a passel of strangers, journeying through the leafless countryside of Europe. I don't want to take the words of Nouwen completely literally. I don't think he's saying that, in order to heal we have to have a place on this earth to call home. I don't think he's condemning those who travel. What he is speaking to is the restless nature that tends to inspire such constant change.
When I lived in Hong Kong I can remember feeling so alive. I got to a point where I was able to just go through my life breathing. Part of the reason I didn't think too much of the future was because it freaked me out. Especially my first year there. I'd come to find that dreamlike place to be more reality than anything I had ever experienced before. If I thought about leaving I was left with a sense of dread, so I learned to just drink in the moments as they came. I want to do that again. Not because I'm afraid, but because only by living the life that is right in front of me can I really experience the moments I was meant to live in.
I do think I spend too much time creating a sense of busyness. But at the same time, it's how I create energy. Too much solitude and all I want to do is curl up and reenter that deep depressed cocoon of sleep. What I need to do is find some sort of balance. Some way to settle myself into the life God has given me to live, and to soak in the experiences he has blessed me to have. My mind is full and bursting, and the thought of hours with my journal are refreshing...
Tomorrow to Vienna!

1 comment:

Joni said...

Girl, I love you!! You know, sometimes we only see part of the picture. That God is preparing us... It sounds so elementary, but He trains us. If He just gave us the task without training us we would be useless. This way you are fully equipt for His Purpose. Your friend is right, I love her quote by the way. Some days we wake up and say, Today God I choose you and your purpose, not mine but fully you. Than brace yourself.