Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"A house that will not fall..."

"I am not a child now
I can take care of myself
I mustn't let them down now
Mustn't let them see me cry
I'm fine, I'm fine

I try and try to understand
The distance in between
The love I feel and the things I fear
And every single dream…"

- Jonatha Brooke
- From Disney's "Peter Pan – Return to Neverland"

I love Jonatha Brooke's "I Try," because I do try and try, but sometimes I don't feel fine.  This was the case one day last week when I just felt like a total failure.  And it's not the first time. 

Sometimes it just feels like I pray and study and pray and listen and pray, and pray and pray..and still things don't work out the way I thought would certainly be God's way. At least not what I thought God's way should look like.  Am I the only one who wonders, "How could a hurricane take away a grandmother's front porch, why shouldn't a job come through quickly for an out-of-work friend, why can't we find a perfect little cottage for a loved one, why doesn't a relationship issue resolve quickly,and will the check the widow is waiting for really be "in the mail" as promised? 

Yes, everyday I do see countless instances of physical healing, resurrected hopes, and personal, collective and global transformation…but sometimes I just want to not have one day in which I don't feel as if I am leaning into the winds and waves of misunderstanding, self-doubt or regret…gripping the rock with my toes and hanging on for dear life. 

Shouldn't all that prayer and study prevent misunderstandings,  unkindness, alarming physical symptoms, and the threat of  hurricane each season? 

Well, I was sitting in my office last week deep in the midst of a personal storm while studying scripture and taking calls when I came upon one of Jesus' parables that I had read so often I could recite it, word-for-word, by heart:

"…whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man,
Which built his house upon a rock;

And the rains descended,
And the floods came,
And the winds blew,
And beat upon that house;

And it fell not:
For it was founded upon a rock..."

But this time it spoke to my heart in a new way.  As I broke it down it came to me with such clarity…this guy does everything right: he hears Jesus' sayings, he does what Jesus asks of him, he is wise and builds his house upon a rock…you would think that would lead to only good…  sunny days, light breezes, gentle rain, calm seas…not!!!  The rains descend, the floods come, the winds blow, and his house gets beaten.  So what is different for this guy, who does everything right and the guy who builds on the sand? 

So back I go to the text:

"And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine
and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man
which built his house uon the sand;

And the rains descended,
And the floods came,
And the winds blew,
And beat upon that house;
And it fell:
And great was the fall of it."

So, hmm…both guys get hurricanes, monsoons, tornadoes…but the wise guy's beaten house just doesn't fall…it still gets buffeted, flooded and beaten…it just doesn't fall. 

So, I thought, "what have I done wrong, I always pray, study, listen, obey as best as I can to what God is saying…"  But then the question came…out of the blue, "What is your house…is it a job, a marriage, an arm, a bank account, a day without challenges?"  And immediately on the heels of that question, came Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual interpretation of the last line from the 23rd Psalm, "And I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] forever" (
Science and Health pg. 578).

There it was.   A sweet peace swept over my heart like a soft breeze after a long storm.  The rains, winds, floods and beating were not prevented by the "wise" man who listens to Jesus' sayings, and does them, and builds on a rock.   Both the wise and the foolish experience them.  And these storms take many shapes.  Joblessness, a marriage that ends in divorce, financial uncertainty, a life-threatening diagnosis, an actual hurricane, feelings of depression, sadness or despair…or even just the day-to-day suggestions that we are cranky, resentful, judgmental or petty mortals. 

These tornadoes of personal sense swirl around us but they are NOT the house that is so ill-founded that it falls.  Nor is owning a home without a mortgage, a secure job, a comfortable bank balance, or a symptomless body a measure of a house that doesn't fall...no matter how lovely those instances may be or how grateful I am for every bit of good I am blessed with. Otherwise, my house is constantly moving.  One day I am debt-free, but my conversation with a friend is rife with misunderstanding, or the next I find a suspicious growth, but my marriage is  happy.  Where do I find my ground in this kind of ever-changing, always moving measure of being a wise or foolish man/woman.

But, the house that doesn't fall isn't found in a job, a marriage, a bank account, a healthy organization or a beautiful body.  The house that doesn't fall is found in the "consciousness of Love", our consciousness, our awareness that we even when we can't get out of bed...we can always love, we can always find God as Love being expressed…somewhere…in the world, in our world and the world at large, and find our hope restored, our faith buoyed, our desire to go to God in prayer…one more time…resurrected. 

For me, this is the house that is built on a Rock and will not fall.  I realized that I may not always have sunny days with calm winds out of the East…that the waves of self-doubt may lash at my foundation and the winds of "what if" may try to take the roof off of my little cottage on a Rock, but my house, my consciousness of Love, will not fall.  Even if I am picking pieces of weathered clapboard off the beach and re-pointing the foundation the next day…I can
always go into my little house on the Rock and find God there in all His eloquent silence and listen for His "Peace be still (never-the-less)…and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." 

"I can finally see it
Now I have to believe
All those precious stories
That the world is made of...
Faith, and trust... and pixie dust

So, I'll try
Because I finally believe
I'll try, cuz I can see what you see

I'll try, I'll try
I will try…"

Enjoy a cup of tea in God's house by the sea…because it is in this house, in this "consciousness of Love", that:

"the winds and waves can shock
oh, nevermore…"

-Mary Baker Eddy

with Love,



  1. I love this comment from a friend who wrote me directly:

    "Ah that longing to KNOW GOD. I'm learning to love that feeling too. Maybe when your house is built on a rock, your perspective of the storms change too...if not afraid of the lightening, rain and wind perhaps you can see in them beauty....maybe you eventually don't even see the storms at all---just the face of God everywhere all the time."

    I agree with her...this hearkens back to what Mrs. Eddy said when she dispelled a storm:

    "When I wanted to dispel a storm, I did not say, 'there is no thunder, and no lightning,' but I said, 'God's face is there and I do see it".
    (Adelaide Still reminiscences in Christian Healer - Fettweiss/Warneck)

    This soooo connects all the dots for me....it isn't that something isn't happening...but that it is ALL about God...God always there..the only Cause and Creator...and of only good.

    I've worked with that statement by Mrs. Eddy many, many times...I thought I had dissected it and applied it every way possible...I even have a posted piece on this blog about it...but your comment has given me a whole new way of thinking about it...thank you thank you thank you!

    Ahhh...."and oh the peace I feel...and oh the love" - Chris Rice

    Thanks friend...

  2. Thanks, Kate, for this great post! How awakening these ideas are. And thanks for sharing your friends email, too.