Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"You will miss these days…"

there's a shadow
hanging over me…"
- Lennon/McCartney

"There will come a time, when you will miss these days," he said with a sigh. I was sure he was either as mad-as-a-hatter, or worse yet, just-plain-mean, for saying this to me.

When I think of that conversation, and my mentor's sigh, it's not so much the lyrics from Lennon and McCartney's, "Yesterday," that come to mind, but its tone that rings true.

I'd called my friend because my life was falling apart. Everything -- my marriage, my career, my body, my dreams -- were all coming loose at the seams and I couldn't hold it together. I was afraid and empty.  And the only thing that took away that feeling of total panic and hopelessness, was a book: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

I'm not saying that everything between the book's covers made sense to me, just that reading it seemed to lift the fog that engulfed every other moment.  I was tired, I'd been very ill, and I was feeling more alone than I'd ever felt in my life. I didn't have a job, and I didn't know how to navigate this landscape -- at all.

I needed to be useful, so I begged a friend to let me volunteer in her department.  Those hours spent in service to others, kept me from going mad. I sat at a desk outside her office, answered her phone, did odd office jobs, and read from the copy of Science and Health that I kept in the top right drawer  - laying open on top of pens, pencils, paper clips, and rubber bands.

It helped, but I wanted more than relief. I was hungry for healing. I was aching to find peace from the pain. I was starving for the Truth that would make it all go away -- the sorrow, the confusion, the emptiness.

All the truths I'd thought I understood -- about being a good human -- had just dissolved before my eyes. I couldn't believe that I had studied scripture, prayed daily, served my church faithfully, and was still facing such a "dark night of the soul."

But I was. And my friend was right. There would come a time when I would miss those days. There would come a day -- in the not too distant further -- when I would miss the raw ache of wanting a deeper spiritual understanding, in the midst of human delusion. And there have been days, since then, when I have yearned for the kind of "on my knees, begging for spiritual nourishment"  moments which I so sorely felt in those weeks and months of spiritual hunger. But there have also been days when I wondered why I missed them so. 

They still come, but today, I know enough to not be so afraid when I am facing the darkness. I have discovered that these are "the best of times," in what my human sense of things calls, "the worst of times." 

And I understand my mentor's sigh now. I think back to how every word of Scripture felt like a drop of water on my cracked and thirsty heart. I tear-up with gratitude for having walked that path, and for having found the waymarks left along the way by Biblical (and contemporary) spiritual travelers who must have known that others -- like me -- would follow, and need their encouragement to keep going.

And I did find a new view of things. It's funny, recently someone told me that I never remember to say, "and the healing came…" I am often remiss in acknowledging that there was a shift in my experience because I get so caught up in the stark beauty of the spiritual journey.  But there was a shift -- many shifts.

And I am so very grateful. There were so many fingerposts along the way. Small messages of encouragement that kept my head above water, and saved me from drowning in despair.

For example, I remember the first time I read this Beatitude, from Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount," in the book of Matthew with new eyes:

"Blessed are they
which do hunger and thirst
after righteousness:
for they
shall be filled."

To realize that the primary blessing was in the hungering and thirsting. And that the "being filled," was almost an after thought -- "oh yes, and they shall be filled." This gave me such a sense of peace.

And then there was that moment when I read this note of encouragement from Eddy's Science and Health:

"Our disappointments
and ceaseless woes
turn us like tired children
to the arms of divine Love,
then we begin
to learn life in divine Science.”

and realized that facing disappointments and ceaseless woes wasn't the end of my spiritual journey -- the equivalent of a rejection button on my failed prayers. But that these moments were actually the beginning of learning something new about life in divine Science -- now that was a big sigh moment.

Today, having faced many moments of disappointment and woe -- my own, or another's -- I've come to accept and embrace them with less fear, and more grace. They can still shake me, but they can't touch what I know to be true: that these are not days of failure, but days filled with spiritual hunger.  And these are the days that I will miss. Because these are often the days when the light of Truth is most clearly seen in the context of human disappointment and woe.

I've also discovered that I have it in me to really love this hunger. I know that I want these experiences that lead me deeper and deeper into the fields of the Lord -- gleaning every fallen seed.  So now, it is me that is sighing - with a sweet, sober sense of expectation and love.  I sigh, because I know, that when my world seems to be falling apart, I am just beginning a new journey.

offered with Love,


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful post that just breathes humility and divine Love -- so grateful for all the peace I've experienced through your website