"Old Mr. Webster
could never define
what's being said
between Your heart
Alison Krauss' "When You Say Nothing at All," has been one of my all-time favorite songs for almost thirty years. But it speaks to a different place in me today, than it did the first time I heard it.
In those days, it was all about "Him." Today, it is all about Him. This song reminds me that my relationship with God is not in words, but in the Word. It is not found in a particular scripture or a string of quotes -- however much I love them. It is in, as Mary Baker Eddy suggests in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that:
"sweet and certain sense
that God is Love."
It is a feeling -- not a sentence. It is an indwelling sense of trust in the unseen. It is that which is insensible to the senses. It is a silent, abiding confidence in His promise:
"Lo, I am with you alway…"
Recently I woke with a heavy heart. The voices of "human reason" were relentless -- and, they made sense. Everything they suggested -- when weighed in the scale of "should haves" - left me feeling negligent, stupid, "Kate, you've-got-your-head-in-the-clouds" naive. I couldn't seem to drown them out with words, sentences, or inspired "thinking."
I lay there with a weight on my chest and a tightness in my throat that was almost unbearable. Words, words, words, -- tumbled around in me like an aggregate of stone and sand in a churning cement mixer. That is, until I remembered to feel. To just feel the power of the Word. I slowed my breathing. I closed my eyes. I moved my focus from my head to my heart and became very quiet -- silent actually. Not just silent in a "no noise" way -- but silent in a "no words" way.
And there it was -- that sweet and certain sense that God is Love. That feeling of "God with us." A feeling that -- no matter what was swirling around me or in my "head" -- God was with me, just because I loved. Because I felt love. Period. I let myself feel the love I have for my daughters, my love for camp, my love for my work. I didn't think about my work, I felt my love for my work -- without reason.
It was enough.
I was free. And with this freedom, came the joy of just being -- well, me. The me of God's creating. The me that He inspires, sustains, and calls according to His purpose. Moment-by-moment.
There are many statements from Mary Baker Eddy's writings that have fed and sustained this quiet sense of spiritual self-assurance in my heart. I'd love to share just a couple of them here, with gratitude and love for her ongoing spiritual guidance.
"The infinite Truth of the Christ-cure
has come to this age through a “still, small voice,”
through silent utterances and divine anointing
which quicken and increase the beneficial effects
I long to see the consummation of my hope,
namely, the student’s higher attainments
in this line of light."
"In order to pray aright,
we must enter into the closet
and shut the door.
We must close the lips
and silence the material senses.
In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings,
we must deny sin and plead God’s allness."
I am learning that there is a quiet that is deeper than "no sound." There is a quietness of the heart. A quietness that is the felt presence of God. It is a stillness. Rather than a straining and a striving for the right words in "thinking about" God -- it is the actually feeling of God's presence. It is a spiritual sense of Love that fills the breast. And there are no words -- at least none that I know of -- that can describe its meaning or weight.
In a piece that Eddy chose to include in her last collected writings, The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, she begins with this brief statement:
"I have nothing new to communicate,
all is in your textbooks."
This sentence was a sobering discovery some years ago. Now it is a beautiful gift. If she had nothing new to communicate, why did I think I needed to find something new to say, or a new way to say it. It is all in my textbooks -- the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures -- and this realization has given me a more laser-like focus on the richness of those source materials.
It has given me permission to be quiet - to simply share my experiences -- when it seems right. And to be so quietly transfixed on those primary texts, that perhaps anyone who walks into the room wonders, "what is she gazing at -- so lovingly."
And the funny thing is, that these texts only send me back -- even more deeply -- in search of that feeling of "Immanuel, God with us" -- the sovereign ever-presence [that] delivers the children of men from every ill…"
For me, this is the healing place, the transforming and redeeming place. The place where God and men do meet.
offered with Love,