I just turned off the stove and sat down; noticing it’s already 9:45 PM, cooking can wait until tomorrow. At 8 PM, I only meant to rest for 5 minutes, but instead I read for an hour, did a few things, and the evening evaporated. That’s fine; it was a productive day, and an enjoyable evening.
That 5 minute rest took a while because I just bought my first Kindle book. I had to install the app, download the book, and test it on two devices. It’s workable on a PC, but elegant on an iPad. I love digital reading! You can highlight, cut, paste, share, and quote… In fact, I want to share a quote with you. The book I’m reading was recommended by the facilitators of a retreat I recently took, and it’s profound — “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp. Here’s what struck me tonight:
“I wonder too … if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave. Maybe so. But how?”
Voskamp, Ann (2011-01-04). One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (p. 22). Zondervan.
I appreciate Ann’s openness and honesty, her deep gaze into the brokenness of life. As I shared in a recent post, I’ve had crises in life, and crises of faith. One of them I could barely see God through for years, although slowly, light began filtering in through cracks. Another catastrophic crisis rent a hole so deep and sudden that the light poured in as I cried, “God, help me!” For years, although my heart-wound was still open, I always sensed the presence of God; in fact, I felt a deep link to Jesus’ suffering through my own. So I’ve personally experienced crises that drove out the light, and crises that drove me to it. Or, as Ann would say, I’ve chosen to ask “Why, God?,” in doubt and denial, and I’ve chosen to say “Help, God!,” and cling closer than ever. When not in crisis, I’ve had times of sharing frequent moments with God, and extended periods of spiritual drought. Times of choosing awareness, and times of losing awareness.
Right now, I’m seeking, and sensing, God, but I’m aware of a distance. Weariness dominates my experience; joy is a ray of sunshine granting respite. I want the reverse experience — to bask in the light, with occasional shadows. I’m seeking it, and my inability to create it myself is driving me to use it as a window to the other-world.
What about you — are you basking in the light, living with open hands, or have you clenched your fists, as Ann did after experiencing deep pain? Consider taking a walk this weekend to do a personal “systems check” and see where you are on the spectrum.