Monday, November 18, 2013

Seek out the Light.

 I had a dream.

I found myself on concrete steps with a slow descent towards a beach. The sun was hiding behind gray clouds and the air was still. As I walked closer to the water, I noticed that I was the only person on this beach. The waves were calm and the stillness of this place settled into my soul as I stood alone.

My heart sank into the serenity of that space. I looked around with curious eyes and all at once, I realized that something was there in that place with me.

She was hovering above me and was clearly still, yet an air that I could not feel was flowing through her being. I could not see her face, if there even was a face to look upon. She came to me as a black substance that billowed and swirled like a dark cloak that moved like a full head of hair immersed in water. She was dark and unknown to me but I felt no fear in her presence.

She came to me but was silent; her presence changed nothing about the peace of this beach. I did not know her by sight but the feeling of her in my soul was familiar and soothing.

I asked her for her name so that I could know her. I asked and asked; I prodded. Every time I asked, she answered calmly. “Golgotha.” I continued to ask because this name made no sense to me; did I create this name for her or was this really her name? It is my dream after all, this is my own truth. But she answered every time in the same quiet, calm voice: “Golgotha. I am Golgotha.”

I told Golgotha about me. Everything I said to her she already knew; she had known me before I had ever known myself. But she was patient and listened. She listened to my probing questions about her and she heard my thoughts. I had a feeling that I had met her before but not in this way; I had never seen her billowing blackness before. There was something different about this space and time; I held no fear. I was enveloped in calm and curiosity; I was not holding my limbs tight around myself but my body was loose and free.

I spoke to Golgotha: “I want to hear what you have come to tell me. I am ready. Speak.”

Golgotha's voice flowed out of the sky: “I am a creature of the dark; I am the creature of the night. I am the creature of depth. You have depth. You will teach people about this depth.”

Yet as these words became understood by me, my eyelids became so heavy; my mind drifted into the great deep. Golgotha soothed me, saying, “There is time for speaking but now you need a rest. You are exhausted; close your eyes.”

I sank into the deep, rolling into unconsciousness. Yet rest did not come; my left ankle came alive with huge amounts of nerve activity. It felt a bit like pain but it wasn't; it was an awakening. The stabbing of awakening punctured through my unconsciousness in this deep. Energy that had been stuck in my body rushed out my ankle as if it was being pushed out by a current. I felt the pumping of release and I welcomed the change. I knew that this was what needed to happen. I let the energy move and rested once again.

As I lost my sense of self in deep rest, I was calm in the silence.

Suddenly, a huge burst of light came at me. It was a sunrise in my soul; it warmed my toes and set my heart on fire. My eyelids were closed but the light was there and brightened my being.

Golgotha spoke in this light; she spoke so strongly that it felt like she was shouting, even though it was the same quiet voice, “This is the Light. It is everywhere and out there. Go and find it. Seek it out, it will be there. Go now, always look for it. You will always find it.”

I lost any air that had been in my lungs; I gasped quickly for the breath of life. As I opened my lungs for air, I awoke to the room around me. I felt my body on the chair I had been resting on. I opened my eyes to this world. I remembered me. And I remembered Golgotha and what she told me. I remembered my task: Seek out the Light; it will always be there but you must look for it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Importants.

This past week I had a paper due. In a fit of anxiety and exhaustion whilst writing, I randomly picked up "The Courage to Change;" a daily devotional from Al-Anon that my mother gave to me quite a few years ago.  It's a devotional that I have found useful in accepting what life truly is: a mixture of joyous and dreadful moments.  So I thumbed my way to the correct day, read the first two sentences of the devotion:

"I read somewhere that the things that are urgent are rarely important, and the things that are important are rarely urgent.  I can get so caught up in the nagging, trivial matters of day-to-day life that I forget to make time for more important pursuits."

Soothing words for my brain that was full of worries about how to question the divinity of the Trinity in my History of Christianity paper.  That paper has since been turned in and is no longer the newest urgent thing; now there are 2 other urgents that I'm fretting about.  Yet my importants remain neglected.  This blog is one of my importants and if this blog could talk, it would be shouting a lament at me because I've left it so alone lately.

What else is lying over there in the corner while I scrabble to check off my urgents?  What importants are you letting slip by as you focus on your urgents?

I think so often about about the people in my life that have dramatically changed how I think, love, and live.  I appreciate these people in my heart yet I never get around to sharing that appreciation; a simple email/card could easily bump up my importants above the trivial urgents.  I've even written these emails in my head when I'm biking, walking, working, or any place where writing an email is impossible; it hasn't come to fruition.  Clearly I'm not placing any sort of urgency to my importants.

What about my spiritual connection to the divine?  I spend so much time reading, writing, discussing, and listening to lectures about theology and the ways that people connect with God.  A common worry/complaint I hear from seminarians/pastors is that they don't know where or how to feed themselves spiritually because of a few reasons: 1) Theological exhaustion; 2) Too much head thinking and not enough heart connecting; 3) No time; 4) Focusing on other people's spiritual well-being.

I find myself in this predicament often, though I can be pretty good at taking myself out of it with blues dancing, acupuncture, spiritual direction, and creative outlets.  That takes a lot of dedication on my part; I have placed a lot of value on my own spiritual and emotional well being this fall, and even so, I often get into cycles of time scarcity.

My time here on Earth will always include enough time to do exactly what my heart wants to do.  My heart does not want to spend that time procrastinating on Facebook or Huffington Post, getting up ridiculously early to finish a paper, and drowning out the voice of God with my anxious thoughts or constant stream of blasting music.

I want to sip my macchiatos slowly; I want to cook with gentle care.  I want to hug with no abandon and write kind words to people that are probably hungry for them.  I long to write because my fingers itch to write my thoughts down; I yearn for a moment when I hope that someone brings up spirituality and theology because my heart wants to connect on a deeper level and not from a space of exhaustion.

I want to rearrange the way I live out my importants; the urgents will get done but do not need to consume.  My energy withers when all I have to give myself is checking off of the lists of urgent; my soul glows when my importants are at the center of all actions.  It is important for me to be in graduate school but it's not important for it to suck the soul out of me, especially since the end goal is to minister to people and build up other leaders.  My goal is to glow. :)