I’ve taken quite a while on this “Part 2” post, haven’t I? Some of this is simply a hectic start to summertime, but more truthfully, my silence is more a lack of progress—at least visible progress.
The truth is, I’m slow to embrace this season of trying new things and being uncomfortable. Much like my slowness to embrace any of life’s major changes—even those deemed “good”.
I’ve had to finally admit I’m stuck and have been a little stuck for some time now. Stuck in my running, stuck in my reading, stuck in many of my relationships—especially the ones more difficult to nurture. Different is uncomfortable. Hard, even. I don’t think I can handle hard. Apparently, God sees things differently.
The last two books I’ve read have made this truth uncomfortably clear. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan monk and writer says in his book Job and the Mystery of Suffering, that in order to truly experience life fully, we must be willing to embrace the dark with the light. The key isn’t always to try and squelch the dark, but rather to accept it being there, embracing it as part of the journey. And the journey—for those who choose it—is good, even when it hurts, for it is a path unto deeper fullness.
Ann Voskamp, in her book, One Thousand Gifts, speaks early on the literal meaning of manna used by God to sustain the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert. It means, “What is it?”
That which cannot be defined, fully sustains.
Can I embrace the mystery? Can I let that which I do not understand sustain me? Am I willing to stay on the journey, open myself to receive the gift of the present—no matter what the present brings? Can I stop asking, “When will I…” and start saying, “Yahweh, I thank thee for…”
Sunday, Superman and I went for a 30 mile bike ride. We rode fifteen miles to a neighboring town, had some Sunday fried chicken, mashed potatoes and peach cobbler (not the best bike riding lunch, but we are in North Carolina, after all). I loved it. Wind in my face, feet circling in rhythm with the wheels, husband beside me. We had fun.
Yesterday I ran along the NC coastline. I have been in Beaufort the last two days on a writing assignment—Blackbeard, the Queen Ann’s Revenge and a new exhibit at the NC Maritime Museum. I went alone. Children are with grandparents, Superman had to work. I went alone.
I breathed in salty air. I felt its stickiness on my skin. I watched wild ponies eat their breakfast on an island far off. I enjoyed the songs of birds not heard in the Piedmont. I slept in a beautiful19th-century built home. I witnessed an early morning rainbow—the largest most vivid one I’ve seen in quite some time.
It’s all together—the light and dark. Times of beauty in seasons of pain. Rohr says its fear which keeps one from living fully. Voskamp calls it ingratitude. I see both stealing my joy.
I’m always looking for a destination. An “ah-ha!” for every moment—especially the hard ones. But maybe there’s no destination. After all, if I truly believe in “full life” as Jesus describes it, then I’ve already arrived—full life, eternity, happening now.
So, is there an answer to my question—why does everything have to be so hard right now? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe. But to speak it seems trite. Maybe instead, I’ll just live with the unknown. Accept the dark with the light. Stay on the journey.
And what about you? Are you living uncomfortably? Can you count one thousand gifts? Are you accepting light with dark? Staying on the journey? Accepting the gift of now?
I would love to hear from you!
Grace and Peace,