Rumi once wrote, “The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that with me.” Or, alternately translated, “Union is a raging river running toward the sea. Tonight the moon kisses the stars. O beloved, be like that to me.”
I am afraid of many things. I fear not knowing union like Rumi wrote, or of not protecting it, or fighting for it with my life.
The last seven years have been committed to waking to this reality in my life. It’s something I believe we think is self-evident, fear. Yet, it is not always and certainly not in the most nuanced ways that matter the very most — the ways that make us who we are.
The most challenging places for these fears to become uncovered, for me, has been in the most intimate relationship of my life, with my husband. It is not fear of him that I’m speaking of, it’s fears about me, my questions, and doubts about myself and the baggage I carry that speak the loudest, in the most camouflaged ways.
This is not what I want to write about but it is the truest places I am learning faithfulness. It is the place I am learning covenant language come to life as well as continue to wake and resuscitate me in the process.
Because, what can be brought to life but that which has died? I’m not talking about the death that destroys, but rather the seeds that fall to the ground “dead” — equipped-and-designed-from-their-genesis-to-die-in-order-to-live “dead”. That’s us.
These words and ideas can be scary and bring confusion or conflict to our souls. They do mine, until I am reminded about resurrection again.
Resurrection, for our very soul’s life sake, must never be relegated to a story we recall around the Spring equinox of the year. It should be held in our mind’s eye as our continual spring. Resurrection is the story written into every birth, every tree, grain of wheat, and grain of sand, every deer that meanders through our field and wood, every humble death, or seeming extinguishment of a light…resurrection is speaking.
Resurrection when we rise and when we lie down to sleep—because this is the story both proclaim. Resurrection, most of all, in love — because love, real love, raucous as it is, is at the core, a humble thing that gives of itself. Love denies itself rights and entitlements because that’s what Love incarnate did.
Love enters another’s world, with humility and vulnerability.
“Practice resurrection” -Wendell Berry
A light upon our fears is necessary, a gentle one, a kind guide to find our way to the place of belonging we have always been intended to live within. When the light is harsh it does not invite, it drives, though that sometimes too is necessary—I find myself often praying these days, for my loved ones and myself, the mercy of the visitation of gentle light.
“To see a World in a Grain of SandAnd a Heaven in a Wild FlowerHold Infinity in the palm of your handAnd Eternity in an hour…” -William Blake
To hold a vision of faithfulness as such a reality that we can let our love out with the tide in trust of a beautiful return — even though we do not understand the mystery of all it means — this is a prayer worth our praying. To aim for a way of walking in resurrection here and now, that affirms love is never in vain and can be spent and spent and spent and will always be multiplied and never diminished — this is a goal worth pursuing, a work worth giving our life to.
The hope of resurrection brings contentment, a place where we do not have to try to control everything. We do not have to hold on so tight in our fears, we get to dance with hope. We are invited into wonder. I had a dear friend remind me of these things all in one word this past week, resurrection. We need to remind each other of these if we’re going to survive.
If we’re going to give a faithful fight, for life, and love, and all that is truly dear, let us turn our eyes and hands and feet toward a world that will one day be made new, understanding we have a place in that healing — today, here, now.
There are many disturbing means that the temptation to give-up in faithful ways sneaks up on us. One I recognize, as of late, is when we allow other’s unfaithfulness to create such fear inside of us that we either become what we fear or we run so hard the other way that we find its equal in the extreme other direction. We don’t even know how to find the ground beneath us at these times.
Friendships are born for such a time as this. Life-words and embraces given graciously save us at times like this. We need each other—to remind us that faithfulness is allowed to look like doubts, pain, fear, even shame sometimes — it’s all allowed in a place of love. Because, in love, we can work through it all, together. But, in order to do this, we must be honest and recognize we are all human, and that’s doesn’t have to be bad news. We are not alone.
We must first choose to say, bring into the light, what our fears are and then we will find freedom to be the faithful we want to be. For me, this is enabling me to receive and give the gift of time, of going slowly, of not feeling so urgent — which really ends up being destructive most of the time. I have so much more to learn about this, so much further to venture, so many more times to pray, “Lord! save me from myself!”
But, I also have praise bubbling up within me the more I recognize this, this being faithful, is so much less about my own perfect ability and so much more about standing in awe of the Creator of all worlds perfect love, that I am found and safe within.
This is where we can let go of the lie that, in any world, we are unloved. In that truth, we can let go of old ways of relating to others that may have served us before, may have helped us survive even, but that no longer serve anyone.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.”-Psalm 113: 2-4
The last part of 2019, spending time dwelling on the way the King of the universe became human to teach us how to be human — it brought freedom to the wide range of feelings and emotions I experience. I am praying the same for all of us, to know more deeply this year, that our Creator does not ask us to deny our humanity, but rather to experience it new in His light morning after morning, mourning after mourning, joy after joy. It is all in Him and will be renewed in Him, and it is good, even now. True story.
May you know this wild love that you are encircled within, wherever this finds you today.