Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rabbi's heartbeat

"I knew there was only one place to go. I sank down into the center of my soul, grew still, and listened to the Rabbi's heartbeat."
~ Brennan Manning~

" Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ."
~Thomas Merton~

Have I mentioned how much I love Brennan Manning? If you have not read his books just start from the top and go through them all. Start with Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba's Child and then The Rabbi's Heartbeat. They are treasures. Once I had the privilege of hearing him speak at my college. He was a small white haired man with a humble demeanor and torn jeans with patches all over them. A man well acquainted with the poor, hardship and the deep compassion of God. His spoken words moved me as much as his words on the page.

I love that quote from The Rabbi's Heartbeat. I turned to that book sometime last week when I had sunk to an emotional low. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, ugh...
We women have the need for such a delicate balance of hormones and I could physically feel that I wasn't myself. I wasn't sleeping and my patience and energy was thin. It probably didn't help to have a string of inconveniences, which I'll spare you from (although strung together make an entertaining list) culminating in Naya having her worst fit ever. I read this quote from Journey Mama and felt like she said it well.
"To be perfectly honest, on any given day I go through about a hundred different emotions. I’m like some five-year-old girl with outfits. Now the pink dress! Now the leggings with the tinselly t-shirt! Now the overalls!

Except for me it’s Melancholy! Melancholy with a slice of nostalgia! Anger! Self-pity! Overwhelming joy!"

I can relate. The truth is that most days are filled with an array of tiny little happinesses. I am pleased with simple things; tea, the sounds of the mourning dove, the smell of my garden, books, my kids imaginations. Everyday God's hand is everywhere calling my attention, taking my breath away, awakening gratitude. God has given me so much, but there is still so much that is hard. Relationships disappoint, I over-commit, I disappoint myself over and over. I feel deeply the sorrows of others especially people I love. I few months ago I held the hand of a friend who had just given birth to her first son, a stillborn. I felt her sorrow. I listened to a young friend struggling and longing for a home. The beauty and sorrow, the ebb and flow, sacred fellowship and loneliness. In the midst of these I choose to cultivate joy. I think I am slowly learning to embrace the way God has wired me. God has made me to feel things deeply perhaps to move me into action. My emotions can be both a source of weakness and strength. Discouragement is not dissatisfaction with God, nor is it ingratitude. Just look at the Psalms and even Jesus himself was a man of sorrows.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..."
Isaiah 53:3

What comfort that my God knows well exactly the depth of human struggle and longing, and he made us so that our restless souls would find home in Him. I pray that my heart is sorrowed by the things that sorrow the heart of Jesus and that I would rejoice in what He rejoices in. I pray that I would learn how to be tender and just, discerning but compassionate, compelled to action always to love, servant-hood and God.

In the mean time I continue to do what the child in me has always done. I seek calm in nature, the wide open sky, a quiet bed of grass, strength in the rolling mountains where all the complexities of humanity grow small and your worrisome spirit sighs in surrender. There are many glimmers of his love all around me, family, brand new babies, amazing worship, cleansing rain... my precious children. I think as I have time I'll try to write and photograph more those simple joys that fill up my days, that inspire,and place them here. The mundane and even the painful is always threaded through with the sacred.