I sit here in the Newberg Bakery with a little time to myself in a week where I’ve had little to do anything but work and take care of my daughter. I have only an hour or so left and I don’t know if I should read or write or pray. I don’t know whether to do for God or to simply be with God because, though the answer may seem obvious, sometimes when I do for God I actually find him close and yet when I attempt to be with God I often miss him.
So, I will write. Maybe I will write about what feels to be currently a very weighty thought. The thought goes like this: the whole of life is hanging on by a thread and that thread is mine to keep from breaking.
Yesterday I was processing with a friend a fight he and I had had. I told him I felt shame around him seeing my unfounded and childish anger. He said, “Michael, I know that you probably see yourself primarily as anger but I don’t see you that way.” This struck and struck deep because I fear what people see in me is simply the parts of me that are shameful – the parts I’d rather tham not see. I have a sneaking suspicion that many people think I’m awesome but beneath that thin layer of primer there is my deep fear that people will see me only for my faults and will leave.
How I described it to Liz was that I feel I spend most of my time keeping that glass full (not half-full but full to the brim) and the second I stop filling the glass it will become empty. To my new men’s group last week I shared my fear that our group will depend on me and the second I let them down in anyway the group will dissolve.
Here is what I’ve learned in this post: My world is very fragile and it’s togetherness depends on me. This isn’t how I always feel but there are parts of me who have not been loved and befriended fully. I often hide these parts, tuck them away so that at best I can function and at worst I can trick myself into believing I am good enough for others.
These are the least within me. These are the parts of me that have not yet learned I am loved. Let me put it this way – these are the parts of me where love has not sunk in and saturated. These are the dry and dusty places in my soul which have gone for long stretches without air, without water, without love.
Abide in me and I will abide in you. Live where I live and I will live where you live. Make your home in me and I will make my home in you. When God becomes my home I become God’s home. God lives nowhere on earth except within us. On one hand God is all around us and within all things and permeates creation BUT human are the dwelling place of God in the world – we are the temple, the tabernacle, the synagogue, the church. We are where we go to encounter God and the least among us and within us is where God goes to encounter us.
These very weighty and fragile places in my soul are where Jesus invites me because there my defenses, my ego, my guardedness is let down. In these places I want to be held, I want to grow, I want to be gentle, I want to mourn, I want to be poor. These are the places I hunger and thirst, the places where I am merciful toward others, where I desire peace and where I am the most purely myself.
In going to these places – in accepting and abiding with these places within I become comforted desiring God above all else. Mercy, peace and righteousness begin to bloom in my life because I’ve allowed Jesus to be with me in my deepest places of sorrow.
The next step? To see these “places” not as places but as people – bone of my bone flesh of my flesh. They are not projects but Michael and maybe I will know this once Jesus sits with them a little longer.