Many of us are searching; wrangling our faith and reason against the pain and suffering cast by nature’s net over our, or loved one’s lives. Entire lives have been changed, and taken. Homes and precious memories have been made into seemingly meaningless, soggy piles of rubble.
Then I come across this. Yet another reference to Job, the possible poster-child of suffering, and one most perfect paragraph that reflects and reminds me, in words and ways that I could no better express, both the arrogance and grounding comfort of my belief.
In case this writing may also meet and lift you where you are today, I share it here, with love.
“Ordinary Mysticism”, Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M
Maddie has been pretty upset. Not eating. I think she knows many are in peril’s way. Today as the rain let up and it’s looking like we are spared, she ate. I found her here in front of a box I had moved to higher ground.
It seems a striking reminder that we and our pets and our earth are fragile. And in need of gentle care. But, as I see the courageous hearts and hands of Houston come out in droves I am reminded that we are strong too. Made strong by our inherent sense of community and love, and a God of our understanding.
I pray in this time of rescue and recovery that we listen and allow the gentle and the strong in us to guide our pace and service. With love.
Posted August 29, 2017; the first break in Hurricane Harvey’s rains.
How many times do I slay my self by unconscionable deeds,
aggression against soul?
How many intentions do I abandon in selfish unkindness,
omission against body?
How many thoughts do I hold so tightly
that they seize to hardened beliefs;
a defended-war against mind?
Aware of these grievances against the singular and collective matter of these, what hope do I have to reconcile the harms I have done? How many times might I be invited, allowed to dip my weary hand into the well-spring of forgiveness?
“As many times as needed”, I am answered.
Forgiveness is not doled out like tokens at a fair.
Nor metered in degrees of deserve or earn.
For as often and as long as needed,
and reached for by a trusting hand,
forgiveness follows to refresh
and renew the soul,
body and mind,
as a newborn in Love.
And then I hear,
“Drink deeply here and as often as you thirst.
I am not satisfied by the arid deserts you walk
but by the oasis you claim in Me.”
Suffering creates space enough for us
to know that we are alone
and in need of the omnipotent
and perfect love of our Maker.
It is not so large a price to pay
to see and step again
into and through
the small doorway of God’s peace.
It is the work we can only do from here
as our little selves;
mistaken mortals longing for Home.
In my best intention, it is better to pray for my enemies without name as one man’s enemy may be another’s saint. And to name, the one over the other is to place my opinion above the wisdom and truth of the God I love.
But, to not pray for the enemy that steals love from my heart is human neglect if not spiritual dereliction. It leaves me vulnerable to the prey of self-righteous ego or influence of lesser angels of this earth.
Lord, soften my heart for those I make enemies. Lift me to trust beyond my own reason and estimation of wrongs. Show me the mercy of You in my time of fear. And grant us peace of Thy will be done.
Sometimes it is hard – facing the limits of what we can do or offer to loved ones in their time of sorrow, struggle, grief.
It sometimes helps me to remember that when God knit me together, God designed me with natural limits of what is mine to experience and do, and to live within these 24 hours.