I have been blogging less because I have been writing less. My life has been busier, my time feels squeezed straight out, and so my heart and soul have been busier too. I don’t do well with this. It isn’t how I was made to operate. I do well with a lot of silence, a lot of hearing the wind’s gentle whisper in the tops of the pines. I do well with long stretches of study, reading, journaling. I do well with sufficient sleep. I do well when I have “filled the well,” so to speak, and the words tumble out of the overflow.
This season is gloriously full. This season has days that begin at 6 am with one daughter’s voice in the baby monitor saying, “That’s mine, Bee-bee!” It has days that begin with missed alarms, beds that have been wet again. Bills that are past due. Phone calls that must be made, laundry that piles, schooling that must be attended to. This season is a string of flight from one activity to the next, keeping the plate in the air that is just about to crash. Most days now I feel dizzy.
I wasn’t made to do this kind of thing well. It is a stretch for me, a place of deep dependency on a good and all-knowing Father to give me the strength and energy to keep from drowning. My soul gets buried in the heap and pile of duty and need and serving. It’s both okay and not okay. It’s life. I wouldn’t trade away these kids for a well-watered soul any day, but I send longing eyes to the heavens sometimes, like a wife to her lover.
There are all these words.
There is all this pain.
There is so much fear.
There is such deep joy.
How can it all coexist here, in this frail flesh and blood? It’s as much a mystery to me as the commingling of Holy Spirit with my common man, bound up somehow in my person. What a strong God to constrain Himself, to bend low like this to me.
But the words are buried and the emotions need time to sift and process and simmer. They feel far away, on some distant shore while I’m carried away on the current. And I mourn. I fear that maybe this fruitlessness means that nothing is happening internally. I wonder if I am valuable to God only when I am producing. I fear that maybe my voice will just fall silent.
I don’t know how to find my way back to my own heart, to the shape of my own soul. But I have learned: trace the old roads, the familiar paths. Go back to the simplest of truths and the ways that have found me before. Put aside needless distractions. Remember the rock from which you are hewn. Walk trails from a different season. Return to books that knew me and opened me before. Be content with the haunting quiet. Be content with simply being held and loved. Allow myself to accept the fact that He loves me simply because I am His, not because of what I have to offer Him. Settle deep into His words. Experience Him here, in barren lands. Remember: seeds germinate in darkness.
So I snap moments and I know they are important but I don’t know why. I know there is an undercurrent below the surface. I find things that remind me of who I am: Walking the trail I used to walk in my college days, back when my soul was near full to bursting with words from God, words from theological books, words words words, filling up so much silence. Climbing an old forgotten favorite trail with my two best girlfriends late at night in the gathering dark, sitting under stars cupping steaming mugs and sharing hearts in a small circle of light. These scattered seeds, these heavy moments, weighty, full, quiet, their meaning and importance somehow deep, surely there, but out of my reach.
And this poem by Malcolm Guite, poet + priest, opened up something in my soul this weekend. Something in me sings with it. Tears brim. Call nothing common. Accept it all for good. And so I am here, singing from this place, exactly where I am.
Begin the song exactly where you are
Remain within the world of which you’re made
Call nothing common in the earth or air
Accept it all and let it be for good
Start with the very breath you breathe in now
This moment’s past, this rhythm in your blood
And listen to it
Soft and light
Stay with the music
Words will come in time
Slow down your breathing
Keep it deep and slow
Become an open singing bowl
Whose chime is richness rising out of emptiness
And timelessness resounding into time
And when the heart is full of quietness
Begin the song exactly where you are.