love in the hard places

a friend spoke of her experience of ‘being in the flow’, what she describes as
the combination of joy and bliss when she has noticed Presence communing with
her, she notices it, it notices her. the bliss of awareness…of noticing what
is…and not needing it to be any different than it is. this reminds me of another friend’s way of describing his own sense of ‘being in the present moment’, or ‘awareness
of god’. his words for this are ‘noticing Beauty’ and through practicing this
he somehow finds himself beheld as Beauty.

of course, you have heard me express my own understanding of ‘terrible beauty’,
which i have found restated by others well along this path as ‘tragic joy’,
this ‘god in all things, all things in god’ way of loving life.

this recent path of beholding the brokenness of humanity with reverence and
beauty is part of that for me. finding god right there, trusting in the
goodness and the beauty of the breaking itself. last month i came right home from a
gathering where a woman spoke of the women in sudan whom had been so brutally
violated as to need colostomy bags, and looked up the images and stories on the
internet. i wanted to see the face of God there.

i have known for some time that my relationship with humanity (as with jesus as
one such human incarnation of the divine) has been a broken piece for me. i
have NOT been madly in love with jesus…and so when he comes to make love to
me in my dreams? i know it must be god because it’s definitely not something i would invite
on my own. perhaps the continuation of those dreams, after finally allowing myself to be fully gazed upon by
him, will be my own full gaze upon him and fully loving his own brokenness, those
same scars that made thomas doubt.

slipping into this particular flow is not automatic for me, but it IS at the
root of my deepest desire, my relentless seeking. frequently god has taken me
there, to a place of such terrible beauty, following a particularly intimate,
unitive encounter. you know of what i speak there. more recently i have been
finding myself much more readily inviting god to come there with ME, to extend
god’s gaze with me as i witness, or am engaged in, a particularly painful human
experience (this is why i like welcoming prayer so much). usually there is a
slight lapse here for me, between the experience of human suffering and the remembrance to
invite Love. and while this invited gaze of Love can bring my own self
in line with the Love that resides inside of me so that i deeply experience the
Oneness that We are, there still resides inside of me the deeper desire to know
Love not within myself, nor even as the compassionate transcendent Other (that
is far too removed a Love for me), but in the very tragic scenario which i
behold. yes, perhaps this is my own gazing at the scars and recognizing god.

perhaps god brings the pain close to home in times such as this. to witness and
be with the pain in my family, in whom i can more easily recognize the
goodness, but at the same time for whom i hurt so much more and hunger to
understand, to see where god is in this?

for instance, i simply want to love my children…without shame, without excuses,
without defense. all of these cultural rules
about what love must look like exhaust me, as do all of these rules about what a
healthy adult looks like. perhaps, just perhaps, self reliance is not a god
after all. perhaps, just perhaps, fear and chaos are not unlovable. perhaps
god’s very self is in those scars. i wish to live my compassion, my
understanding, my forgiveness without shame, to simply be a fool for love.

and i wish to remember the softness of
Love in these hard places…

all is well,

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