Day 9 – Dwelling

Day 9–Dwelling

Isaiah 40: 1-11; Mark 13: 1-13, 24-37; Psalm 85,

 

Comfort her, O Love, comfort her. Speak tenderly to her. Tell her that her suffering

(warfare) is over and that she will be paid twice for her suffering.

Watch, you do not know the hour when Love will come. There will be earthquakes; not

one stone will be left on another. The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light; and the stars will fall from the sky. These are the beginning of birth pains. When you see these things happening, you know that Love is near, right at the door.

Faithfulness and Love will embrace, Righteousness and Peace will kiss. God will indeed give what is good and our land will yield its harvest. Being fully alive in the Aliveness of God* goes before Love and prepares the way for Love’s steps

Re-entering the desert after having experienced the whole-making Love-making of God, after having tasted the ecstasy of human-divine union, can feel exceedingly harsh. However, something has been inseminated in us during those moments of profound Love; the Knowledge of who we are is Re-membered to us and we have received a tender blessing.

 

At times it can feel as if nothing has changed. We still carry around the same wounds, still feel the same pain and shames. The same demons seem to accompany us alongside the angels, shrieking beneath the song. The same remnants of disgrace cling to our Grace. But the truth is that something powerful is growing in our bellies, and as we grow more and more into the fullness of Love, it’s stirrings for Being let themselves be known, often painfully. And so passages, like the ones contained in today’s readings, are like midwives to guide us through the pain of labor to delivery.

 

When a woman is in labor, she must remain focused on softening and opening, to resist is to create undue pain. She must let go and trust in the wisdom that resides in her body and she must believe in her self. To what then might we called to trust in during these times of internal upheaval, even of interior violence, when we are giving birth to Love in ourselves.

 

Love. We must turn to and trust in the Love that dwells deep within us and is also accompanying us, trusting deeply in its power and courage and strength. But what exactly does that look like, this ‘turning to’ kind of repentance.

 

One of the things that can happen when we are at last embraced by Love, is that those parts of ourselves that have previously taken on the role of protector can rebel. I once read a story about the loyal soldier that reminded me of this internal warfare that can take place.

 

After World War 2 ended, there were many Japanese soldiers who were stranded in remote areas where they learned to survive in desolate circumstances. Lost, they acquired vital survival skills that, along with the belief that they were defending their homeland (their psychological anchor), kept them alive. When these soldiers at last were found and rescued, some years later, every one wanted to return to combat right away even when they were told the war was over, for this was what had given their lives meaning in desperate conditions. Only once they were welcomed home with gratitude, as heroes, and were assured that their country was safe, could they begin to let go and eventually bestow their tremendous gifts to the community.

 

I suspect that each of us has such loyal soldiers dwelling within with a full set of tactics that has kept us alive and enabled us to survive in a desert without Love. Hypervigilance and sensitivity to the emotional energy of others are a few of my own. Some other possibilities might be keeping oneself small (suppression of intelligence, emotions, passion) so as not to be seen, or conversely puffing oneself up; harsh self-criticism (I know this one too) or self-flattery on the other hand; people-pleasing and deflecting personas; withdrawal or addictive engagement.

 

The new testament is filled with stories of such loyal soldiers, voices in the crowd along every step of Jesus’ journey seeking to make him small and suppress the message of Love. Along our own journeys of becoming fully who we are meant to be, our own loyal soldiers will rear their heads and try to defend us. If there is a part of you that has learned to keep you quiet, for instance, she will scream at you when you begin trusting your voice. If there is a part of you that has utilized harsh self-criticism to keep you small, he will employ those tactics when you start to grow. If there is a part of you that has suppressed your feelings, telling you they are not valid so that you could survive some sort of starvation or pain, she will disparage and condemn your feelings as wrong when you begin to listen to them. And if there is a part of you that has learned to be vigilant to the danger, she will continue to tell you when danger is eminent and blame you for attracting it.

 

When Love shows up on the scene at last, these ones and more will resist with a vengeance and it may indeed feel like a war is ensuing within. We are told that this is a sign of something eminent. How do we practice non-violent resistance with these?

To return to our birthing metaphor, we breathe! We trust in the wisdom within. We soften and open to Love. We let Love embrace the discomfort….not to take it away, but to welcome it and it’s good necessity in the birthing process, as we, who labor, move to a place that is deeper.

 

The thing about Jesus is how inclusive was his Love, his acceptance, his compassion even to the cross. So we too welcome the wounded ones home to Love, grateful for their service. We let them be bathed in Love. And we assure them that we are safe in Love. We do this by not abandoning and rejecting them, for this would be to tell them that Love is still not present and they need continue to defend, but by receiving them home. We abandon them to Love.

 

Something miraculous happens when we are able to stay in Love in the midst of turmoil (of any kind). Notice that we do not run away from the turmoil to find Love somewhere else. We seek it right there. Something in our consciousness shifts. When we embrace our pain, our feelings of isolation, even our anger, we align our hearts with the Light that embraces all darkness. We become the One loving rather than the one hurting. When we move from dwelling in a consciousness of fear to living from a consciousness of Love, pain and fear are dissipated, poured out, and absorbed into that particular Ocean.

 

What gifts from the wound are poured out into that Ocean? Oh, the gifts are many. Remember that the loyal soldiers were integrated back into the community, their gifts of survival transformed into ones that would help the community to thrive. Imagine, for instance, how might my gift of sensitivity, which was grown upon decades of fear, be gathered in the harvest of nurture for Love to grow. How might your feelings inform you in wisdom and compassion rather than wound you with judgment or fear? How might our defenses repent, turn around, to be blessed? How might intact boundaries create containers that allow blessings to flow?

 

Even that which has been released, let go of, allowed to die back or be burnt away as chaff, can become nourishment for the new growth, as occurs in all cycles of life here on earth. The leaves that once provided nourishment in one way become nourishment in another as they decay on the ground. Ashes provide vital nutrients to the soil depleted by the growing season. The tomb becomes a womb. And the release of hormones at childbirth stimulates the production of milk in the new mother.

 

And this is also a never-ending cycle, for whenever Love stirs awake in deepening regions within, so are the ones stirred up whom She is there Loving. We will know by the trembling of the earth, the crumbling of the walls. We can choose to push them back down, keeping them imprisoned within, or we can choose to let them rise, or we can let them rise, let the earthquakes occur and the walls fall, breathe with the birth, allowing the Love that dwells within our pain to be born, to shake free the bindings that keep it trapped. Let Love alone lift it, spill it in grateful release of that which we no longer need carry.

 

And so we are called to not fall out of Love when the desolations return, but instead to fall more deeply into Her arms…..AND to let our fallings themselves be embraced without self-judgment. To let ourselves be fully human within God, be fully alive, feeling and tasting and touching and sensing, within the Aliveness of God. To welcome our humanity into Love’s grace, speak to it tenderly, letting ourselves know that the suffering is over. Our faithfulness to dwelling in Love, to letting all be welcomed home by Love, will open the way for us to be more fully human within Love, less fearful, less violent to self – and to others. Faithfulness and Love will embrace. Righteousness and Peace will kiss. Then will our willingness to be fully human and fully alive go before Love to prepare the way for Her steps

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