my soul in silence waits* – day 8 – listening

At the end of this journey, I am promised Peace, a sense of wholeness and harmony, if I live a life rooted in Love. In an enlightening glance at the etymology of the word translated as ‘repay’, (as in, your deeds will be repaid), I learn that at its root is the world Shalom.

Conversely, when I am feeling discord, perhaps it is because I have forgotten, or forgotten how, to root myself in Love- the connection blocked or broken so that there is not flow, rather stagnation or draining emptiness. (here again is that water metaphor that fills me so)

I wonder how this journey has subtly shifted, deepened perhaps, from the innate knowledge of Hope, from whence I began, to Peace. Simply, I notice that the source seems to have a different center. The All is Well of “Hope” alone was perhaps distant/outside of myself, a trusting deeply in something bigger and more powerful than (my) humanity, perhaps even something impersonal that would continue beyond and indifferent to human beings, an assurance that Life and Love would go on, with or without us. This Peace, however, is centered within my very humanity, rooted in my own power to Love and do Good, to be a Part of that Hope.

Empowered Peace almost feels like an oxymoron, but today’s reading implores me to see the relationship between Love and Power. Love is not a wishy washy sentiment, ineffectual and (im)passive. Nor is power, devoid of Love, a force of Hope. Pure power is not to be grasped as a solution for apathy (Do Something! Anything! rather than stand, paralyzed, wallowing in the center of compassionate uncertainty), for power, unrooted in Love, would also leave me feeling the emptiness of purpose.

I am brought full circle, yet I am at a brand new place, arriving ‘where I started, to know the place for the first time’, for here I am again, seemingly at the same place where the invitation to name my longing (day 1) opened the door to naming what it is that is the source of my comfort and strength. On that day, I sought a language of prayer that might make of this Pervasive Energy of the Universe, something accessible and personal. Something into which I might root myself, draw strength and power, as well as comfort and sustenance- a more intimate presence.

To abide in Love, however, and for Love to abide in me, feels closer even than the boundaries of my skin. This is a prayer that moves beyond the rational, scientific-only coldness of pure energy (power), to a feeling of being infused by warmth, encompassed, enveloped, supported and imbued by Love. Power and Love, intensity and intimacy in One.

The Power to Love is ‘here in our world, accessible to us all’. Power to Act. Power to Be. We are not mere spectators of an impersonal, if wondrous, calculation, but participants in the dance.

Waiting for the fog to life, I stick close to the shoreline, move slowly and watch closely, seeking the shape of something by which to discern a course.

This is a power, I am told, that is ‘insistent, yet tolerant’. If I am to act from Love, as I am called to do, I may indeed err in my judgment of ‘right or wrong’, of where to place my compassion or my empathy. But I am to use that power to Love, nonetheless, assured that there will be not only grace (tolerance) but blessing. Not regret, but Peace, the peace of being rooted in Love. And if I listen, carefully, I may discern, feel the resonance of Love within, feel the filling from without (empowered?) when I am in alignment with Goodness. I will know that I am standing upon Holy Ground, where Who I am is Where I am called to be.

In Harmony.

I think of all those pithy quotes ‘The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Buechner) or “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’ (Thurman). They are speaking also of this Power infused by Love. Of Holy Passion.

Fear not.

It is said that the fruits of fear are not only ‘violence’ (hatred) but also spiritual deadness (apathy). Is this fear of loving in the ‘wrong’ place, or the wrong thing, or the wrong way? I am called instead to be a wildly expansive lover, as is the universe itself. Wildly expansive can hold it all, while still choosing to express itself here in this place and time as particular….

Shalom is my reward. Inner peace from the torment of getting it right, or being enough.

The fog enshrouded lake returns to my imagination. I am in the canoe feeling my way carefully. The morning is ahush, the dipping of the paddle soft as I can make it. Earlier, I pulled onto the shore, disembarked to wait, until I could detect a subtle lifting– the hazy ball of light on the horizon coaxing it to lift– and now subtle gradients of gray indicate an edge. Following that edge, soon a passage opens, the curtain lifts, ushering me across the water, into the clarity of – not black and white but – Blue.

* this series of posts were my responses to the blood , “My oul in silence waits”, by Margaret Guenther

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