One of the greatest lessons I have learned is to not take up space that is available. For most of my life I blustered into people’s lives as a force of nature. Take me or leave me you get what you get. I’ve tried to dial myself back just a click or two. Not remove myself but be stiller, calmer, more present.
A young lady in my life uses humor to defer and deflect the grief in her life. So much so you wouldn’t think she has endured tragedy, assault, or abandonment. With the exception that she moves fast and talks fast. Too fast for much human touch or interaction.
In the past week she began a very odd dance with me. She began to connect with me by choreographing my movements. She would place her hand on top of my arm and place it on her shoulder or pick my hand up and place my hand on her other hand. It was if I was a mannequin she was staging in and around her personal space.
Today I was saying good bye and she look to delay me by thinking of ways to continue our conversation. She once again put her hand on top of my arm and seemed to try to absent mindedly to rest her cheek on the back of my hand. Just as if a mother were to gently brush a child’s face.
These interactions are very brief and momentary. But the intentionality of this young woman seeking gentleness in a controlled manner speaks volumes to me. If I were to initiate this contact it most likely would be denied. But in trying to just be present and available I am blessed to see and be a part, I believe, of a little soul and heart healing.
We all need to connect to others. We all have the basic need of comfort and tenderness from human contact even when most of what we have known has been measured and brutal. I think our challenge in this world is to be generous in our love and to love others in their language not ours.
Sometimes you are sitting in yet another hotel room getting ready for yet another workshop. And you feel as weary as a wrung out towel. But more like a wrung out towel that was used to clean up an overflowing toilet.
Your mind is a million miles away trying to figure out how to keep it all from falling apart but make it look like it is not. You pretend to go through the exercises of scheduling and strategy but in your head you start having conversations with God that sound like “if I do this… God will you do…”And you find yourself praying prayers that sound oddly like “there must be something wrong with me for this to be so difficult, I must have made a mistake, maybe I’m not the right person, is this the hoop you want me to jump through or is it this one…You beg for a pruning even though you feel like there isn’t much left to you but surely you are holding on to something to make this so hard.
Then you have a bajillion people tell you to listen to Vienna, Just the Way you Are, Keeping the Faith, She’s Got A Way all by Billy Joel and all of sudden everything is ok if you let yourself hear God speaking through music you had wished would distract you. And you just be you. And you once again realize everything is already ok for one more day even if you have another post that sounds like rinse and repeat, maybe somebody else needs it to be ok to feel like you don’t quite measure up.
I don’t actually know where Stone Temple Pilots got their name. If I give some thought to it, my mind conjures up some cross between Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and the closing scene of Casablanca. I’m not really sure why I think of two iconic movies to relate to a thrashing about harder edge rock group like Stone Temple Pilots. It’s sort of the same thing with their song Sour Girl. I think Sour Girl came out around 1999. Pretty sure the lyrics don’t mean what I think they do. However my heart is always drawn Matthew 4:19 with
What would you do?
What would you do if I followed you?
What would you do if I follow?
I have climbed to the top of some temple ruins but I have never been inside a temple. But I imagine solitude, order, and an expectation of peace. I imagine in some parts it would be ok, socially acceptable if you will, to weep and wail and tear sackcloths. However I have read during the actual Temple period,the temple in Jerusalem had an inner room called the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. This was where the Presence of The Lord resided. The Holy of Holies could only be approached once a year by a priest who had spent an extensive time in cleansing to make sure his sin had been absolved but even then he had to carry a blood sacrifice with him to ensure he was not struck dead by God’s holiness. With Jesus’ death and resurrection we receive the benefits of the final sacrifice, he now becomes the fulfillment of the temple.
I can’t say I have been entering the temple with a posture of solitude and an expectation of peace. I seem to continue on this path of constant stress and panic. I’m the crazy woman wearing one rainbow sock, an antennae hat, and a trash bag dress running around the temple screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” I know Jesus in on the the throne reigning in his temple but I seem to just be running around his throne rather than approaching his throne with grace and confidence. I am so frenetic and spastic I can’t seem to see the abundant gifts in his hand he is patiently waiting to give me.
Mercy. Help. Wisdom. Confidence. Peace. Contentment. Discipline. Community. Rest.
The very things I have been crying out to him for as I circle the throne rather than approaching the throne with confidence and trust that He is who He says He is and He does what He says He is going to do. Because He loves me. He loved me before I knew Him. So much so he was willing to be the ultimate sacrifice for me to approach the Holy of Holies.