Monday, March 15, 2010

the divine vortex

Sometimes I think that God is like a vortex. Hang around long enough and you get sucked in.

I need to explain that.

Way back when, in the early days of what I used to call my conversion and now refer to as my spiritual renewal (it was really both), I read a lot. All kinds of stuff. Books about the Church, books about the spiritual life, books about prayer, books about faith. If it helped me get a handle on this new phase (more accurately an ontological shift) of my life, I soaked it up.

One such book was recommended by a priest with whom I got acquainted very early on. I never got past the introduction because something written by the author struck a note of deep fear in me. She wrote, in essence, that sometimes it is the will of God that some people remain single.

I ran, screaming from the notion. I wanted very much not to be single. I wanted married life, children, the whole nine yards. I was already 30 years-old and beginning the long recovery from the most devastating heartbreak of my life. I was in despair. The idea that God might desire a solitary life for me was beyond my threshold of what was acceptable. The idea that my new, refreshing relationship with God that I had sought for so long could result in shoving me into a dreaded solitude weighed like a death sentence. Somehow I needed to prevent God from tossing me into this abyss of darkness.

How I thought I could accomplish that was to hold out. As much as I believed, as much as I prayed, a part of me would not allow myself to yield fully to God. It wasn't a conscious choice. It was a determination driven by fear. I would not relent to a life of imagined misery with a nilly-willy God who would deny me my heart's desire. In my infant days of faith I naively bought into another person's view of who God was and fear sunk its teeth deep into my soul.

For more than 20 years I danced with God holding on with one hand. The practice was so familiar and ingrained that even as I began to recognize my need to plunge fully, I didn't know how. I was stuck. I was lost.

And then as easily as breathing one night not long ago, my eyes closed and my being drifting into sleep I whispered the words out loud. "I surrender," I said. I yielded, willingly to the full will God, come what may.

And nothing happened. There was no whirlwind of power dictating what I could or could not do, who I would or would not be. There was nothing but silence and peace. I slipped into the vortex of love that I had resisted for so long and discovered it to be a place of knowing. I know that it will not remain silent and peaceful. I suspect God is so far ahead of me in knowing that this wound of fear needs healing before this holy adventure takes another turn and reveals another dimension of sacred mystery. But I'm ready. I'm in. Fully in. I've learned, experienced and witnessed so much that I believe God trusts that my toolkit is sufficient for what comes next. Whenever it comes, I am there with my whole heart and soul.

It is the paradox of the divine that what I needed most was what I resisted most. For whatever reason it would appear that God was willing to let me come to terms with this in my own time, through my own yearning. Come I did. One of these days, the page will turn and off we will go. May it be according to God's will.

6 comments:

The Bug said...

What a lovely story of surrender. I've never been a person who enjoys introspection, but I'm sure I could benefit from considering how your story intersects with mine...

kimprayz said...

I have to be honest with you, this post makes me want to eat a bowl of ice cream or twist the top off a beer bottle. Now I have been trying to choose to stop and LOOK at the pain rather than trying to self-medicate it, and I have come to understand that when I seem to need that dulling medication that whatever I am avoiding is the LAST thing I need to avoid, but still...this is HARD work!

I think I'm going to have to Scarlett O'Hara this one and think about it tomorrow....or at least put it off for a few hours. :(

Jan said...

My, my--I need to remember "I needed what I resisted most." Gulp--that's frightening.

Gabriele said...

As I am deeply in resistance just right now and my spiritual director has gently suggested surrender. And I've run.

Fought the very idea.

Think I need to think about it again.

Thank you for making stop and think.

Jayne said...

This is beautiful my friend, just beautiful. In some respects, this has been my journey with Sam's autism as well. When you learn to quit holding on so tight, and just surrender to what will be, it's amazing how things simply work out as they were meant to. Love to you today. XOXO

Mary Beth said...

I used to think that if I surrendered my life to God, God would make me be a missionary, and I DIDN'T WANNA.

How conceited...why in the world would God think I would be a good missionary!? Puhleeze.

All these years later, still in my home state, I shake my head at former me.

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