You live forward, but understand backward.
– Abraham Verghese
Sometimes I call myself a slow learner. I suppose a more grace-filled way to say that is that I take my time learning spiritual things. Doing that, I have seen that my life has obvious patterns. I am often circling back to the same lessons and their painful realities. One way to perceive this is failure, this reverting again and again to the Old Person – old lessons, old mistakes, old pain. “We cannot contain or bear the deep coincidence of opposites that we are.” said Robert A. Jonas.
As I read scriptures in this season perhaps for the first time I see the long-view-of biblical themes and something clicks inside. How do the things I seem to struggle with fit into the timeline of human struggles? Doing that, I realize my story isn’t so significant.
My desire to land exactly where I’m “supposed” too just isn’t the main thing. Oh! (Slow learner ME realizes) it’s about my character (who I am) and God’s character (who God is.) Brilliant.
This human story is not about what I do, what I think, or what I may accomplish, but rather who I am.
Now that’s counter-cultural. And I don’t know how to live like that. Especially when so much of ME is uncertain, afraid, insecure, seeking ultimate purpose and significance. Hungering for meaning in my daily life. Yes, every day I wake up and the PROWLING ME needs filling up, hungry for purpose – this prowling, empty ME, needs substantial satisfying.
(Slow Learner Me realizes something else.) “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has begun.”
Old life, old ME, hungry ME, Slow Learner ME, she is a new person when daily open to Him.
As I struggle, regularly cyclically with contentment of purpose, I hear God. As I wrote Nothing and Everything the LORD was speaking to me and perhaps to you.
The Holy One longs for us, calls us by name, BELOVED and knows us better than we know ourselves. Even as we sit with our ideas, dreams, hopes, passions, ways that we think we are going to do things for Him, he must chuckle. As we think that our great thing or idea will finally fulfill us, he must ache for us. As we run around, “helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied… Compulsive… Busy. … well, that is the way that leads to spiritual death.” (Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved.)
(Slow Learner Me says) Oh. Yes, I have seen that in my life. Caught, snared by its tricky thorns. Entangled and bleeding, not knowing why (again) I have become so unhappy. Bitter. Lost. Broken by Old, Slow Learner Me.
Prowling Me needs a substantial refilling, in order to believe once again, that I am Beloved.
Daily opening to being Beloved, me.
Becoming Beloved, believing it and living it—that is our truest calling.
Only to sit and think of God,
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought,
To breathe the name
Earth has no higher bliss.
Frederick W. Faber
Slow learner me, she is satisfied.