“Happy” New Year

ocean in maui
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I question everything, I resist, I am a seeker. My soul howls and it cries.

My heart is frequently conflicted, questioning, keening, searching, longing than finding and being at peace.

This causes me to doubt.  This brings great fear. This causes me to wonder if I’m any further along than I was last year.  This brings great heart ache.

This is a spiritual state of being and it is how I wake, with a daily, heart racing state of mind, filled with wonder, yes full of hope but always longing for perfection. And as I have been coming to know myself better this year and accept these things about myself, it’s been a hell of a year.

This I know.
This life we’ve been given is a long miracle.

This life is full of heartache and pain. I feel it, not only in my own life but in all that surrounds me. I wish I weren’t emotionally absorbing the bitter and acrid, heartache, loss and sorrow of others. I carry it all internally and it weighs on me, it hurts inside and sometimes even physically.

This I am learning, to feel it and not allow it to crush me.

I’m learning, surely, that God does not promise us happiness; all the while we continue to pursue it. How can we not, it seems we were created to long to be happy?

We’re owed happiness?

Or we can embrace our lot, and find a sense of joy amidst life’s hardship and pain?

And I have asked many times, where is God in the midst of it all? Why does God seem so silent? Why do I so quickly move to doubt, when I am or those I love are suffering?

It was Julian of Norwich who said this:

See that I am God.
See that I am everything.
See that I do everything.
See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally.
See that I lead everything onto the conclusion ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it.
How can anything be amiss?

(Revelations of Divine Love)

The Holy One is working, if only I can slow down, listen, and discern the movement in my life.

And this is happiness —  a spiritual life. This is real more than ever, in the middle years of great sorrow, heartache and pain as I am slowing down, I am full of longing for God

to speak. All that Jesus did or said, all the pains he suffered and sorrows he shared, our sorrows and suffering, he took in obedience to his Father.

This is my heart’s longing and prayer, to be more like Jesus.  To be able to listen well to others, to love deeply and to take on other’s pain.  This, I know is a part of what I am being called to and as I learn to be strong, not in myself but in Jesus, this is a holy and happy life I am being called to, but it’s a long obedience and it is not, at all, what I imagined.

In this new year, and as I lay down the old year, I know that this will be a quiet place of contemplation and solitude.  It is something I never imagined.  It is, even so, full of joy and hope.

May you find the things the Holy One is calling you to in the new year.

{Do you Have a Plan for Your Life? I thought I did.}

Yesterday, I was pulling away and in pain.

Of my own creating I always wonder? It’s certainly difficult to ascertain culpability when depression is hereditary and when cycles of pain, withdrawing, insecurity, and self-loathing go back so far in a family’s story.  Still, why do I look for whom to blame when ultimately I blame myself?

Keen to enter into community life at least in theory, and even when depressed, I went to church yesterday. Anyway.  I listened, hard.  I sang  along and wept. The song, it was …

“I lift my eyes up. My help comes from the Lord.  He will always …

I find it impossible. Those words:  God always what? … Are there promises from God that are universal to all, for always?  If so, what are they?

Yesterday, I kept thinking you are not promised anything. 

… To be happy.

… To find joy.

… To experience contentment.

… To have work, (even more so) meaningful world-changing work.

How arrogant all these years I was thinking there was a plan for my life – yes, a really significant “thing” I was to do.  Truthfully, isn’t life more random than that?  And isn’t meaning drawn from the day-to-day questions?

How do you love?  Who do you love?  Do you honestly value the people in front of you today?

Yesterday’s lesson for me was to learn how important it is to tell them so. Be intentional and careful with the precious relationships that I do have.

I easily focus on my mistakes and foibles, my lack, which all too quickly moves to my future, even my lasting significance.  I am living into middle age physically downtrodden and constipated, believing the lie, even yesterday, that I’m unlikable. And that this is what matters?

Forgetting the truth, which is that it is better to give than to receive.

That is a plan.

That is a life.

In that one will find happiness, joy, contentment and even, quite possibly meaningful world-changing work.  But if not, truthfully being a “big shot” no matter how much something in me craves for it, isn’t “It” at all.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

This is it, this is truth.

To know God and to be known by him and in turn to love others out of that knowledge.  To know God’s WORD, to keep seeking, searching, longing, wanting the Holy One more than anything.

May it be so.