Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Where I cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.

19 Comments

Though I receive a daily prompt for blog ideas from The Daily Post every day, I have never written to it.

Today’s title and idea intrigued me: Greetings, Stranger.

It reminded me of an invitation from my meditation guide Dal Bryant who asks: You are walking through the desert and someone approaches. Who is it?

Today’s prompt is: You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?

I smiled at the stranger’s statement, “I’ve been looking for you.”

I think of myself as a seeker. I don’t often see myself as the one being sought.

What happens next?

Not after I meet the stranger, but after I realize that I am not just a seeker, I am also a giver, a sought after, a wanted, a desired, a beloved.

What if the stranger is actually a thought that has come to me because that one new thing, that one new idea that was hidden to me, has been seeking the right time to be revealed?

The thread of this thinking stems from last week’s reading in my The Way of the Monk. The Path of the Artist. course I am taking with the Abbey of the Arts.

Now I am revealing new things to you
Things hidden and unknown to you
Created just now, this very moment.
Of these things you have heard nothing before
so that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.
— Isaiah 48, 6-7

I have contemplated these words throughout the first week of the course, setting them to memory, even in my discomfort of reading  and quoting from the Bible.

As a child, we had to read from the Bible every Friday night when my mother would have us kneel in our living room and pray the rosary, in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary that stood on the mantle beneath the crucifix.

As a child, I loved the sacred space of that prayer circle. I loved the feel of the tiny sparkly beads of my rosary in my tiny hands. I loved the smell of the incense burning in the brass holder on the mantle sending out a long tendril of pungent smoke that filled the room. I loved the quiet hush that came over us as we four children prayed with bowed head beside my mother reciting the Our Father at the beginning of each decade of Hail Mary’s.

And then, I grew distant from the practice, not just of praying the rosary, but of the Catholic faith.

I grew angry with God and turned away from anything even closely related to organized religion.

It was a rebellion of my youth that lasted long into my 30s and 40s and while I am not so rebellious today, I still shy away from organized religion, holding onto my belief it does not sit well with my soul.

That which I resist, persists. The disquiet of my soul stirs deeply in my roots as I hold back from examining what it is I truly am resisting, as opposed to what it is I believe to be true to cause me such disquiet within.

I am resisting letting go of my anger, my sadness, my disquiet from the long and distant past where I felt forced to honour a God who let bad things happen to me, to the world around me, to people all over the world.

As I child, I could not understand how God, that giant unseen hand in the sky above which my mother promised me would fall down and strike me if I wasn’t a good girl or worse yet, would send me to Hell, could allow people to die. How could He allow war and famine and starving children in Africa and atomic bomb threats that forced us to practice hiding under our desks?

Was He not all powerful? All seeing? All knowing?

My mother told me He was. If He knew it all, what was wrong with him that he could let these things happen?

I have been holding onto a vision of God that is not of His making, but of mine and in my resistance to letting go of what I decided was true decades ago, I have held myself in the border lands, that place where my resistance to stepping over the threshold of my fear keeps me from truly expressing the Divine mystery of my being human.

I am delighting in this exploration. I am learning. I am expanding my understanding. I am evolving.

I do not know what I will find, but then, these are new things being revealed to me, so I cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.

 

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Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

19 thoughts on “Where I cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.

  1. I am delighted with your explorations, too, Louise, which help me grow, learn and evolve. I am so glad we seek and are sought by each other here.

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  2. Pingback: Greetings, Stranger | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  3. Louise,
    I used your verse as my Facebook post of the day. I’ve never seen it before. How funny that you who are rebellious of where those words came from are leading me to them. I love that you are in the exploring stage. I love that we can relearn WHO God really is as old as we are. I too am beginning to see that people ruined Him for me… People messed HIM up for me. The guy with the fish on the back of her car that cut me off and then made a gesture with her hand when I honked to avoid the accident. Did she forget WHO she was representing? Etc.. etc… People dissapoint us… but I am finding that God is not there to strike us down but is a constant. I guess you can look at it both ways…
    My earthquake (how funny that I have taken ownership of it) made me wonder where God was. I mean, we lost our beautifully successful little store and everything in it… why did He make it happen? My fifteen year old daughter at the time asked me… I wondered that too. But she said I replied… He didn’t make it happen, He saved us. And He did. My daughter had asked to wait in the car where the roof of our building slid down on it and flattened it….instead, I talked her into coming in and helping me OPEN. But the two ladies nextdoor were killed. Why? We live in a fallen world. If you believe good and evil. You and I have experienced both. Just in our relationships… earlier and now… Ya know? Who knows why we aren’t the homeless ones on the street now? The ones you so lovingly embrace in your work. Why are they the ones where they are and we are the ones we are? Why do some of my friend not have to ever worry about bills while I am still working a job that I know I don’t feel grateful for? Arghhh… It is crazy. But I am glad you are exploring because it makes me so excited to see what you come up with! I know that GOD is with you on your journey!

    I have been so stuck in my ending of my book! I have been editing the beginning and the middle daily. I want the ending to have a bigger message that makes telling my story all worth it. I guess it will come to me. In the process I haven’t read many of anyone’s posts lately. I am glad I read yours today. I love that verse! My new favorite!!!! Leave it to you to share it with me! I love how you inspire me to think!

    Of these things you have heard nothing before
    so that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.

    Epic!

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    • I wonder dear Di if ‘the telling’ is the message that makes it all worth it?

      It is lovely to see you my friend and to share this verse with you.

      The questions you ask about ‘your’ earthquake are ones I think we all ask after traumatic experiences that left us standing and others fallen.

      For me, the question is the answer — or as Rainer maria Rilke writes, “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…Live the questions now.”

      You are living your questions and shining Di so beautifully in the light of love.

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      • I love who you have become to me. A dear friend that I admire and am excited for our next chapters! Praying we get to do it together and never lose touch!

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      • we must Di! it is written somewhere in our stories that we do it together and never lose touch, because we are the architects of the stories we write, and it is written so! 🙂 C.C. and I are planning a trip this fall, possibly to wine country in CA…. I’ll let you know.

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  5. Love this Louise. And very much admire your courage to let go of your resistance. I want courage like that – to shake the foundations of things I cling to just for the sake of having something to cling to, especially those things that hold me in fear.

    This especially, speaks to me today: That which I resist, persists. The disquiet of my soul stirs deeply in my roots as I hold back from examining what it is I truly am resisting, as opposed to what it is I believe to be true to cause me such disquiet within.

    By the way, Isaiah is one of my favourite books in the Bible – always has been.
    Diana xo

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  6. I too have struggled with the question of faith. I come from a Pentecostal background. I have had a born-again experience and have asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and Saviour of my life. However in my church and faith I have felt the judgement of others, in a religion so fraught with judgement.

    The God of the of the Holy Bible changed from the Old Testament, who seemed to be pissed off all of the time, was not the God of the New Testament. John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world…’ But he didn’t love the whole world as evidence in the Old Testament where the Jews were commanded to kill their enemies: their men, women , children, and even animals!

    Inspite of this struggle with my faith I have felt love of God or something bigger than me. I remember hanging up the phone with Kelsey and something in my room said deep within me ‘don’t you get it I just love you’. I too am returning to my roots and I have found that what I am resisting keeps persisting!

    But it is a wonderful journey. I believe that if one seeks God with all his heart and soul he will find him:

    Deuteronomy 4:29
    But if from there you seek the LORD your God,
    you will find him if you look for him with all your heart
    and with all your soul.

    Jeremiah 29:13
    You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

    Matthew 7:7
    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.

    I may not be a believer anymore, but I am a seeker. So Louise good luck on your search for truth…you are in good company! :/

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    • Royce my friend!!!! How wonderful to ‘see’ you here! And how joyful you make my heart to read your words – it’s as if I can hear your voice and your beautiful laugh coaxing me to stop and breathe and remember, we are all connected.

      I love our connection my friend. Don’t you get it I just love you. — beautiful one.

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      • I absolutely love you Louise!!!! Thank you for sharing this post….I am reading Charles Templeton’s book Farewell To god My reasons for rejecting the Christian Faith. I share some of the same doubts and questions that Mr. Templeton has in his book. What a glorious opportunity to question the fundamentals of my faith and be ok with that. Not just take what I have been taught on blind faith as the gospel.

        Such an awesome journey what an amazing life.

        Cheers!

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      • I love you too Royce. YOu are here in my heart, warming my soul. And it sounds like I must check out Templeton’s book!Hugs

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  8. I can relate so much to these thoughts, Louise! I have always had my doubts, unanswered questions, anger, loss of faith…all the whys have perturbed me but slowly I have accepted His injustice and His will…perhaps the resilience that descends with life’s experiences or unknown power that visits us! Still misty…still floundering in the sea of enlightenment…the quest to know more continues.

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  9. This touched me so deeply…..I too held a belief of him that was harsh and belittling of grace.
    Such a small and fragile box into which I jammed my faith.
    I love that scripture and love that you shared it just right now….I think so much of scripture is
    written in dream language. This speaks to me tender and I thank you huge.
    Glad thanks and so much joy for the bright being that you are,
    Jennifer

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