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.