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Archive for April, 2014

Broken

My last blog post was called “Meant to Be” and it has occurred to me lately that this title had an ironic double meaning which I was not aware of.  At the time, the title signified that my meditation room was meant to be. Little did I know that life would soon be asking me just to “be” as well.

It has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I’m taking some time off work. Recent months and weeks have been filled with headaches, insomnia, what I now see were anxiety attacks and increasing difficulty in coping with the day’s work. When my wise and compassionate administrator noticed, I knew I couldn’t ignore things anymore. My loving husband and friends spoke in one voice and agreed that a break was in order.

I have been the last to see it all and thought I could tough things out. It was when my friend Marilyn asked the question, “Why are you trying to be so strong?” that I had to admit I am broken and don’t have the strength to continue for now. It has been humbling to admit, and the thought of letting go left me extremely agitated at first.

Lines from the song "Wasteland", a song from the group Needtobreathe which has been so appropriate for me these days. Listen to the song at the end of this blogpost.

Lines from the song “Wasteland”, a song from the group Needtobreathe which has been so appropriate for me these days. Listen to it at the end of the blogpost.

God has been in this situation in providing me with sign after sign to confirm this decision. Seemingly at random, poems, devotional readings, dreams and songs (not to mention conversations with friends) came my way that sent the same message – let go, let yourself be broken. It’s been like God has been like a loving parent, pushing the child to start walking, saying, “It’s all ok, you’ll be fine, you’re ready.” But in my case, I guess the metaphor is more like a wise parent encouraging me to rest when I’ve been way too wired.

I can’t say enough how grateful I’ve been for people’s understanding and encouragement. Lyle endured more than one day of me asking, “Do you really think this is the right thing?…” even after the decision had been made! (I’ve stopped asking now.)

So what does a gal who is “meant to be” do? Nothing! I’ve been in such a disoriented space that it has been a relief just to “be”. All that life is asking of me right now is to sit in the meditation room, reading, writing and praying – all activities that help the room live up to its name! I’ve also just been sleeping. Gratefully, I’m sleeping better at night, though the headaches are still with me.

I have been shown the inadequacy of my own efforts on the spiritual journey. There’s a story in the New Testament of a Canaanite woman who comes to Jesus asking for help. Friends Paul and Bev sent me a meditation on this passage which they synchronistically read the day I made my decision and had a dream where I was pleading “Help me!” Jesus doesn’t think he can help the Canaanite woman and yet she insists. “She pleaded again, ‘Lord, help me!’” (Matthew 15:25)

“Help me!” are words that can only be cried when a person has experienced the complete destruction and loss of all his or her personal resources and who turns to God utterly. “This total surrender is the purpose and goal of the crisis of faith,” said the meditation sent by my friends.

I’m know there is more surrender that needs to happen. Marilyn’s question still rings in my ear, “Why do you have to be so strong?” How did I even get to this place? When these lessons are learned, I hope to share them on this blog, but for now, I’m with the Canaanite woman in having come to the place of crying out, from the bottom of my heart, “Help me!” I know God’s good hands will guide me in the coming weeks and months. How could they not, when I’ve seen such an abundance of provision so far on the journey.

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Meant to Be

About a year ago, I wrote a blogpost about my son Joel’s old room. He had just moved out and I wrote about “empty rooms”, and the de-cluttering of the old that always needs to take place before the new can come.

At the time, I wondered what this new space would become. But the room in my poetic imagination didn’t become reality. It became more and more of a dumping ground – storage room, ironing room and if I could squeeze it in, a space to do a bit of yoga in the mornings.

This winter however, we decided to get it painted and Lyle and I began calling it the Meditation Room. Friends Cal and Sean painted it, removing an old wallpaper border with boats and cars on it, last vestige of a time gone by. The meditation room idea began to grow roots, and so it was that this week, with my spring break, I decided to weed out the mess. The last of Joel’s things went into the closet and I dragged our still new Ikea chair in (reclaiming it from the cat who thinks we bought it for her alone).

Somehow, something God-sent happened in that process. I was given a gift as it became what it was intended for. After cleaning it out, I spent IMG_5067much of the week pretty much sitting in it, soaking up the sunshine as though it was a drug. One day, I’d had a night of insomnia again and was tired, yet somehow my brain and spirit got recharged in that space. I didn’t even take the nap I thought I needed. I was completely mystified!

Our Jewish friends Arthur and Debbie remind us all the time of a lovely Hebrew phrase – “bashert”, which means “meant to be”.  They believe their marriage was “bashert”, and Arthur keeps having what he calls “bashert moments”, where the universe or God or whatever you want to call it brings a coincidence that seems timed just right.

I realized that this lovely meditation room has felt just like that – bashert. As I was cleaning up, it didn’t dawn on me yet how much I needed this kind of space. It was just on my to-do list for the holiday. Yet, as I planted myself there, it was like God gave it to me and reminded me how outward focused I’ve been. I’ve been tired and burned out lately. God saw that and didn’t forget about me.

My journey in the Meditation Room is not over. I still have much to learn as I listen to God’s guidance within. As I pray and read and write there, I know God will continue to be with me, sending gifts of provision as steadily as the sunshine streaming in my window. It’s meant to be.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (Message translation)

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