Approaching Clarity

I am no masochist but there’s something so fulfilling and satisfying in these spiritual and emotional growing pains. What I have learned these past few weeks: Self-discovery hurts. Vulnerability hurts. Healing hurts. Yet this hurt yields relief because little by little all things are shifting into focus.

A few months ago, I experienced something that turned my world around. Not a religious conversion; my religious conversion has always been slow and measured, tiny fractions of turns, slight shifts in the way I know God and myself and the other, a steady turning despite the ebb and flow of doubt and praise, but altogether nothing hugely interesting. No, this conversion was the discovery of the key to my coded past; all the old suppressed emotions and inexplicable actions snapped suddenly into focus.

And now I begin to understand who I am and now I begin to understand that I will never begin to understand who you are, who he is, who she is. Complexity is difficult, but beautiful and human. Still, love is the reason, the purpose, the end and the means; love remains silent, asks questions; love hurts, then heals. [So what if that’s cliché, it’s true.]

I pray for redemption of our pasts, individual and collective. Our pasts taint our presents, dictate how we act now. I pray we redeem the present from insignificance, because each day is a gift, as is each breath, and moment.

And I am learning so powerfully that there is even grace and redemption in these dismal grey days. Gloom hovers above like these clouds that threaten, only threaten, rain, never releasing relief. The fiery copper beech looks like judgment today; the lake, disturbed and restless. That half-minute walk from one building to the next when walked alone feels like an eternity; the wind gnaws at my skin and absolute fear and loneliness well up in the deepness of my stomach. It’s that restlessness in the air that feels like this so carefully constructed world is just a house of cards, and the defenses around myself which hang together just perfectly are falling down.

But there is always grace, redemption, forgiveness. Sometimes the defenses are salvaged, the house remains standing, and there is tea, blankets, no fire but warm radiators, and friends. But other times, all things collapse, are stripped away, leave just flesh and backbone, a beating heart. But there, love is made manifest. Sometimes so simply but enough: a hug or a few words, a knowing look. Other times I wonder how they can love so well, so perfectly: walking and talking equally or climbing under the covers sobbing praying prophesying singing. Realizing that you and I are the same: weak, vulnerable, broken, in need, unable to live alone.

We learn from one another to be brave in our love.

Today, or rather this one moment now, I am at peace; I have drunk the gift of this moment. I can’t say I won’t retreat back into that restless fear and doubt, that state of unease, even within the hour. But now, this moment, I have succeeded. Illumination comes like lightning, and then is gone, but in the cloudy haze of irresolution, it is these little moments that make it worth it. Moments where everything becomes clear for just one moment before it fades again, when the spheres of person and person collide and we understand each other.

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