Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whom (or what?) Shall I Fear?

A week ago I decided that I would load my book, my beach chair, a few towels, sunscreen and my favorite visor into my Jeep Liberty (whose name happens to be Libby!) and drive forty-five minutes out to Perdido Key. I sensed that I needed to go to Perdido Key, which was very odd because for the past several years I had been going to Pensacola Beach. I have learned that it is best to trust my "senses" as they are usually nudgings from God and so I went with my sense and headed to Perdido Key.

I'll admit to being a bit apprehensive upon arriving as I expected something to happen -- to sort of have a "God moment". I quickly got over the apprehension as the beauty and majesty of Perdido Key has a way of settling and calming me no matter my circumstances. Since it is early in spring and the Key was not at all crowded, I found a perfect spot right on the edge of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico to set up my beach chair and begin reading. It seemed as though it were just me, my book and God.

After enjoying a few precious hours reading most of the book, I decided it was time to head home. As I was walking up the boardwalk toward the parking lot and Libby -- remember that's my Jeep's name -- it hit me -- this remembering. I stopped in my tracks (thankfully no one was around) and I remembered, I mean really remembered as though all those years had not passed, how I spent almost every Saturday morning that beautiful spring many years ago trying to heal from a divorce. I was barely twenty years old and had already been married and divorced. It was such a painful reality. I remembered how I needed the beach, this special place to heal me, to console me, to be my refuge... and it was. My faith was still rather young then (although I had been practicing it for many years already), and I apparently had not learned, or maybe didn't want to learn, to let God be my refuge and my shelter in a storm. 

Anyway, back to that moment on the boardwalk. It was in that moment that I remembered -- I recalled in its entirety all the pain and suffering I've experienced -- my original wound and those that naturally followed because of it -- and there held in the shelter of Love's Heart, I felt again all those feelings, and I didn't stuff any of them. Held safe and secure in Love's heart, I was okay.

I recalled Psalm 27, particularly Nan Merrill's paraphrase of Psalm 27 found in her book Psalms for Praying -- An Invitation to Wholeness. I will share it with you:

Love is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Love is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
When fears assail me, rising up to accuse me, each one in turn shall be seen in Love's light. Though a multitude of demons rise up within me, my heart shall not fear. Though doubts and gult do battle, yet I shall remain confident.
One thing have I asked of Love, that I shall ever seek: that I might dwell in the Heart of Love all the days of my life, to behold the Beauty of my Beloved, and to know Love's Plan.
For I shall hide in Love's heart in the day of trouble, as in a tent in the desert, away from the noise of my fears. And I shall rise above my struggles, my pain, shouting blessings of gratitude in Love's Heart. And singing melodies of praise to my Beloved.
Hear, O my Beloved, when I cry aloud, be gracious and answer me! You have said, "Seek my face." My heart responds, "Your face, my Beloved, do I seek; hide not your face from me."
Do not turn from me, You who have been my refuge. Enfold me in your strong arms, O Blessed One. Though my father and mother may not understand me, You, my Beloved, know me and love me.
Teach me to be love, as You are Love; lead me through each fear; hold my hand as I walk through valleys of illusion each day, that I may know your Peace.
I believe that I shall know the Realm of Heaven, of Love, here on Earth!
Call upon the Beloved, be strong and trust in the heart's courage. Trust in the power of Love; the Beloved's unconditional and everlasting love for you.
Walter Brueggemann in his book Spirituality of the Psalms basically says that the Psalms if read as a whole -- if taken in as a whole -- lead worshippers from orientation to disorientation to new orientation and that this process isn't a one time thing. It seems that Lent for me is likely going to be captured in Walter Brueggemann's process of orientation, disorientation and new orientation -- my deep healing being one new orientation and my immersion into the Psalms being another one. I am convinced, though, that God has much more work to do within my soul because an original wound like the one I suffered as a very young child has many faucets and I think I've seen only just a few. 

I (orientation) will remain wide open and available to whatever God brings me for the remainder of this season of Lent (disorientation) in anticipation a glorious Resurrection celebration (new orientation)! While I wait, though, I will offer God my gratitude for the healing he has worked out in my soul. It has been a long time coming.

Grace & Peace to you, my friends, as we journey through Lent towards the marvelous Light and Love that is our Beloved!

1 comment: