March 19, 2014
written March 15, 2014
Brighter Darker Day
The emphasis in those title words is on the –er. The comparative. Comparing yesterday to today, for instance.
Today began with prayers. “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” Usual prayers for me.
After last Monday’s 2-hour-long, 1600-word, ranting shriekfest aimed at God, I spent the week in an exhausted haze. Don’t mistake haze for lack of clarity. It became very clear, very concrete, very crucial that I need to shed the godview I have held since childhood, the godview of judgment and gotcha practices, of sadistic and whimsical God (God will do what God will do…which is true, but I’ve never held that as a good thing).
This week was dark.
I went to yoga. I put my legs up the wall (a restorative yoga pose). I conversed with people about God and my godview. I wrote. I prayed anyway.
And today, a shift.
Today, a welter of conversations coalesced and clarified. A counselor said, “In many ways we create our own reality here.” A friend said, “That voice you hear in your head is not God! That’s the enemy talking.” Another friend said, “That’s not God; that’s man. God is pure love.” Still another said, “Act as if.”
“How would it feel,” a one of them asked, “if it could all change in an instant? What would happen? How would that feel?”
It would feel “exhilarating and peaceful and jubilant and zingy,” I replied.
“It all depends on your degree of faith,” she said, “how much you’ll allow.”
Resolved: Today I begin behaving as if. As if God adores me. As hard as that is to believe. As if God is all the love and grace and mercy he is reputed to be.
Today was the right day to listen again to Mumford and Sons. The chorus of “Babel” goes, “Because I know my weakness, know my voice, and I’ll believe in grace and choice. And I know perhaps my heart is fast, but I’ll be born without a mask.”
I love that the verb at the end of the first sentence comes in future tense: I will believe in grace and choice. A new resolve, choice, determination, orientation every day. A new chance to pray for that resolve, to act as if. I also believe in—and crave—grace and choice and honesty.
I am in the dressing room, trying on faith. I am in the lab of life, testing hope.
This afternoon, Laura Hile posted a quote by Annie Lamott, from Bird by Bird:
“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.”
My response to Laura was this, and it only developed as I wrote it:
“I needed that [quote] this week. Hope is a revolutionary patience. Writing is a revolutionary patience. Writing is hope. Wow.”
We’ve been studying argument in my AP class these past two weeks, and that priming leads me to notice that my comment works out to be a syllogism:
Hope = revolutionary patience (B=A)
Writing = revolutionary patience (C=A)
Writing = hope (C=B)
Therefore writing equals hope! Ah! There’s the draw, the compulsion, the attraction. I begin to understand.
My shift also gives me the ability to look, with unvarnished eye, at the writing I have actually accomplished in the past week, or the past month, rather than merely the writing I have not done.
This is a shift. Revolutionary.
Tonight. A dark night, full moon, warm.
I worked on my thesis.
I left Panera when it closed, timing it perfectly to arrive at the nearest theater showing the Veronica Mars movie. I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and just because I don’t have someone to see it with isn’t going to stop me from seeing. I’m a big girl; I can go to movies by myself. (In fact, I’m starting to enjoy it.)
My timing was perfect, which is more than I can often say of myself. But as I started purchasing the ticket from the electronic kiosk, an attendant came out and told us that the theater was closed for the night, they’d had to evacuate. Oh, that’s why all the police cars were around. Hmm. And that’s why I got a good parking spot. Hmm. As I walked back to my car, I encountered two large pods of dark-blue-clad police officers wielding drawn assault rifles as they canvassed the parking lot.
Well…change of plans. I wasn’t too disappointed, surprisingly. Maybe that’s just because it’s a gorgeous night. And it is. A gorgeous night.
A full moon, a dark sky. The citrus blossoms permeating the air of practically the entire county. Temperature at 69 and warm enough to drive with windows down, radio blaring good throwback music—and all of the music was good tonight, upbeat or moody, but never depressing.
My car likes this temperature, and it purrs swiftly, smoothly, contentedly, turning with alacrity, moving with power. I feel as though I do, too.
If I had not had to leave early, I might not have noted with pleasure the giant dark shapes of the war-era Tustin airship hangars looming in the dark just a few feet away from me. I would not have seen the Disneyland fireworks as I approached my freeway exit. I would not have sung “Ring My Bell” at the top of my lungs as I hurtled happily down the freeway, blinded but (uncharacteristically) not annoyed by the headlights behind me. I might not have felt the upwelling of lovelustlove for life and the universe and the crazy SoCal spring nights that are such foreshadowings of the approaching summer.
I am living as if. Acting as if.
And tonight I am jubilant.
Ros, I am looking forward to shedding my own limiting beliefs, about myself, about God, about others. I’ve had glimpses of this jubilant feeling of which you speak. I want more of it. I look forward to it!
Amen, Denise! I’d like to upgrade my operating system and make this my new default, insofar as it resides in my power to do so. Let’s practice together!
Those kiln folk are smart 🙂 In spite of my heathen leanings I strongly agree with the idea of writing as hope and your personal journey is beautifully honest. Found you via the A-Z. Wishing you lots of good car singing and happiness!
Lisa at Wishbone Soup Cures Everything