When I get home from a trip, I like to unpack all my stuff right away. It drives me crazy to even think about all that stuff sitting in the suitcase. (It doesn’t bother me in my always overflowing laundry hamper though.) My practice of quickly unpacking what ever I bring home works fine. However, what works for clothes and traveling gear, does not work so well for experiences with God.
I have so very much encounter to unpack from this past weekend. My thumbnail descriptions on Dec. 5th, should give you an idea.
And how exactly do you, should you, unpack such?
My cohort, in my adventure, MK, (if you are not reading MK’s blog you are majorly missing out) and I have been asking ourselves and each other that question.
So, how do you unpack God experiences? Do you catalog or diagram? Do you try to re-imagine or relive the experience in your mind’s eye? Do you throw it all into the air and let the heaviest things settle back? I have done all these and many other exercises to try to gain fully what I could from encounter.
But, sometimes it may be best to just let that (holy) stuff sit in that suitcase and stare at you – with its rumpled, lived-in look. Sometimes, separating and situating all the pieces and portions of a journey render it less.
So, I think I’m going to honor what it was…and not now, maybe ever, unpack. I’m just going to leave those things – soiled of God’s presence, still and sentinel. Like a stack of stones – an Ebenezer of sorts. And, sacrifice what things they could be and do now – to preserve the memory of momentary Mystery.
Last night a friend of mine approached me with “the look” all over his face. He had been rattled by God, actually, God’s landscape. He tried to explain what had happened to Him. He had been exposed to something new to Him, at least new in the particular light of his last few days. He stumbled and stammered. I heard him more clearly than ever. I speak that stammering tongue.
Art, poetry, symbol and metaphor shake us awake, open our eyes and ears to the new or make the known new to us. They open wide the horizon of hope in our lives. My friend saw something precious and costly that though hidden in broad daylight, dazzles at dusk.
Dusk’s mellowed, warm light lends us shadows and archetypes. Good guesses at what just might be, if only we apply imagination and intuition.
I too am walking in a dusk drowned landscape. New shapes and sirens arrest me and then force me forward.
It would seem a lonely place, but every few steps another sojourner and I seem to back into one another… pursuing just a little more perspective, as if a little distance would grant us clearer discernment.
In this nearly night, I have found myself less alone, more alive than in the busyness of broad day. This place is the magician’s stage, the poet’s paradise. I am home.
I had jury duty, again, this week. I get called a good bit. Often I get selected: white female with kids, in education – I kinda chart out neutral to mildly sympathetic. Today, it seemed everyone on the panel but me had been rear-ended and/or had injured their neck to the point that they required neck surgery. What is the chance that in a group of 32 people all under 55, like 6-8 of them had neck surgery after a wreck. Anyway, I would have picked me as a defense or plaintiff attorney. But I was released.
I’m really glad I was. It was the typical insurance company vs. policy holder case. One of those tough to tell if the plaintiff is lying, so many people do to milk insurance companies for every possible dollar. Or if the company was doing the all too normal foot-dragging dance. Seemed it might have been both. My discernment as to the lying wasn’t firing, and my experience with insurance companies has many times had me close to calling in a bomb threat….
God was gracious to me today, He hid me in my spiritual numbness and fleshly frustration.
I had to walk the hallways of the courthouse a lot. We took lots of breaks. You know you could tell the staff and jury personnel instantly from those there or with someone there for processing or some legal matter. There was just a different tone to them. It was bleak and sad and like a sickness that clung to them. It was a staleness.
I met and visited with some nice people…jury duty always encourages me that way. There are lots of really nice people in this world, especially within those called to jury duty. Only one young man on the panel seemed to have that dingy, staleness about him. He offered during questioning that he had a case pending against him in a civil court. Everyone else was free of whatever that thing is.
Last week in sunday school we talked about the thing that overtakes those in legal trouble, the spiritual thing. I saw it today…I know exactly what they were talking about now. Hopelessness.