Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31st

It's Halloween. I almost forgot. So this blog is wildly off topic for the holiday, but oh well.

I read this:

Any true experience of the Holy gives one the experience of being secretly chosen, invited, and loved, while also knowing that this presence cannot be manipulated, used, or controlled in any way (mysterium tremendum). Surely that is why bride and bridegroom, invitations to banquets, and wedding celebrations are Jesus’ most common metaphors for eternal life. They imply reciprocity, the give and take of mutual reverence and mutual desire, and most of all, happiness.
The mystics of all religions talk of being ravished, seduced, of deep inner acceptance, total forgiveness, mutual nakedness, immense and endless gratitude, endless yearning, and always a desire and possibility of more. This is religion at its best and highest and truest. The mystics know themselves to be totally safe and completely accepted at ever deeper levels of trust, exposure, and embrace. Isn’t this, of course, what all of us desire at our deepest level?
-Richard Rohr, Adapted from Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate
This is why I love reading Richard Rohr.

He reminds me that I am not crazy; I simply had a mystic experience of God like any other. There is, in fact, a history of such experiences, and my own line up within that history.

And then I have this deep, urgent desire to pour that experience, that deeply personal understanding, into words in some way, shape or form. Words are like the outer wrapping, something I can hold onto, so I can pass it on.

Anyway, I would like that to be true. The idea that this is possible causes me to return again and again to writing.

But I feel certain that I am falling short- ridiculously, laughably short.

And here's the really unexpected thing- what Rohr says, "The mystics know themselves to be totally safe and completely accepted at ever deeper levels of trust, exposure and embrace," is true, in my experience, but it look nothing like what I thought it would.

I thought that this process would be like a bleaching process, whereby I would grow paler and paler and more and more insubstantial and aerie.

Basically, detached from my humanity, as it were. As if I did not have a gender, a body, or emotions, or a personal history. As if, to be loved by God, one would become something like our common image of an angel.

And that has simply not happened. In fact, the direct opposite has occurred.

The result of knowing myself to be loved by God is that I am able to embrace and live in and see my own self much more clearly. It's almost as though I have become more earthly, more warmly sewn into my own flesh and blood and the small circumstances of my life and the actual people who are around me.

Something like this:

"We awaken in Christ's body,
As Christ awakens in our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him.
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightening.
Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
-Then open your heart to Him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ's body
Where all our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awake as the beloved
In every last part of our body."

-St. Symeon the Theologian, from Hymns of Divine Love

And then, when I think of this, then my stories make sense to me. I think, maybe I am not failing as badly as I think I am, and anyway, I must just start writing where I can, and then write from there.

Even if I completely fail, and my words never get passed on, I still believe that it's worth it to try, just for its own sake.