Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 26th

Once again, blog posts are getting backed up, written but not posted.

Let's see if I'll post this one or not.

I will, but remember, this is simply me sharing my story. It's just a deeply personal account of my inner life, which I share because I am a writer and that is what I do.

That's what this blog is for. I wanted to call it "Scribblings," but someone else had taken it. This is me scribbling down on the page an account of my inner life.

I don't have the answers. I don't understand why I experience or know God in the way that I do. I can think of things that helped me on my journey, and sometimes I share those things. But they're only suggestions and ideas because, the thing is, it's a mystery. I don't understand it, myself.

I don't understand what it means, or why it happens, except that God is Love, interpersonal and astonishing Love, and this is just one of His many mysterious ways of demonstrating His love in very personal ways, which He does do, in so many different ways.

Lately, I have been too shy to call Jesus by His name, because His love has been too overwhelming, too intoxicating- just so personal, present, overflowing. I've been trying to get used to it.

But last night, His name slipped out as I was talking to Him, and He caught it immediately.

What is My name? He asked, with such tenderness.

"Jesus," I said, shyly.

Who is your Lover? He asked again, with such tender authority.

"It's You. Jesus," I answered, just bathed completely in shyness. "You're my Lover, my Husband, my..."

But I could not continue. The combination of knowing His story, and knowing Him the way that I do now, cut me right to the quick and I could not speak. Even my inner voice was washed away by a flood of something too exquisite for words, as I thought about Him, and everything that He was and did and said, and everything that He went through. I had to wait for it to subside.

Then my thoughts drifted away to some of the Christian mystics I had been reading about; how they had gone for long periods of time not feeling Him close to them, and how much agony that had caused them, and how this got expressed in their poetry.

I wondered, not for the first time, about the fact that I had never gone through such an experience, but was instead constantly, it seemed, surrounded by the presence and love of God.

If I asked that of you- to be apart from the experience of My presence, in order for your spirit to grow and deepen, would you accept? Jesus asked me.

It was not a trick question. I knew He was sincerely asking for my answer. Like, when He asked people, "What do you want?" or "What do you want from Me?" He was actually asking them.

This frequently puzzles me, when He asks me questions, since He knows everything anyway. Also, I really dislike it when He offers me a choice. It's unnerving.

He knows this.

"How can You even ask me such a thing! Why do You ask me?" I cried. "How can You ask me that! Why don't You just do it, if it must be done? Why involve me in the decision? Are You seriously asking me this? Really? Seriously?"

I thought about it, briefly, took a deep breath and answered Him honestly.

"No!" I told Him. "Absolutely not. I refuse. I won't accept. I can't accept. Don't ask it of me!"

And it was as if I threw myself at His feet. "Don't ask me that," I pleaded.

Then I thought about it further, surrounded as I felt myself to be, by His love and close embrace. I thought about never feeling that again.

Never being able find Him there, when my love and my longing and my desire for Him rose up unbearably; never to be able to pour that all out right into His very arms, in the manner to which I have grown accustomed, so to speak.

Never to dance with Him in the kitchen as I am unpacking the groceries, never to feel myself caught up in His arms, swung up into the air in a burst of joy and love and wonder, never to settle back into His embrace for a nice, quiet chat with Him, as if our heads were close together as we whispered.

Instead, to feel nothing but the quiet ticking of the physical world as it spun about its courses, fulfilling its physical nature; the quietness of wood and paint and window glass, and grass growing and the empty wonder of a blue sky in which nothing would echo.

The prospect was unbearable. What would I do with my desire? How could I live? Where could I turn?

I said to Him, "I would have to pour out everything into this incredible, creative surge, pour out all that energy into a flood of words. Would that be the point? I would throw myself onto the grass and howl for You, I would throw myself out on long, horribly lonely walks, never reaching You."

In short, I would be like a crazy person- as if I don't already sound like a crazy person, ha!- and understand, first hand, all that poetry. Not a pleasant prospect. Then something struck me.

"Anyway, Jesus," I went on, earnestly, feeling as if I were resting in His arms and speaking to Him freely, face to face, "that's not fair to ask me this. It's as if... listen, my sweetheart, you darling, listen. Imagine if this present life were over, and we were fully together, no more veil, and I knew You as You are and therefore I was as I am meant to be, and there is nothing between us.

"And we are there, on our couch, resting together in our room, just enjoying finally being fully together, and looking out over the quiet landscape, that I could truly see then and not through this veil which annoys the crap out me.

"And imagine, if then, my Darling, my Love, if You said to me then, "My dove, My little one, how I love you! You are precious to Me, and I cherish this way of being fully together...

"And then," I continued, dreamily, "You would call me by my new name..."

My attention wandered away, as I pondered this mystery of a new name, what it might be and what that might mean.

I would call you Jenny, Jesus said, so lovingly, interrupting my pondering, perhaps because this mystery is too deep to consider at that moment, and plunging me into sweet shyness.

"Yes," I acknowledged, delighted and unable to deny it, despite the shyness. "That is my name. I am Jenny. So... You would say, "Jenny, My own, My little one, I love you, and how I cherish being fully with you as we are now. But I want you to grow and to deepen into knowledge of Me, because I long always for you to know more of Me and My heart and My ways.

"And You would say to me, "To learn these lessons, you must go away from Me for a little while, from the full knowledge of Me, and enter mortal life..."

But I would never say that, Jesus said, so earnestly, interrupted my inner speech.

"No? You wouldn't?" I asked, hopefully.

No; you would never leave Me again, He assured me.

And He reminded me, without words of those pillars that stand always in the temple, and never go out again. Which is something I have longed for and begged Him for, hopelessly- since I figured I would never be an overcomer- but I couldn't help asking for this reward of being always with Him and longing for it for as long as I knew that verse existed, and without knowing what it really means. I still don't know. I just like the fact that they never leave. (It's Revelation 3:12)

"Really?" I asked, so hopeful, so wanting to believe that I would never again have to leave the full knowledge of Him. "So after this is finished, I never, ever, for any reason, have to leave You again?"

Never, He assured me.

"Well!" I said, feeling much happier. "Well, that changes things. In that case, I guess if it's only this once, during this life, and You felt certain that not feeling Your presence or hearing Your voice would be of great value to me in the long run..."

But I would still be there, He assured me.

"Yes," I acknowledged, "that is true. You would still be there, I just wouldn't be able to sense You there... If that is something that You think would be good for me in the long run, then yes. Okay. I would agree to that. How can I say no to You, anyway, when You ask me something? I would agree to it."

Then He said, write it down.

And I was all, oh Lord, must I? It's already so late at night and my wrist will hurt. I don't like writing with the pen...

Because I whine like that, sometimes to God. Which is partly why I so love those lines from Mechthild's book:

"I am endlessly glad
That I can speak to You without guile."

-Mechthild of Magdeburg

Indeed, dear sister, indeed.

Write it down, Jesus repeated, lovingly.

So I clicked on the bedside lamp (which did not bother Keith, because he was still up) and dragged my journal out and wrote it out in my terrible, scrawling handwriting, because I don't have the patience for the pen anymore, now that the pace of my thoughts is used to the speed of typing.

It took up four or five pages and that is how I can remember it so clearly, and how I captured the dialogue, which was somewhat intricate, as we spoke together.

So He was right. He usually is.

And now, of course, I wonder, will one morning I wake up to nothing but the stillness of the room, and the singing of the birds outside the window, and the cute little ears of the girls, as they wait to be let out?

And when I reach out, as I always do, will there be no answer?

It seems strange to me, because as it is, dropping myself into the quietness of the present moment always then opens the moment up into the resonant, loving presence of God, as though the stillness were pervaded by the strains of some melody which enhances it and is in perfect tune to the physical world around me.

I can't imagine that not happening; it seems so natural, so inevitable. And anyway, it's the deepest truth; in Him we live and breathe and have our being. Even if I couldn't sense it, I would still know it, because I can't un-know it.

So there's no point worrying about it. Life is a mystery.