Then Shall I Leap Into Love
I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.
-Mechthild of Magdeburg
March 28, 2013 Journal
I’m feeling nervous and anxious, because of sharing my experience with Jesus, and getting used to them, still myself. And also, because I keep asking Him things, and His answers are not what I expect and it takes me a while to process them.
I keep pausing, right where I am, and thinking, is this for real? I walked into the bedroom, the dresser drawers left wide open in the lamp light, the bed unmade and I thought, right here and right now, He loves me and I will simply be in it.
I felt nothing profound, only my tiredness, and so I was just that in the moment, and leaned against the footboard of the bed. As I did, I felt Jesus drape His arm around my shoulders, comfortingly, but I refused to be comforted and I persisted in thinking, how can this be? How can this be real?
I let that be in the moment as well- everything in the moment at once, what I felt from Him, my resistance to it, my exhaustion, confusion, yearning, everything together with the untidy room, leaning against the foot of the bed and Jesus poured His love into that moment- personal, kind and generous beyond all expectation.
I felt like laughing from the shock of it; how can Jesus be like this? How can this be true of Him? Will His love never run out?
Last night! Last night, I was very discontent. I wanted so much more than what I had. It was an ache deep inside. I am very glad for those others who write about this. If I didn’t know this was a common experience, I would feel very ungrateful.
I kept pestering Him about what it will really be like, in the greater life, in the wholeness of heaven. I did not pester Jesus about this before because it felt like bad manners in the face of everything else given. I guess I’m getting more comfortable, but asking all these questions is also, I’m sure, adding to my anxiety.
Anyway, I pestered Jesus and some of my questions He answered and some He did not.
I said, will You be a flesh and blood Person?
The answer was, Certainly, yes.
I asked, will I also be flesh and blood, a physical person?
The answer was yes.
I asked, What will you look like? Will I be able to recognize Your face?
Jesus said, you already know Me.
I asked, will we have that room and the couch and will we live there, really together?
And He said, I will always come home to you.
Which I thought was a wonderful thing for Jesus to say. He was gentle and kind about all my questions. I had the feeling that this whole thing was entirely beyond what I was able to know or wrap my mind around, currently. I acknowledged that this was true; that I could sense that this was true, that I lacked the basic vocabulary or concepts.
But Jesus said that certainly, absolutely, being with Him would be real and personal. It would be all those raw, powerful aspects that made it so intoxicating even now. The heart of it would be the same.
So I knew I would have to wait, and I tried to pull myself into the present moment, to not let my longing to know Him in wholeness pull me out of the life I must live now. Jesus reminded me of the child that is coming through the adoption and I said, lovingly, “Yes. I shall love that part.”
I remember these messy times from before. I guess my spiritual life is cyclical. I go from intense times of connectedness and learning, to chaotic times of doubt and questioning that once passed through, lead to greater levels of communion. I guess both times are necessary.
I sat in the car at the parking lot in Walmart, listening to the radio and feeling the sun warm on my face, and I felt the love of Jesus all around me, as though He were holding me close in His arms, His love comforting and familiar.
When the perception of His presence is briefly gone, I think, my goodness! It was real- I feel its absence. And then I feel it again and think, oh my goodness, this is real- I remember this.
Similar to if I constantly felt the sunshine- I would become inured to it. I would cease to notice it. But because it goes away, when it comes back, I remember how delicious it is all over again.
March 29, 2013 Journal
I saw a fraction of a verse on a blog, about how Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame…
My heart went all warm and gooey with anticipation and then it went on to say that the joy set before Jesus was His future exultation.
Not that the throne isn’t important, or that He isn’t exulted- He is, of course He is. His name is above every name and He is wholly worthy of exultation. But goodness! Dare I say, I don’t really think that’s what He was keeping His eyes on. I would think instead that the joy set before Jesus was full, open and loving relationship with us, His beloved ones. I think that was the joy He was looking at.
I keep longing and longing to write something, some allegory or metaphoric poem that would capture how I know God in some way that can be passed on.
March 29, 2013 published blog
Here is a stage:
enter the girl.
Dim the lights.
It would not be kind
this solitary figure
too harshly to illuminate.
She herself is unaware.
Let the backdrop unroll.
Now stretched behind her is
a depth of perception not realized.
She is presented against this
flat invitation, and our imaginations
lend it life not inherent
to its nature, too closely following
the form of our experience
but it will do.
We have yet no other.
Her story now enhanced by our expectation,
the girl paces back and forth before the backdrop,
animated, speaking, believing
When she turns to the painted canvass
she reaches out her arms as if she could
reach right through it.
Now the music should play.
Softly, I think. Hardly heard:
some violin strains
some wind and reed.
The sound should wreathe the stage
weaving audience into story
and story into girl-
whom we have momentarily forgotten.
In the absence of our attention,
her story has progressed.
She is not alone on the stage.
This figure is not the hired actor.
Flabbergasted, the director searches through the papers,
his hissing disturbing the silence that's descended
in this unexpected entrance,
but the girl isn't taking his cue.
She isn't looking at him.
We are urged to remain calm.
Our regularly scheduled program should resume shortly.
And touching the pulleys and cords
and equipment of mechanical service
this too present and captivating Person lifts them into air.
Breaking apart, our stage falls away,
leaving us hanging in some place
too real to be believed.
Clutch your program close,
but it won’t translate this language for you.
There’s only one word here,
in this place beyond the backdrop,
and it isn't a false front.
Again the girl has been forgotten
and is gone from view.
She's become real and is lost amid the landscape.
To follow her now, we can no longer be an audience.
March 30, 2013 Journal
Last night, I went to bed and I was drawn into love, by Jesus and by my longing and we were there in the room, only I was standing.
We were standing. It was interesting, to see the room from that perspective. I felt a sense of freedom and ability, like I could go explore, I could move around. I remember that the floor was stone and the couch was there, to the left of me, it seemed to be draped with a soft throw blanket and some pillows.
I stepped out onto the grass, but then I hesitated. I stepped back into the room, which is really like a pavilion, because of there being no walls, but Jesus kept assuring me that it was safe and okay for me to be out in that space, so I said something along the lines of, okay, fine!
I ran out into the grass in my bare feet, onto the gently sloping lawn and then I threw myself down on the grass with the joy of a child, and Jesus sat down cross legged near me, in the grass and I lay there, soaking in the peace and freshness and quietness and the nearness of Him.
And then I wanted Jesus nearer, so I moved the little way closer Him and nestled up to Him, my head on His chest. Jesus is welcoming, so open, happy and pleased to have me, that I can’t resist coming close to Him.
I lay there with my head on His chest, resting, connecting to His heart and Him. I moved my hand over the scar tissue on His hand from the nail, and Jesus said, you know who I am.
I thought, that’s astonishing and delicious- I must pause in the sheer enjoyment of being with Him, to mark this in my mind, because I never want to forget that. (Because I have to step out of the conscious flow of being with Jesus in order to stop and record or memorize what happened.)
After doing that, I wondered, can I re-enter that place? And I did, but how I can’t say, except that Jesus and my longing draw me there, and then I worried, how can this be real if it's that easy? But if I get hung up on my doubts and how exactly this is happening, I get stuck. It’s better just to let everything fall into Jesus and accept the gift and to go with it.
When I get stuck like that, I frequently hear Jesus whisper, believe, or do not be unbelieving, but believing. As if believing were the stream which allowed the experiences to run smoothly forward, belief was the thing that caught me up in it, a way in which I participate.
So then, I thought, let’s go down to the edge of the lawn. I paused and consulted without words and that was okay.
Down at the edge of the lawn, there was a wooded slope and then a little stream and it was exactly like the stream at my best friend’s home when I was a child. It was a shallow, rocky stream in upstate New York. I mentioned to Jesus that this was not a new stream, that I recognized this from my past, and Jesus said, but you like it.
As if, it was here again, now, because I liked it. I wonder if heaven is individually tailored like that, in some way, each person seeing or being in the things that they love.
I did like it. I squatted down and put my hand in the water and then I splashed my face with it and the fish came to nibble my fingers under the water. Jesus was kneeling next to me.
I stepped out into the water and I seemed to be younger, much younger and I turned to Jesus and He seemed to be younger, which puzzled me. But it was also delightful. I wonder if God enjoys sometimes to be childlike.
I held out my hand to small Jesus and He took my hand and wadded into the water with me. And it was so… so good. As if God and I were best friends, or companions, just exploring the world and enjoying it.
But then we crossed the river and the other side was some dense tangle and above it I kept seeing the road and thinking, that’s my memory, not this experience and I couldn’t seem to move away from the memory into the free flowing spiritual experience and I felt some kind of uneasiness, so I turned away and let it be whatever it was.
(I think it was a boundary. Never have I been able to go freely entirely in any direction in that place, even when with Jesus. Sometimes when I reach the limit, it looks like a blue sky with clouds. Sometimes it’s just an unclear jumble without form. Sometimes it’s a jumble of memories. Whatever it appears as, I know instinctively that the freedom to move on or through is closed, and it is best to respect that.)
We sat down on the other side of the stream together and we were our usual ages and we were resting. We were talking, but I forget about what.
We came up out of the bank and onto the lawn and indeed, there was the pavilion at the top of the lawn and I could see the blurry tops of trees and possibly hills beyond it and I had this feeling that the city lay there, somewhere in that direction. It was interesting, refreshing in some way, to see the room from the distance, from that new perspective.
Suddenly, my love for Jesus rose up bursting out of my chest and I threw my arms around Him and poured out my love to Him. It was intoxicating, headier than wine.
I was caught up in this surge of love, caught like a leaf in a flood tide, like a bush with every leaf lit on fire and not burnt away and I suddenly realized that I had known Jesus always- that He had always been my Beloved, my Lord. I had known Him before I had been born into this mortal life. (I'm including this because this happened, but this is my personal testimony, and by no means must a person believe this as doctrine.)
Like that verse, He choose us in Him before the foundations of the world. How could He choose us, if we weren’t already in some form, extant? We were in Him before the foundations of the world were laid.
This history that I had with Jesus, it moved me to the depths of my being. With all that I was, I cried out to Jesus again and again, “Oh my God, oh my God! Oh, it’s You! I know You!” As if I had found Jesus all over again, found the one thing that mattered most, the Source of my life and life itself, the foundation of my being, my breath, my heart, my everything worth having, the one irreplaceable, inexpressibly wonderful thing that I had lost, that gave the horizon all its aching beauty- He had been lost to me for a short while, and now recovered, recognized.
It moved Jesus deeply, He kept gathering me up, claiming me, assuring me, again and again, that I was His and He was mine and we belonged to each other.
It was so much, it beyond words; I couldn’t even find the words to speak how much I longed for Him, wanted beyond what I had, beyond what I could see, I wanted, badly, with a longing so intense it was almost painful, to return to that place and way of knowing Him completely, of being with Him with open sight and presence, as I had before the veil of this life.
I knew that I would know His face, that when I saw it, it would be as if I had never forgotten what He looked like, I would know Jesus from the marrow of my bones to the spark of divine life in the depths of my spirit, I would know Him through and through, my eternal Lord, my beginning and my end, my all in all and everything good.
And then, as I was in His arms, this intensity eased away of its own accord, and I felt this sorrow sweep up from inside Him. Jesus was sad, He was filled with sadness. Immediately I was filled with love and compassion and tenderness. I was not dismayed by His emotion, only inexpressibly moved by it, and I caught Jesus up tightly in my arms, as if to comfort Him, and I cradled Him in my arms, and I whispered in His ear, “What is wrong? What happened? What happened?”
He did not answer me in words, but I remembered, the thought drifted over me, that it was Good Friday and that so many countless people were remembering the crucifixion and not just that, but they were remembering and being in their own suffering, which was great and the two together were present, somehow, in that moment. For one moment, I saw as Jesus saw, or felt as He felt, to feel the yearning pain of this life, of the people lost in this life and the hurts they suffered, away from Him.
It was unbearable; it went sharp through me and I said, of course, of course, I understand, I see. But He only let me feel it that one moment, because I can’t handle all of it. Only He can. I wonder if Jesus feels that constantly, at a certain level in Himself, while at the same time, feeling joy and completion, because that is also true- but who knows how He is within Himself? That is a profound mystery.
I said to Jesus, almost as a confession, because the feeling has been so strong, “I love to comfort You.”
He replied immediately, I love to be comforted by you.
Jesus reminded me of what I had read earlier, something which talked about the degree to which our spirits can learn to grow in love- to be able to love God almost as God does. Jesus reminded me how much I had wanted that and I said, “Yes, Yes, I did want that. I want to love You are powerfully as You love me, I want to love you completely, to see and to love You as You are, and in order to do that, You must make me sturdy enough to face You- You must help me grow up to be as strong and loving as You, so that I can love You as You should be loved.”
This pleased Jesus. He liked that very much. He will lead me there, eventually. He will fashion me in that way. I couldn’t sleep very well, because I was so caught up in Him, thinking about Him, remembering what had happened, remembering the things He had said and most of all, remembering that He was my eternal, my always Beloved and Lord. Jesus kept reminding me of this, Himself.
I would wake and know Jesus was there, and He would take me into His arms with strong, jealous love and remind me, without words, that He was eternally my beloved Lord, that I had found in Him my Source, that I would always know Him, that I had found Him again. It was intoxicating, moving. When I woke up in the morning, I felt that again.
"We should trust in Him helplessly until the Holy Spirit exclaims, "Who is this that cometh... leaning upon her beloved?
"The Lord answers and says that she is none other than the once filthy sinner, who was seen by grace, called by grace and saved by grace. Her mother is God's grace. The grace of God does not refer just to God's forbearance. His forbearance is only a small part of His grace. God's grace also includes His plan and selection before the foundation of the world and His Son's redemption and the work of the Holy Spirit in time. All these are God's grace according to the Bible. When God's grace seeks and finds a chosen sinner, it puts him under the shadow of Christ. There he is fed with life, and there he is brought forth. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the love of Christ.
"The "apple" tree is the same bergamot orange is 2:3; it refers to Christ, who is full of affection. Who is this maiden? She is none other than a sinner saved by grace. Thank God that when she first opened her eyes to behold the world, the first thing she saw was the affectionate Christ. The first fact she discovered was that she was under the shadow of such an affectionate Christ. That was her origin. How fitting it is for her to remember this at the time of her spiritual maturity!"