Saturday, December 1, 2012

...into the darkness

The morning after I took this photo, I saw the name of the large boat that blocked the wind and tide,
keeping Forever After still in our berth: she was christened Amazing Grace. 

The first day of Advent, the liturgical season that calls us to wait patiently for Light, is possibly the most practical of times. For a few weeks, I'm reminded of what I frequently try to ignore in my daily walk: I tend to wander through the wilderness of life like the lost tribes of Israel. To add to the confusion, I focus on fixes. "Take a note, Siri." I'm waiting for the day when she can create and maintain a large matrix. And if I can't solve my own problems, I'm happy to think about yours. I wish my motives were truly worthy. But, truth is, this practice at best reduces you to a diversionary tactic. And at worst, robs you of your personal spiritual journey. Ever watched a cat who's injured? Still. Quiet. As in "In stillness and quiet, there lies my strength." 

Perhaps these next words of Frederick Buechner are a good way to acknowledge Advent's presence: 
"Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you...remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God's business...even your own life is not your business. It is also God's business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought...unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy. What deadens most to God's presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort than being able from time to time to stop that chatter."

Darkness does not last. The psalmist wrote, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Until the dawning, I honor the darkness I experience. I honor yours.

Life is grace.
Sleep is forgiveness.
The night absolves.
Darkness wipes the slate clean,
not spotless to be sure,
but clean enough for another day's chalking.
Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

I invite you to listen to 
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
by The Civil Wars

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