The Truth in the Inward Parts

Thursday, 19 February 2009

My son-in-law, Alan, says in his book, Journey into Christ, 'Our identity is hidden, even from ourselves ... The doctrine that we are made after the image of God proclaims that the human being is fundamentally a mystery, a free spirit. The creative artist is one who carries within him the wound of transcendence. He is the sign that human beings are more than they are.'

... A real problem for most of us is that this 'more than we think we are' is not necessarily recognized as good. It is difficult for most of us to recognize, accept, and affirm those large areas of ourselves which are not compatible with the image of ourselves we would like to project or which the world has taught us we ought to project. Jesus was very clear about these projections, referring to those who projected them as 'whited sepulchres,' clean and white without, and full of dead bones and decay within.

Madeleine L'Engle - Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

A favourite saying is, "God helps those who help themselves." I think the phrase can be understood correctly, but in most practical situations it is pure heresy. Scripture clearly says God helps those who trust in God, not those who help themselves.

We need to be told that so strongly because of our entire "do it yourself" orientation. As educated people, as Americans, our orientation is to do it. It takes applying the brakes, turning off our own power and allowing Another.

What the lordship of Jesus means is that first we come to him, first we put things into his hands. Our doing must proceed from our being. Our being is "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).

Richard Rohr, from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p.77

I have been pondering this idea all day today, gleaning its comfort. I have become so much more aware in the last year or two how deep I go. How much there is in me that is just patently impossible for me to know. Like Paul, I am frustrated at the depths to which I do that which I do not want to do, and do not do that which I do want to.

Thinking about this today, reading those words from L'Engle this afternoon, I thought for the first time really about how these deep parts must also commune with God. God does not commune simply with my mind and my heart, the conscious elements of me. There are parts of me groaning in prayer. Just as there are animals living their entire existence, only recently discovered, so far down in the ocean that it was commonly believed nothing would or could exist down there. God is speaking to the deep, deep calling to deep, without me even being aware. That is so comforting to me. The depths of my soul scare me just as much as they thrill me with their deep deep knowings and their strange dark beauty.

I mentioned to my friend a few days ago how it felt to me as if the seasons were about to begin transitioning from summer into autumn. The most subtle of feelings, the very beginning, like it feels when I know the very second my period is beginning. Autumn is not even palpable on the air yet, certainly not manifested into a smell. But just evident this evening, as I noticed the sun going down just a little earlier than usual. The sun was a beautiful golden ball of light. I let it seep into my soul. I could feel, for a moment, the urge to hang onto the light. But it is the way of things that the light must die. I must share it with my northern friends too :) (There is also a tinge of melancholy attached to summer now, this one being so full of destruction. This season I am not sorry to see the end of summer).

My friend mentioned to me, in the striking way that female friends have with each other, that I am in the process of transition. I am transitioning, my friend assured me with the conviction of one who can see. It's just that I can't see it yet, she said.

I agree. How weird it is this agreeing, down deep, down where the knowing is and the blood starts. I can't see it at all. I have no real idea what it entails. But it is coming. A turning. In accordance with the seasons, as the leaves will begin to twist and turn their ways off the trees. Just as the leaves become their real, true colour in autumn, I pray also, with fervency, that this autumn I will become just that little bit more like myself. Or putting it another way, I look forward in my turning to becoming just a little bit more like Christ. Whatever that looks like.


  1. I know what you mean about feeling the seasons change way before you should. I used to HATE it, but as I get older and become more comfortable in my own skin, I'm more ok with the me that autumn brings. I think because even as summer begins we are already on a downhill slope...that summer solstice is the high point, even if summer lasts for some time.

    Anyhow, I look forward to finding the new things that comes with the changing seasons.


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