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Re-entry: not for the faint of heart. After days of bliss and only having to tend to myself, I find it difficult to return to everyday demands, including a very independent child whom, I suspect, may be subconsciously punishing me for having left her.
What I am holding onto is the wisdom I received last week. Wisdom that seems so clear in the midst of nuns, convents, solitary cabins, walks in the woods and journeys through the labyrinth. Those pieces begin to fade under the pressure of the every day.
I want to describe one of those peak experiences mostly so I don't lose it, forget or doubt its occurrence.
I awoke Friday morning with a start and heaviness of unsound sleep. The tap-tap-tap of rain on the metal roof tortured me all night and, upon opening my eyes, fear began to grip me. Just, what exactly was God asking of me? To get a space to do more of my turtlebox work: art, classes and opening to under-served kids. Seemed so easy while in a euphoric state. But in the glare of normality and the darkness under my eyes, I was afraid. I did know it was time to leave, time to re-join society; that my work here was completed. I also knew I had to handle this doubt, so I threw on some clothes and walked the labyrinth; the same place I had left a prayer the day before asking God to "teach me how to give with abandon." I anxiously paced to the center, not even remembering the journey, then sunk onto one of the three stumps. Tears formed as I articulated my fear: that I could not possibly do this. What if I don't have the energy? What if I am too isolated? How do I build community? How and where do I ask for help? Why did you have to show me too much, this is scary? Of course, I constantly pray for clarity and I got it. Maybe too big of a chunk.
Through my tears, I looked to the entrance of the center, which began to waver and shimmer. Dejavu: I've seen that twice before in dreams and each time Jesus appeared. Jesus was present, visually almost imperceptibly, but there was no mistaking it. And his message was just as compelling:
Let me in; I am always here.
I will not give you more than
I am willing to assist
Go home, my child
and BE with this.
Come to me often and
this will all transpire.
You will be transformed.
Trust, love, give
I exited the labyrinth wet-eyed and in need of companionship. There was none. So, I packed up and, as I was schlepping compost to the bin, Elaine, the resident hermit/nun returned from the motherhouse. I knocked on her door and choked out an "I need to talk to someone." She invited me in, offered a listening ear, kind heart and tissues. Her summation was crystal: "Well, aren't you glad you got kicked off the mountaintop while you were still here and it was safe?"
• How have I experienced the transition from retreat to daily life?
• How have I learned to incorporate those divine experiences into my life?
• What prayer answer to doubt and fear have I ever been given?
• How do I experience the presence of God/Spirit or Jesus?
• Have I been called to share those experiences?
I have been held,
tightly, closely, protectively
yet I awake dark, fearful
and I am sent to the center
the safe place where my heart
can cry for an answer,
and I am rewarded, through
no achievement of my own,
with clear, loving wisdom
if only I can obey