Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Way




We are in the midst of the holiest week in the Christian year, and I wish I could report  how transformed I feel after such an amazing journey and  how much I've learned and how now I am closer to God than ever before. 

And in a way, that's all true.

But in this moment right now?   I just feel...tired.  And maybe a little disappointed.

So never being one to let a freshly crusted scab just heal, I picked away at this disappointment a bit as I walked my dog this gloriously beautiful morning. I was trying to get to the bottom of why --on such a special week, after weeks of soul searching and opening my mind and celebrating the Spirit within me-- I am Just. Not. Feeling. It.   

Of course there are many reasons why I'm sure.  For starters, as part of my newly found Self Love I'm back to taking better care of myself by exercising more and this means that I am also more tired from those daily (though nearly invisible) physical transformations.  But I think I'm also spiritually, emotionally, and mentally  tired because, after all... that's where most of the transformational journey has occurred! 

Ideally I would like to just be able to sit here and reflect upon how this journey has brought about some new understandings, and how I have changed, and how I have grown, and how I have been transformed, but instead all I keep thinking about is how  most of those changes  took place in the first two or three weeks of Lent, and then for the next few weeks I was just able to BE.  And how now, in the holiest of weeks, I am left feeling a bit like something is...lacking  And how, just as the journey is reaching its climax... I am SO ready to be done with it.

Then it occurred to me that I am in good company!  If you're familiar at all with Mark's Gospel account of the struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane leading up to Jesus' arrest as he is betrayed by Judas, you will note that something keeps happening there:  Jesus asks repeatedly for the apostles to stay with him and pray with him in these most important final hours...but the apostles don't listen.  They either leave or fall asleep!

Now today we may read this story and  think how differently we'd behave knowing what we know now.  But what I find more interesting is what the Gospel is really saying here about our fallen human state:  that despite our best efforts,


we cannot do on our own, what God must do through us.


You see, I realized that this Holy week is when I'd like to take the time to remember and live out all that I have learned and recorded here in Blogville:

to breathe,

to open my eyes,  

to hang on,  

to let go,

to pray through everything,

to give myself up,

to love myself,

to get out of God's way,

to get behind God,

to go the distance,

to help others when I can,

to forgive myself when I don't.

But in the middle of my struggle to make this great list of all these things I've learned... there was a tug on my heart that gave me pause.  And my heart told me to look at the list I was making again.

And that's when I saw it. 

Yep.  There's a problem all right.  You know what the problem is? 

Whether I like it or not, this list I'm making is all about me:

What I've learned. 

What I've written about. 

What I *know.*

How I want to celebrate Holy week.


And I smile then, because I'm reminded (again!) that despite my every effort to make my life more meaningful, more relevant, more *just right,* I end up only making it more difficult, more disappointing and more... exhausting.  I also smile because I'm reminded (again!) that it is only when we don't listen to what God has written on our hearts the first time, (or the second or the third), that our peaceful life becomes a struggle.

This is why for Christians, Jesus is such an important guide.  Because he is always The Way to get us back to God.

So that's when I went looking to see just what it was Jesus asked of the apostles the very FIRST time in the garden.  Because I knew that when I found it, I would *know* what I should do this week.  And as my eyes scanned the pages trying to find that first request I was beginning to feel the thrill of the drama of this holiest of weeks and I was finally getting INTO it!  I was betting myself that the request would be to either "stay awake"  or to "stand guard" and I was ready to roll up my sleeves and give it a shot.  I was going to do what all the other apostles had failed to do!  I mean, I was all fired up and ready to not just stare down evil, but to punch it square in the face! 


Which is why  I can't even tell you how shocked I was when I traced my way back to his very first request.  I SWEAR I'd never seen it before.   (I mean the nerve of This Guy when I had plans for something so much bigger!)  But I'd told myself I'd do whatever it was He asked.  I just couldn't believe it would be this:




... he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

Mark 14:32 (NAB)



Which is why I'm sitting here now humbled and in tears, falling in love all over again. 


And why I was reminded (again) that while I believe and respect that there are many ways to God... Jesus is still The Way for me. 

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