Finding my way back

Hey.  Remember me?

I’m not eeeeven going to try to explain where I’ve been or what’s been going on with me over the past “who knows how long?”.  Not now.  Maybe later.  Just not now.

What I will say is I just haven’t had the words to finish the sentences.  I start and I can’t finish. I feel it in my heart and I can conceptualize it in my mind, but somewhere between my brain and my heart and my fingertips, I go dark.

It’s been that way for months.

So I’ve had to let the words of others speak for me.  Reading the completed sentences of others have become my voice.  The wisdom of others has touched my soul and brought clarity to my thinking and healing to my wounds.

The scholarship and judgment and spiritual depth and common sense of others has become my voice…speaking to an intimate audience of one.  Me.

“That’s me!  That’s what I’m thinking.  That’s what I’m feeling.  Those words are shouting my pain…crying my confusion…clearing my path…declaring my faith!”  Man, am I grateful for the writings of others.

One of God’s gifts to me during this season of wandering is a guy I’ve never met and knew nothing about.  I stumbled on his writing late one night about six months ago, as I was reading another, more popular and well-known blogger.  I read just a little and I was hooked.

His name is Winn Collier and he’s a minister in a small church in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Yeah, that Charlottesville.  If you’re interested, you can read a little about him here.  One of these days, I’m going to write him and tell him how much his writing has meant to me on this leg of my journey.  Until then, I will continue to look forward to his next post.  And then his next…

Here’s a portion of what he wrote today.  It’s actually a letter he wrote to a friend of his. Carve out a few minutes of quiet and read his words and let them speak for you.  You’ll be better for it.

You know, though, how Charlottesville has been siphoning off so much of my energy in so many other ways lately. Our dear, broken town has been splayed across the news, and it’s not going away–last night CNN had a link to a livestream of our town’s City Council meeting–can you believe that? In the middle of Hurricanes and DACA breakdown and North Korea shooting nuclear missiles, there sits our town council with a lead-in from Wolf Blitzer.

John, I tell you, on August 12th, I experienced the most vile and vicious ways we degrade ourselves and others. I know racism and antisemitism is still very much with us, but I’ve never seen it bare its fangs– so brazen, without any twinge of conscience. And then, later, I stood between two groups of people spewing the most evil, dehumanizing words at one another. I will never forget that. Never. And though I would never want three people to die to be able to get to this point, I am grateful that now our wounds, festering so long, are in the open, that we simply cannot ignore them. I hope that now we can embrace serious national repentance. I hope that we can truly become brothers and sisters, that we can make communities where everyone truly belongs.

You talked about the “In-between”. I feel that all the time. I feel it, for instance, in trying to navigate how to live well in a time where we cycle from one crisis to the next, rarely without any moment to catch our breath or think deeply, certainly no time to think clearly. One downside (of many) to the 24-hour news cycle and firehose-style social media is that we are tempted to believe we can have (or should have) our finger and our mind on every issue, every crisis, every worthy concern. But we can’t. Only God can do that. If we think that we have no responsibility to engage the sorrows and injustices of our world, we need God to expand our heart. However, if we think that we are responsible to confront every sorrow and injustice of our world, we need God to chasten our bloated (and destructive) delusions.

Of course, for many of us, our overblown sense of responsibility comes from the shame blasted out from those who like to sound like God, only with a heap of self-righteousness poured on top. A long time ago, I gave up giving someone else that level of authority in my life. I’ve got my hands full trying to follow Jesus’ voice; I can’t tune in to the million-voice siren call on Facebook too.

All this reminds me of Ignatius who often signed off his letters with this inspiring jolt: Go set the world aflame! That’ll get the blood flowing, won’t it? We do need more people striking their match. However, Ignatius also regularly insisted on our need to foster a Holy Indifference. This Holy Indifference was Ignatius’ way of describing an abiding trust in God that keeps us from getting swept away in the emotions and demands of those things (and often good things) that simply take over more energy than they should. It’s not a call to apathy, not by any means. However, it is, as one writer put it,”peaceful acceptance, realistic expectations, and careful consideration.” If we have indifference but no flame, we’ll waste our life. And if we have the flame but no indifference, we’ll just burn, burn til there’s nothing playful or hopeful or curious left in us at all.

Beautiful.  Powerful.  Life-giving.  Words.  You can read the whole blog post here.

I have been completing more of my sentences these days.  Maybe you’ll get to start reading some of them again, soon.

Until then…


3 thoughts on “Finding my way back

  1. Thanks Mike- that was good. As for “wandering”, welcome to “maturity”, also known as “old age”. Been there for years. 🙂 frustrating, isn’t it? Larry

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