Wednesday, July 21, 2010

soaked in ancient peace

A deep baritone lament hung in the hollow of his silence. It reverberated through the timbre of his confused thoughts as he lifted the glass of whiskey to his lips. Alone, sitting soundly in his leather chair at a time when the rest of the world seemed fast asleep, he wondered where his life was going to take him. So many pressures, so many complications piled up all around him that he found it almost impossible to drive a wedge through to sunlight.

Today, he closed his shop for good. He never thought he'd see the day. Today, he left his passion on top of the last pile he swept up off the floor and when he walked through the door for the last time, he felt beaten down. Left without a map, he knew he was stepping into what felt like an abyss. Or maybe it was perdition......his soul felt detached from his body. Where had he gone wrong, he wondered for the thousandth time as he swallowed deeply? How had this happened?

Numbed, his only wish was to soften drink enough to drive his anger, his grief, his sorrow far enough away so that there was room to find a resting place where that ever evasive peace clung in the air. But, it seemed like that blue water tranquility was only a mirage. 

He hadn't felt relief in months. It showed in the dark circles under his eyes, in the haunting settled in his eyes. Others relied on him to be the provider, to be the anchor and here he was adrift, floating aimlessly in swift currents. Failure....failure.....he felt like a complete and utterly broken man. The only thing he could think of was escape. He wanted to run away.  But it wasn't an option.  Rock bottom and alone, he had to shore himself up to face the music.  "How," he thought........ "how am I going to tell me familly?  They rely on me.  They see me as the pillar of strength.  What an imposter I have been."

As he grabbed the bottle and poured himself another full tumbler, the night began to swallow him whole. His thoughts rushed together like a head on train crash. The sound, a combination of clashing cymbals and the high pitched of metal on metal brakes felt like it hit the front of the inside of his head with a wild cacophony of fear. Tinnitus of the spirit. It made him feel sick to his stomach. 
The only thing he could think of was to sit in the silence soaked in regret. There was nothing to look forward to in the morning.....nothing that couldn't be done on any other day. He felt so far removed from the rest of the world. The thought of seeing himself sitting on the sidelines while everyone else got up and went to work, school....destinations.....made him shiver.  

Open wounded raw alone.  Salt stinging bleeding.  Broken.

Lost in complete self-absorbed mourning, he neglected to hear  a person enter the room and turn on the stereo. Music began to play softly through the dark tunnel he was sitting in. It was a melodic comforting hymn which instead of disrupting his thoughts,  the soothingness invited him to fall into them. Through the echo of memory, he recognized the voice and the song....and could feel it's aural massage lifting him out of himself. His  breathing deepened to a calm. Instead of thinking of his situation, he wrapped  himself in the tune.  He allowed himself the luxury of surrendering those loud penetrating monsterthoughts to slip away........ 

He listened.........

Beside the garden walls,
We walk in haunts of ancient peace.
At night we rest and go to sleep
In haunts of ancient peace.

The love and light we seek,
The words we do not need to speak,
Here in this wondrous way we keep
These haunts of ancient peace.
Let us go there again
When we need some relief
Oh, when I can't find my feet
When I need rest and sleep.

The Sunday bells they chime
Around the countryside and towns
A song of harmony and rhyme
In haunts of ancient peace.
The holy grail we seek
On down by haunts of ancient peace.
We see the new Jerusalem
In haunts of ancient peace.

Oh, when I can't find my feet
Oh, when I need some relief
One more time again.
You know I want to go there one more time again.
Be still in haunts of ancient peace.

All of his defenses melted away.  The anger and fear which had been his companions for so long drifted away while weary fatigue peeled off the last layers of defense.  It was then that he recognized the man who had joined him in the room.  Though he had know way to block the man's entrance, he tried to pull himself up and out of the chair but found he couldn't.

"Be still," whispered the voice in the room. "Be still and let me sit with you. Let's share a glass of whiskey friend. You are not alone....."
The broken man leaned over and poured the stranger a glass and handed it to him in silence. When he looked up at him, even through the darkness, he could see the man's face.....saw a friendly smile, felt his calmness, saw the familiarity in his caring eyes. He took in the soft light which seemed to emanate kindness and love all around the stranger while he realized the encounter seemed like a natural happening, not an invasion of his home. Mysteriously, it felt like a meeting between two old friends. 

Without words, the broken man invited the stranger to sit down in the chair next to him, but the stranger chose to sit quietly on the rug in front of him. As the music played on like soothing bathwater pouring in the background, the stranger looked up right into the broken man's sad eyes and whispered....

"Tell me your sorrows.....let me help you carry them.  You are not alone."

The broken man began to weep.  Tears streamed like a river down his cheeks leaving the taste of salt on his lips as he poured out his heart in a confession riddled with the pain of failure.   Without saying a word, Jesus, leaned forward, put his hand on the man's knee and wept quietly too.

The words we do not need to speak,
Here in this wondrous way we keep
These haunts of ancient peace.
Let us go there again
When we need some relief
Oh, when I can't find my feet
When I need rest and sleep

When the man finished spilling out his heart, emptying the toxic fears from his soul, he heard Jesus reply,  "Be still........sorrows are the gateway to your enlightenment.  Sorrows strip away our ability to fight off the sober reality of failure.  It also takes us to a place where soul wrestling solitude needs to be affirmed.  Let it be.  Listen to God.  Seek true solitude."  

Jesus paused.  The waves which once crashed like cymbals in the silence inside the man began to calm.  Together they sat in quiet breathing.  Just breathing. 

"Stop and pray.  Be still. Stay silent.  Let go of the wordless thoughts....... Your night will soon turn to dawn. You are never alone when it is time to face your haunts.  Together we will seek out the healing soaked in ancient peace.  I am here in your solitude."

ps. the lyrics and song by Van Morrison...a hymn which always helps me find my own stillness


Hamid said...

You are one great lady except that I can not see any pictures of yours due to somnekind of internet blockages. And I am not a promoter of Johnny Walker either!

awareness said...

Hamid. I'm sorry you arent able to see the photos. Thank you for visiting. Peace to you.