Thursday, February 02, 2012

Seeking the still small voice of love.......

Wandering with and without the knowledge of where I was planting my feet, I continued to seek out a stillness inside that lasts for more than a mere thread of serenity. 

I still am a seeker, though the challenges I have been surrounded by have certainly created dark craters of doubt and fear. Of thin air anxieties and tears.   I keep falling into them.

Then, I find myself climbing up and out only to find a beacon flickering warm light to guide me back to safe ground.  Moments pass, the light goes out and the ground beneath me trembles again. I slide down an embankment only to begin seeking another thread of serenity in the dark.  I always find it, but sometimes its really hard to do. 

Why is this such a driving force?  We need the nurturing of stillness.  We need those morsels of serenity to feed our faith or we would lose our minds!  It is when I feel the calming awareness of a lingering essence of serenity that I am reminded to let life undulate like my river's mid-summer pace.  It is when I can let go of the chatter, the scraping noises of anxiety and just be.

At peace. 

Nestled in the holy space where God's love dwells.....where joy sits in contented gladness patiently waiting to be chosen, the words I long to write again dwell too.   They are there, waiting for me to absorb all that I am to learn this winter.

While this hibernation full of thoughts and feelings continues to feed my belief that there is a reason for this season of challenges, not only for me, but for many people around me, I return to the inspirational words of Henri Nouwen.  Food for the soul.  Bread for the journey.  Of all the faith based authors I have read over the years, Nouwen's work has been my most important guide.  The topics I have chosen to share on this blog often derived from my thoughts after reading one of his pieces.  

Serendipitously, I was redirected back to Nouwen's books by an engaging Priest who delivered a sermon last Sunday night on seeking stillness from anxiety through meditative prayer.  Father Brennan shared a story about wrestling with his own late night doubts that steal away inner calm, as well as this passage from Nouwen's daily comtemplative book, Bread for the Journey: 

The Still, Small Voice of Love

Many voices ask for our attention.  There is a voice that says, "Prove that you are a good person." Another voice says, "You'd better be ashamed of yourself." There also is a voice that says "Nobody really cares about you," and one that says, "Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful."  But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still small voice that says, "You are my Beloved, my favour rests on you."  That's the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence and a strong determination to listen.
That's what prayer is.  It is listening to the voice that calls us "my Beloved."

It was a last minute choice to attend Mass at St. Dunstan's last Sunday night.  Invited by a dear friend who has been a wonderful companion on this breast cancer journey with me from the beginning, I went seeking some kind of stillness after an emotionally full day trying to help and support friends who were going through a family crisis.  I went with a brain and a heart tired from the anxieties I had been harbouring for months over trying to deal with my health fears.  

I went into the church emptied of energy, heavy with responsibilities as a Mom, a homeowner, a friend, a human being who seems to be juggling a variety of issues all at once.......... and about to topple over.....  I went into that service in hopes of touching that Hand of God we cannot see, but can FEEL.  With gladness returning, I stepped out into the night softened by the messages I absorbed, lightened by the lifting of the noises that had crowded out that irrepressible still small voice of love.  The urge to write again has been stirred.  The words are feather touching my fingertips again.

I am listening. I am receiving.  I am learning more about myself and the world around me than ever before.  I am storing all of the experiences I am encountering knowing this is a season of discomfort.   Craters of doubt will appear out of nowhere.   Fears will drum up the noises again and again,. But I have been reminded that I still have the ability to silence them too.  I still have the ability to be touched by that small voice of comfort.   Beautiful!

Thank you Father Brennan.  Your message reached me sitting in the last pew.  Henri Nouwen's book will once again travel with me. 


Shaz said...

Your words are always delivered with such Grace and they always touch me. Im so glad I found u all those years ago u r a shining light for everyone who has been blessed to know you xxx

Sheila Frame said...

You are a gifted writer and a great teacher...keep up the great "work". Your life journey is meant to be shared -- love you...

awareness said...

Shaz, thank you. It was a moment of Grace that stirred the words again. I too am glad we are connected at the heart...... from the Great White North to Aussieland. What a gift blogging has been eh? :)

Sheila, thank you! Writing is my vice! Gotta get through this stuff and let it flow again freely! :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely words to take me into the weekend.... "centered at peace" ... I hope to be! Glad you are "back".

Cindy BB said...

Oops, forgot to put my name in the previous post ....

awareness said...

Hi Cindy!
I'm getting there!! I've had 5 radiation treatments so far as of today. 11 to go. Its a bit of a grind driving to and from Saint John every day, but I have remarkable travelling companions. Good conversations on the way there and more quiet time on the way back.
I'm tired, but in good shape. Hopefully I can write more posts this weekend.

Thanks. xxx

Selma said...

I have been thinking of you lately, Dana. Hope your treatments aren't too stressful right now.

You are a beautiful writer. Really and truly.

awareness said...

Hi Selma! Good to see you here! I'm doing well. Lots of love and support around me as I get through these treatments. 6 down, 10 to go! Not too bad. Just a surge of radiation.... a 30 second zap and I'm done for the day. I have to drive 3 hours (total there and back) to the hospital where they have the equipment, so its been imperative that I have someone with me for the drive home because I'm kind of spacey afterwards. Radiation treatments should be done by Feb 21rst and then I hope to get back to work asap!
ps. The radiation is really insurance!

Brandon K.Carr said...

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deborah ~ Westlander Poetry said...

I've been out of the blogging loop as of late and your words of struggle, hope, grace and faith were like coming home again.

Sending you blessings, peace & friendship.


Marja said...

Beautiful words Wish you all the peace and serenity in the world. Kia Kaha (stay strong) You are in my thoughts

Relyn said...

I appreciated this honest, open-hearted post.

Regina said...

I stumbled upon your blog by happy chance and I am so glad I did!
You write beautifully and your life is truly inspiring.
I look forward to reading more updates and walking this virtual journey of healing together with you.
Take care.
Love, laughter and blessings

Robert said...

O Dana- just clicked on my link to you to stop by and had nit known what you are going through. I echo all the words expressed by the ladies before me as well as to say what a joy it has been to follow along with you on and off while blogging. Your health issues speak to me about ones i have with my heart sweet friend. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing, it provides so much as do you!!!

awareness said...

Thank you for all your love and support everyone! My fingers have been so silent. I guess I needed time to inhale rather than exhale. :) Lots of stories percolating. Many words merging.....

I'm back at work today. It has been a strange, frightening and at times hilarious journey. What a mind flipper!


Brother David said...

In the quietness of the of the moment; thinking of you.
You will be surprised to hear I finished chapter 4 of my book.

logical said...

beatiful silence we hear the loudest voices lessons and instructions that are delivered with the voice of love filled with the tone of grace and dressed in compassion truly when we seek the truth and become determined to radiate light in the world so much gifts reveal themselves.