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.