“And Stillness the Dancing”

On Sunday 27th May, I was all set to go to Ignite in Blackrock, followed by lunch with my dear friend Grace.  However, I seemed to be faffing around rather than getting ready.  Eventually, I succumbed to my inner voice to do my prayer-time before leaving.

I opened my Jesus Calling and read the page for the day.  It said: “Every person…faces gaping jaws of uncertainty. The only antidote to this poisonous threat is drawing closer to me”. It was like a key was placed into my heart and out tumbled its contents and I knew that I had to sit with the Lord and stay put.  Once the ‘tumbling’ had passed, my friend Grace happened to ring unexpectedly and came over to me later that morning.

During the intervening period, I was prompted to open my Scripture which just happened to be Matthew 14:28.  My eyes fell on the words: “Courage, it is I”. These little words stunned me into Silence before I could even read the next line. I eventually read on with Peter asking the Lord to walk across the water. Jesus replied: “Come”. Again, I was hushed into Silence after which I reflected on the lyrics of “You call me out upon the water”. I once again went back to the passage and read the concluding comment made by Jesus: “Why did you doubt?”.  Again Silence, as that question reverberated deep in my heart.

I finished my prayer-time and the smiled wryly to myself, when I realised that symbolically I had spent my morning, not in Ignite in Blackrock followed by Grace, but rather me on the “black-rock” with Grace meeting me where I was at and from such an encounter, I was Ignited!

The depth of teaching that morning showed me how I had been grabbing on to my natural basic needs for security.  However, I also had made assumptions, that my new start-up would be up and running by now and as it was not, fear ensued, with plenty of “what if…”!

This prayer-time enabled me to see the subtlety of my attachments, attachments that I was now been asked to let go – especially around finances.  I was also reminded that it’s the Lord’s breath which holds me, empowers me, enables me and all in His time. This prayer-time enabled me to “touch the truth beneath my fear.”[1]  It concluded with a little reading from 1 Peter 4:2-3: “because for the rest of (my) life… (I am) not ruled by human passions but only the will of God”.

I met with my Spiritual Director during the week and relayed to her the movement of God in my life since our last session. She gave me this beautiful little teaching.  She pointed out that in order for Eve to take the apple off the tree, she had first to grab hold of it.  Fast-forwarding to Jesus’ meeting with Mary Magdalene in John 20:17, he says: “Mary don’t cling to me”.  Then in Philippians 2:6 “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God”.

And there it was, in all our attitudes and actions, we are called to be open to receive but not to cling.

I left my Spiritual Director peaceful, aware that I had feared the “impending collision of my vocation and survival”[2] with my survival fears distracting me from my vocational calling.

I realised that the security that I had thought I had lost was restored and was now far deeper and wider than the material one to which I had been clinging! I then remembered Psalm 18: “Thou did give a wide space for my feet and they did not slip” (Ps 18:28).

I would like to conclude this blog with a beautiful verse by T.S. Eliot. In it, he provides an imperative to the soul to stay receptive, and open, avoiding the subtlety of attachment but rather, embracing the Wisdom that only stillness brings. This is the Wisdom required during an ongoing process of waiting between the “now” and the “not yet”:

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope

 for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong

thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So, the darkness

shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”[3]

 

[1] Palmer, Parker. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004) 131.

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/28570-i-said-to-my-soul-be-still-and-wait-without

Theme photo by Максим Степаненко on Unsplash

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