Friday, 24 December 2010

Lighting up time

Three other people, regarded as friends for life, are equally essential to my spiritual stability as is the person to whom I have recently written. They have lived, and still do, within easy reach and within the same parish, though I no longer regularly attend the same church. One of them has always been the safest hands I know, but I have so far been unable to sum up the others in equally definite and all-encompassing ways. But – and it is a ‘but’ that has run through many years of my life – I have almost no contact whatsoever with any of them. That has always felt so wrong to me, but it has also seemed that it was meant to be, as there has never been any definite sign of my felt need for their company, support and reassurance being felt in the opposite direction.
Months ago I saw two of them at a talk on Cardinal Newman, where I spoke with one of them for a while, and was later greeted by the other. We too spoke, about a close family member who is no longer able to live at home. That news created an instant urge to be available if I should be needed at any time, and that has continued undiminished; but what struck me with even more force, and left me with forms of both joy and pain which also have stayed with me ever since, were her first three words on seeing me: - “We miss you.” In several ways those words enfolded me as the loveliest, and the most powerful thing anyone had said to me for a long time. But where, if anywhere, might they lead me? If I continue waiting for others to approach me with the questions I long for them to ask rather than making my thoughts known without invitation, I shall probably be standing in the same place this time next year. That would disappoint and even depress me; and I can already sense that the considerable concern arising from that situation would push me back deeper into the shell from which I have spent so long attempting to emerge.
The purity of purpose which constantly calls me back to them, is strangely sensed in a deepening awareness of the vulnerability into which Christ came as the new-born infant depicted in crib scenes in our homes and churches at this time of year. We are all being called to allow ourselves to become vulnerable in His presence, and through the untangling of my own words in the previous post as well as above, I have brought myself within earshot of His call to vulnerability in the presence of those who have led me to him. I am continually called to fellowship with Him through their own presence in my life: they have always clearly and consistently conveyed to me their bringing of Christ to any table around which we might meet. And yet, I still fear making any approach; even after being blessed by the potential invitation contained in those three words: "We miss you." If I am missed by those with whom I long to have more contact, what can possibly hold me back? I have searched through all that could have distanced them from me, and, while not knowing their thoughts and feelings, I am well aware of my own; there is nothing which would keep me from them. Nor should there be if all of us are the people I have taken us to be. I am therefore left with only the one possibility, and I am almost afraid to admit it even to myself. I am afraid of being rejected by them. I would sooner continue in the unsatisfactory state in which I find myself than discover, without doubt, that they do not wish me to approach them more closely and more frequently.
But now, on the eve of Christmas, the infant in the crib is before me again. Does He suggest that I should stay away from Him? That any of us should do anything other than approach even closer than we dare? Such questions should never need to be asked. He draws us ever closer to Himself, and purity of purpose will take us all the way to His side where we begin to share in the power of His innocence, and in the brilliance of His light as it pours forth into the world. Emmanuel: God with us. No less.
Do I really need anything more? In reality, no; but in my continuing frailty and uncertainty - yes. I need the support and discernment that I shall find only by moving in from the edge: by becoming a more visible and less isolated speck within His Church. I long for His presence in others as company on my journey, and I have taken a very long way round to the realization that in ending my previous post with, 'We have need of each other', I was striving - through the workings of His Spirit - to get that very message through to myself.
God is with us, and we bring His presence to life for each other in our coming together.
May Christmas be a time of peace and knowing, and of sharing in His light for each of us.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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