It Still Hurts (sometimes)…

Chicago, from Jonathan's Boat

Chicago, from Jonathan’s Boat

I know I was supposed to start this series on Jesus today, but I decided to wait another day or two…

So today, I lost my center. I’d been a little a over the place all day, but what sent me (at least briefly) over the edge was a simple text from a good friend in Chicago. He just asked me how I was doing, and caught me up in his life (including this totally unfair shot from his boat on Lake Michigan).

Almost in an instant I was swamped with the practically physical pain of loss from my life in Chicago. It’s a pain I knew really well for about two years, from 2006 to 2008. During that time, I thought of my life in terms of some kind of giant joke that God was playing on me. So much of who I thought I appeared to be taken from me, and very little was given back.

It took years to work through those feelings; to begin to accept my life in Tallahassee for what it was/is, and to begin to see good things grow up around me.

But in that instant, those things were shaken, and I was transported back to that place 4-5 years ago.

It wasn’t pleasant; in fact it was almost strange and surreal to feel the (once normal) feelings of pain, loss, regret and hopelessness.

But some things have changed since then.

After a lengthy battle with those demons, I gradually developed some healthy spiritual practices that remind me of the truth of my life.

(It’s much, much too easy to believe the lies…)

Centering, contemplative prayer (I’m still a novice, believe me), meditation and praying the Daily Office have slowly begun to transform me; it’s easier now to remember that those feelings of homesickness for Chicago may be valid, but are simply not the whole truth of who I am.

There is a deeper truth to my being (and to yours as well). That truth is mostly covered up and obscured by a lifetime of lies and pain and mistakes, but it is still there.

However, most of the time it won’t influence our lives unless we do some kind of work to get out of its way. We layer our own false selves—Brennan Manning’s “Impostor”—on top of that truth and bury its life-giving breath underneath the heavy fabric of pride and arrogance.

We need, as I’ve discovered, practices that silence those unhealthy, false voices and let the voice of God, of Love, of Jesus whisper through.

And over time, day-to-day, minute-to-minute, moment-by-moment, we begin to recover that true self that is centered and rooted in God’s love and power.

At peace.

At rest.

In Tallahassee (or wherever).



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