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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Little Notes

Belshazzar Sees the Writing on the Wall - Rembrandt van Rij
I'm not trying to sound high and mighty, I'm not calling myself profound. I don't think that at all! But do you ever go backwards in your own writing, looking at a post or a journal entry of a spiritual 'aha!' moment? I look back, I read my own, and I get swept away, though I never know why I hunt them out to begin with. There is so much that seeps through those words and out to barrage my heart that its overwhelming!

The wisdom I'd forgotten, the peace I had been missing, the connection to something higher that is so incredibly elevated above the mundane surrounding me catches me off guard. It’s hard to pin where the surprise comes from, if supposedly I wrote it. It’s not like the inked thoughts are new, its not like God’s love has changed! Its not like the truth of Jesus Christ went missing and I somehow tracked it down by finding an old note! All that had happened, between having written and finally reading, was that *I* had walked away. 

And yet, when I finally get over the surprise, there is a terrible temptation towards conceit. "Aren't I brilliant? Wasn't I moving?" But... then I notice the tone I wrote in. I'm always writing with amazement! That same inexplicable surprise that grasped me as I re-read was already there when I wrote it: That hadn't been *my* wisdom, that was merely the telling of what I was told: This is what was whispered into my heart. Haven’t we been taught that it is not by our own power that we come to understand?

There were days when I could feel God within my heart, so huge and unending that I could not help but see him spilling out onto the page. That’s what those little notes are, and so that is what I am, a gossip of the spirit. That's all; digging eagerly into juicy, incredible rumors like "Jesus loves us" and "we are forgiven" and spewing them out into the world where they can entice one in. Over time, the dullness of the mundane, the dreary weight of sin covers up those invitations, like scrap paper stacks on a disorderly desk, and the feast is nearly forgotten.
When I stumble on them, its like the stacks are blown away, and the truth was left behind. They are more than rumors, they are very real invitations to be loved, to be forgiven! The joy and the wonderment comes from unworthiness, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive...!" Still, I never know why I find myself 'digging them out' of the clutter. I don't know why I find myself re-reading journal entries, but they re-open my heart to the truths I once opened my heart to. 
Return of the Prodigal Son - (more Rembrandt)
I remember crying once because I came across an old piece, a poem of adoration, while in a fit of depression. I found myself babbling to a friend how I couldn't identify with 'the author.' Somehow, though I had written it, I couldn't even comprehend the type of person who must have wielded the pen; I was so far removed from the ability to adore! The writer was in love, and loved, and to me it was unimaginable. The distress in my heart at this seeming duality of self (the deficit between the self that could adore and the self that could only mire) left me, for a while, feeling darker than ever. 
My friend gently told me to read my work again, reminded me that there were two speakers in the poem. It was indeed a poem in adoration of God, but halfway through the voices changed, and God spoke back, pouring out a song of love in return upon the adorer.... But in truth, it was the whole thing that was a song of love. The grand illusion of this little piece of good being from myself was shattered, and I fell into the goodness of God. 

I hadn’t recognize the author because this divine love song was written to me, no
t by me! When I read it and am overwhelmed, when I read it and am shocked by the depths of love within I am shocked into joy! I am no longer afraid of having ‘forgotten’ the me that wielded the pen, but am properly awed by the greatness of that Divine Lover. A love that’s not new, a love that hasn’t change, a love that never went missing to be somehow tracked down. 

That these little love letters and journals and poems that he leaves me in my heart are in writing and re-readable is incredible. I said I didn’t know what drove me to look for or re-read them, when I’ve somehow wandered off. But that isn’t true: Looking for them was the last illusion; it was He who tracked me. It is my Lord who leaves each little note here to lay traps for my heart, and I who am pursued.

Oil painting. A flamboyant scene in which an imploring woman is scanty clothing is carried unwillingly out to sea on the back of a large white bull with rolling eyes. They are pursued by a number of cupids.
Europa and the Bull - Titian

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