"However. I'm also coming to the realization that I am not up to the task of living at the center of my own life. I'm like a half-drunk but well-intentioned gardener, meandering around my own life, trying to clip the dead branches and weed around the flower beds, but the alcohol is doing its thing, and I can't make heads or tails of which is a weed and which a flower.
On Sunday I went to the local Episcopal church, and it was better than before, thanks be to God. I drank in all the Scripture, especially, and the prayers too, and the holy acts of standing, sitting, kneeling.
When I came forward for communion and knelt at the rail, I began to pray the prayer I always pray during that moment, which is the prayer of St. Francis. The prayer begins, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace," which I prayed. Then the prayer continues, "Where there is hatred, let me sow love," but as the words formed in me, I realized that I am not up to the task of sowing love, neither in myself nor in the world. I can't even be depended on to adequately sow flowers, much less love. I realized how dependent, how frail and unsteady, I am. I realized that if any growing, any loving, any watering, any creating, is going to get done, it isn't going to get done by willpower or by guiltpower or by the fear of looking stupid or getting it wrong. It is going to be something done in me, through me, by means of what the ten-cent-word people call grace. And so I prayed, "Where there is hatred, sow in me love. Where there is despair, sow in me hope. Where there is injury, sow in me pardon."
...May God be present to you, and to us, in weakness, through fragility, in the midst of all the ways we do not get it right. May we understand and be grateful for the gift of failure, for it is the seed of compassion, seeking good soil. May God pray in us, and draw us into prayer, deeper into Love. O God, come to our assistance. O Lord, make speed to save us. Amen."
I have to repeat this line, since it resonates so deep with me;
"May we understand and be grateful for the gift of failure, for it is the seed of compassion, seeking good soil."
* * * *
May I be more willing to fail, and may I see it not as the end of the world, but the softening of my heart before the suffering world...
all of my fears are fears of failure. All of them.
My greatest harm, my biggest mistakes, my worst failures, all revolved around fear. Fear of failure.
Why is always all about me, in my head?
When will I feel peaceful? Consistently peaceful?
For as long as I can remember I have felt that, at some point, people 'grow up,' they figure out life, and they know everything. They have wisdom and act upon it. They know what is best and they do it. And I've been wondering, subtly, in the back of my head, for years...'When will I reach that place? That grown up place where I know the answers, I have life figured out, and I am wise?'
I am laughing now, as I write this. There is no grown up place. There is no easy ride. I think I am learning to resign myself to the fact that I will always be learning more, growing more, developing a sense of who I am and how I operate and how to go forth in the world, until the day I die. And then I will meet God face to face and learn more.
Every year there will be epiphanies. There will be growths. There will be failures. If I could learn to do failure with a sense of grace towards myself, with a willingness to let myself be the child that I am and make childish mistakes, I would feel remarkable peace.
In my familiy of origin I have a peacemaking role. I am the peacemaker, who makes few waves. Who pleases people, for peace. Who makes herself invisible when there is conflict, in order not to contribute to conflict [oddly enough, this would not be the role anyone in my family would pinpoint as mine without some major convincing and prompting. Doesn't that mean I am really good at my role? So good, no one notices me performing it? It also means that when i was a teenager this was decidedly NOT my role]. But in creating outward peace I internalize all sorts of rumpled, disheveled conflicting emotions, and I isolate myself.
We run towards that which we THINK will bring us peace, but it does not. When will we learn? I suppose when we are face to face with God.
I'm learning, to be a lifelong work in progress. And to be okay with that.
I haven't the strength to learn it, myself. To find peace, myself. To grow, to forgive, to sow love, hope, or pardon. Instead, I must open up, let go, release, and receive. Allow God to sow in me love, hope, and pardon.
Thank you, Jesus, for being the type of God who wishes to sow in me good, and calm my rumpled disheveledness.
There is no dark place I can go where God is not present.
Thanks, Tamie. I quoted you briefly, but I hope I caught some of the essence of what you had to say.