Sometimes it seems as if I’m walking on parallel paths, and that’s why I get so confused, trying to figure out where I am and who I am and where I want to go…
Maybe it doesn’t have to be just one. Maybe it can’t be more than one.
One path I’m on is the PhD application; literature, language, words, which I love, which I’m passionate about. Education. Feminism. Challenging the status quo of ignorance and oppressive mindsets. Intellectual freedom, space, exploration, understanding. Deeply satisfying, deeply desirable, unlimited scope for discovery and achievement.
The other path is prayer. Silence. Contemplation. Adoration. Communion, life in God. This relationship, the one that is free and safe and trustworthy and beautiful. The one that can’t be taken away from me. Grace. Pilgrimage. The heart. Finding this for myself. Creating places for others where they can find it too. Here is where my heart learned to speak.
And then there is imagination, metaphors, colours, images, textures, creation, dance. This is where I am most myself. This is where I let go of all the inner censors, of all the rest, of fear even, in rare moments that I treasure. It’s where I’m most vulnerable, most open, most at risk. This is my holy place. I don’t come here very often. But it’s what I really care about. This may also be the bridge between the other two paths.
And the question is: how do I live all of these? Or any? Do I have to choose? How will I make sense of this?
I have tried to decide for one or the other, and I cannot. They are all essential to me. What kind of life can I build from that?
Focusing on the mind, on intellectual pursuits, I feel the danger of ending up alone, isolated, losing my connection to people.
And the creative path seems like that too. Fear of being different. Same effect – isolation. Being different is not a good thing where I come from.
And these may be irrational fears, taught fears. I know that. I still feel them. They still feel real.
On the ‘faith path’, I feel the danger of becoming too restricted by church or community, too overwhelmed with the needs of others, and, in religious life or ministry, with little freedom to follow what is right for me without being ‘directed’ into what is right/ convenient/ needed for others. Claustrophobic. Suffocating. I need space. I need open doors. And I really don’t need other people telling me what my ‘religious experience’ should be. What I should feel. What my relationship with God should be. I’m more than a little ‘burned’ in relation to church. Too many guilt trips. Too much shame and blame. Too much conditional love. And these too may be irrational fears. They were true once and might not be true anymore.
I’m trying to find a way to the other side of all these fears, to a place from where I can see things for what they really are.
Right here where I am, my fears seem to bind me, hold me, and I don’t know how to free myself, how I can cut the chains or how to let go, so I can go ahead and live, whatever shape of life I may arrive in.
And it’s not all up to me. I do the work I can. I really try. And I need to give myself some credit for that. And then? Let it go. Stuff is given...
There are things I can’t control. There are things I can’t do for myself. What is needed will be given. And I’ve got to accept that I can’t be in control of everything that happens with me. The voice of fear. But God is good. It’s okay to trust. And She will remind me, She doesn’t mind showing me, again, again, whenever it’s needed. I’m safe here.
So I do what I can do. I keep walking. I keep doing the work. And from time to time, I rest. I trust She will open doors when the time has come to walk on, in a direction where all I could see until then was a brick wall.
And I don’t need to know when or where I will arrive.
What I do need to know is that I’m not alone.
I may only have a very tiny idea of who I am and what I do and who I believe is with me, but that little is enough.
That’s always what it comes down to.
The little I believe is enough.