Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, February 7, 2020

Do not be afraid

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
                                                   Corrie Ten Boom

“I've spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won't leave, and fearing that it's a matter of time before they figure me out and go.”
                                                    Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

“A psychiatrist once told me early in treatment, “Stop trying to make me like you,” and what a sobering and welcome smack in the face that statement was. Yet somehow, every day of my life is still a campaign for popularity, or better yet, a crowded funeral.”
                                                    John Waters

I don’t know when it started
this endless litany in my skull

you are not enough
you are not enough
no matter what you do it will not be enough

but I cannot remember a time when my stomach did not hurt
and each day
as life assailed me

I chewed an anti-acid
Even my grade school body
Revealing my anxiety

I know I wanted to please
I know I wanted to be liked

And the judges were out there
Real and imagined
My father
My classmates

That cute girl in 7th grade math

And soon my life became
A test

Of value
Of worth

An examination in worthiness

And all too often
I failed

Not perhaps in other’s eyes
But always in my one

Do they like me?
Am I “in”?
Will she admire me?
Will he respect me?

And life was shaped
by my attempts to be
what I thought others wanted me to be…

and the voice in the head
that bully brain
continued the refrain…

“how am I doing?”

And still today
As I write my blog
Or give a sermon
Or work with a Mental Health client

I worry
And I want to make everyone happy

Just try that these days !!!

I suspect there is plenty of evidence I do just fine
but then that comment comes

and it all floods in
the doubt,
the anxiety,
the pain
that I carry, carry, carry
in the aging body

and still at 68
as at 8
my stomach hurts
and my heart hurts

and I am haunted
by failures real and imagined

and then there is nothing to do
but to turn to the One
who always loves
always accepts
always sees me as a precious soul

there is nothing to do but to breathe
and sink into the depths
where love lives

and in that deep place seek God, and seek, perhaps myself
St. Francis of Assisi would spend whole nights praying “Who are you, my most dear God, and who am I . . . ?”

It is a good question

But who God is love

And in that love one experiences
the absolute safety of God
one finds a God who is “always and forever larger than we expected” (Rohr)

and in that Sacred space, one finds one’s True Self,

I have become a fan of self-compassion
And there are standard phrases (metta phrases)

But here is mine

“As I wander deep within
May I find myself again
In the context of Sacred love
May my body be healed
May my mind be healed
May my heart be healed
May my soul be healed
May I be at peace”

It is in those moments when I find that peace
That I can quit trying so hard to please
Quit trying to make people like me

And just be

An agent of reconciliation
So that others
Do not have to be afraid

And do not have to wonder

Am I enough?

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