Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Lenten pilgrimage -- living in the threshold, right on the edge
The week in our Lenten pilgrimage when we walked with Moses and Miriam to the threshold of life after Egypt, I explored my own places where I've stood in a threshold, or on an edge or precipice, in recent years. Hard places, challenging places, places of joy. All places of passage and change and so much expense of energy--the energy of love. There are a lot of them, and for some time now I have been reeling with the weariness of my aging body and mind, my overstretched resilience. This week's prayer was nourishing.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; ... struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. ... Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. ... So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:7-18.
Yes, we live on the edge. So many thresholds crossed in recent years. Both parents walked to the threshold of death and I held their hands as they passed. So much elder-care lead up to those journeys, all while I lived half a world away. Our children courted and married and departed, and a grandchild was born. Our family of four scattered to four continents, Curt and I at work and more apart than together for 10 years. A year ago we crossed the threshold into retirement. I studied and enter a new ministry of spiritual direction. I spearheaded three international moves, three major house renovation projects, and the beginnings of a new ministry. We have a new language to learn. We live in a place where we alone are believers. And last May I went through a life-threatening health crisis that robbed my strength and even more of my resilience.
I keep repeating it. Perhaps because I myself need to acknowledge and embrace it. I am oh-so-weary. Something I find difficult to own, or to be hospitable toward. Today (I wrote this two weeks ago), three contemplative guests dwell with us and more inquire about coming; workers build walls and stone floors of an addition to our house, a local "grandchild" of five years comes and we will make cheesecake together--in Turkish. Paperwork falls behind, meals need preparing, guests need our holy listening, builders need my attention and affirmation and humor. While my body longs for bed.
Yet as I've prayed this week, I find myself more able to embrace the many thresholds of recent years, perhaps more able to receive that they have cracked and bruised me more than I've wanted to credit. Immense grace to acknowledge this and to embrace the weariness with growing equanimity. Even with a measure of joy. To be willing, even, to BE the threshold in this Spa for the Soul, as well as to rest in my personal borderlands.