Comforting Words: Wilderness Journal

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wilderness Journal

A woman came to visit me this afternoon. I have ‘known’ her for just over a year now and quite frankly we did not get on particularly well. We were too much alike in more ways than one yet so different and those differences got in the way of us really relating.

This afternoon, Sunday, October 22, 2006, we spent what I would describe as the best two hours we have ever shared – and neither of us had to change who we essentially are to do that. What happened, however, was that we shared our lives – as much as one can in such a short time – our hearts touched and not only were we both moved to tears but we went to our core(s).

In doing that, touching the core, this tall no-nonsense member of my faith community did for me what Jesus did for the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. Here is the story from Mark 10: 46 - 52:

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher,* let me see again.’ 52Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

One of the defining moments in my early spiritual quest was hearing the televangelist, Joyce Meyer, say, “Make your mess your message.” Ever since that day, I committed myself to always proclaim my mess in a truthful and open fashion even when it is dirty and painful. This blog came about as part of that mission, hoping that by “making my mess my message,” I will help even one “as I go along, then my living would not be in vain.”

Through one simple enough word, “dysfunctional”, Miss T helped me to see again. As she said it, a street lamp, not a simple light bulb, went off in my head casting its light through my heart. What I will do with that insight and all the others that the many people over the last two weeks have helped me ease into my resistant heart, is to intentionally put myself through a process that examines all aspects of who I think I am called to be and who I have been.

I am calling this my “Finding Wisdom in the Wilderness Journal” and will publish the insights from my exploration over forty days – the same number that features prominently in the story of the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from bondage by the Egyptians.

These insights will come from my daily walks with my dog, my professional life, my alone time (this should be quite a bit now, haha), my time with the psychologist and from my conversations with just about anyone (please don’t stop talking with me in fear of it being posted!).

They will also come from things that I notice around me, from my ‘being in the now’, from the meals that I have or do not have, from my health condition and visits to the doctor or pharmacy and from the weather. Basically, they will come from any and everything that enters my life over the next forty days, beginning today.

The Buddhists, I believe, calls this mindfulness – that is what I will be doing – being ever more mindful in all my relating and relationships so that I can ‘get it’, be just that further along the healing journey that is so necessary for me right now and for any one who has or is experiencing the kind of emotional trauma I recently did.

Now, let me say this clearly - it is not my intention to focus on my ex-partner, albeit issues will be mentioned that have their roots in our 16-year relationship. The focus will squarely be on me and my journey through this Wilderness of Healing.

Also, I do not expect to be ‘healed’ per se at the end of Day 40 but I do anticipate movement in my perception(s), hopefully a paradigm shift and an end to the suicide ideations that still plague me causing panic attacks. I hope to not only cry spontaneously as I have been doing but genuinely laugh from my belly bottom. Most of all, it is my deepest desire to be walking even that much closer with the Spirit – in which we all move and have our beings.

During my Clinical Pastoral Education training, I articulated that my personhood is lived from four dimensions. Again, the number here, four, has significance. This time the insights come from Native American spirituality with the four Cardinal directions on the medicine wheel and the four Sacred Colours. The Center of the Circle on the medicine wheel is the Eternal Fire.

Every morning, as I did this morning, I envision myself standing at the Center of the Circle – the Eternal Fire. That is my daily starting point – in surrender to the Fire allowing it to burn off any falsehood that I am cloaked in and leaving me free to move into the direction(s) for the day.

Four is also symbolic of the aspects of my being. I try to live, think, speak, do and be out of my four dimensions that I named as my 4P’s:

  1. My Personal

  2. My Pastoral

  3. My Professional

  4. My Political

So, over the next forty days, beginning tomorrow, I will share excerpts, the insights and “lessons learned’ from my “Finding Wisdom in the Wilderness Journal.” My hope is that you or any one that you know who is going through or has gone through a traumatic experience, particularly a divorce or end of a long-term relationship, might find some help from it. Additionally, writing truly clarifies things for me and so once something sinks in my brain, when I ‘get it’, putting it down on ‘paper’ helps me to live it, make it happen and modify where necessary.

I hope and trust that it will help at least one other. So, until tomorrow…




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