Friday, April 30, 2010

Rest In This, Daughter, And Know You Are Loved

This last week has been a time of thought and contemplation for me.

It seems like so many things are tying themselves together from past conversations into a present learning experience, which is both incredibly cool and extremely difficult to accept at the same time.

Months ago I had a conversation with one of my best girlfriends about the human relationship with God. She had just come back from a retreat where she was surrounded by artists who wanted to figure out how their faith fit into their art, and what she had to share with me blew my mind, to the point where I don't think it's really been able to absorb the heart-knowledge until now, and even now it's only just starting.

What she said was this: that we relate to God as either slaves or orphans, or on a good day, as sons (or daughters).

Slaves feel that they need to earn their keep, their love, their place in God's eyes. It's all about work. The work will save you. Orphans have no sense of what family is. They feel that God is transient and they need to steal their way into His heart. They need to please him in order to belong; and even then there is the constant fear that He will abandon them just as everyone else has.

On the other hand, Sons don't do anything. They can't. You cannot earn or steal the title of Son. You have that title before you are born, before you exist. It isn't something you earn, or accept, or steal. It's what you are. Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it away.

All you can do, as a Son, is rest in your place.

That still makes me tear up.

It clicks, doesn't it.

So why is it so hard for me to accept?

I don't know.

I haven't had a steady, permanent job yet this year. Over and over I've felt, in my heart of hearts, that this is where I am supposed to be, that this time is gift meant for me to practice my craft of writing and auditioning. That this is my time to create and to rest.

I haven't accepted this. Instead I've fought it tooth and nail, looking frantically for work, feeling like I'm mooching off the system by being on EI. I've conveniently ignored the fact that I've paid into that system my entire working life and so it's not mooching. Even when that's been pointed out to me by my parents and by S, I've rejected it. I've ignored the creativity within me, pushing it aside to write my resume and pursue jobs that kill me just thinking about them.

Simply put, I've done everything but rest.

I have trust issues, have I mentioned that before? I'm very much like a toddler, believing that how things are now are how they will be forever. In my head, I will never find another job, so I'd better take the first thing that is offered to me no matter what it does to my soul. I struggle on a daily basis - no, hourly...rather, by the minute and the second - with believing that God will provide for me. I ignore all the evidence to the contrary - that I am clothed, fed and housed, that I am not yet broke - and take counsel with fear. I consider selling my soul, my actual eternal soul, to the powers of Darkness in exchange for financial security.

And then I wonder why my dreams are dark.

God is very patient. That's all I can say.

And I am very confused, most of the time.

I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia and it amazes me how those stories also bring me to tears, over and over, by their power and simplicity. To see Aslan taking such joy in those He loves - it makes me cry to write that down - alongside His incredible patience and sorrow when they fail, or turn aside, or put pettiness above following the nobility within them. How He cries with Caspian dies, an old man...He really does share our sorrows with us, even when He knows better than anyone how short lived that sorrow will be, and that brings me to tears that He would care enough to partake in that with us, so that we won't be alone. And that He cares enough to share our most transient joys, even if it's nothing more than the pleasure of a romp in fresh air in the springtime.

For some reason it is easier for me to see clearly when I am in Narnia with Aslan, than it is when I am here and now, with God.

I think - I hope - He's okay with that. After all, as He says to Edmund and Lucy at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (coming to film sometime this year, hurrah!), "...There I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

It's an uphill journey and I fear I am much more like Jill Pole than like Lucy Pevensie. But I try. And I put down my burdens, and I pick them back up, and I put them back down, and I start again.

For now, that will have to be enough. See? See how even then, I take the perspective of a slave, that my struggle is the work I must do to be fit for love? See how I turn to God as an orphan and cry out that I'm trying, please don't turn aside, I will be better, I will, I will.

I would never have thought that resting would be so much work - and I know it only is because I keep making it that way.

Goddamn this fight, this struggle to accept that I am loved, end of sentence.

I hope I'll get it eventually. I hope that someday I'll even just see His shadow as He leads me. That I'll feel His warm Lion's breath on my forehead and know, just know, that I am enough. Until then I am blind, with tears and with humanity, overwhelmed with sorrow at my own frailties, with the disbelief at the gift I am being given, day after day after day, offered to me every second as I doubt and fight and struggle with myself.

And for now, that will have to be enough.

Not for Him; for me.

Until I learn how to open my arms, my heart, and accept.

End of sentence.


Anonymous said...

The title says it all; rest in this my darling daughter and know that you are loved.

~ your Pa.

Duckie23 said...

I stopped reading in the middle of your blog to write this..

I wonder why you feel you need to have a job, and why you don't feel right using your E.I? I mean, is it something we learn growing up, was a particular experience? That is a thought to ponder on, why do you feel that way? You know that if it was years and years ago it would be perfectly respectable for an artist to be at home creating, so why does it seem inapropriate now? Hmmm, you have me thinking now.

I do agree though, it is YOUR E.I. What other people do with their E.I is no judgement on you.