If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wildness in the divine mystery: a page from one of my journals

This is an entry from one the many journals I have kept over the past 25 years. It is a spiritual discipline I no longer practice. But, at moments the practice provided me with a creative outlet for expressing some of my many life and faith struggles. Often it was one way of clinging to an absent God, holding on to faith with the tips of my fingernails during moments when life seemed chaotic and random.

I pulled this entry because it was from a moment in my life journey when I was going through a major life transition, which is what I am going through right now. I had just moved to another end of the country, which I will soon be doing. The opportunities for me in this new place looked very slim, as my upcoming move appears to me. I was frustrated with being unemployed (for 8 months)without ministry in the church, which will be my state at the end of next month. In my entry I refer to an experience of being 3 years unable to find a place in ministry (after I spent 5 years in preparation in Bible college and seminary and two rocky years working in the church).

The journal entry leaped out and spoke to me as I thumbed through it while packing up my office. Maybe it will to you. Maybe not. WARNING: If the reader is sensitive about honest complaint or accusing God, which is found in the Psalms, read no further.

Tuesday, January 21, 1997

There is a wildness in your divine mystery, my God, a seeming randomness in the beauty of this world...We would harmonize with your own freedom and randomness, trusting our future to your perfect care. You are our God.---William Cleary, Prayers to She who is

Last night I went to bed angry with God. I had hit the peak of my tolerance for this unbearable heaviness of being, of not being in ministry, jobless, hopeless. Inside my head I opened up my anger against God as I lay in bed ready to go to sleep, or so I thought. I wanted to shout out my complaints to the heavens, "I can't take this any longer, God! You are doing nothing! You have abandoned me! There is no sense or meaning to this crap! Why must I put up with this! I already put up with 3 damn years of this shit before! Why more of the same! I'm sick of it! You're responsible! How cruel of you to do this to me!"

I awoke at 4 am with this phrase on the tip of my mind: taking a chance on the metaphysics of luck. Such an odd thought and with many possible meanings. Sometimes I feel like that is what my faith is all about. Reality is just a swirl of randomness into which I am throwing my dice hoping that what comes out will be right in "the grand scheme of things," if there is such a thing.

Then I read the prayer above as I begin my morning devotion and see the words "mystery," "randomness," "trusting in the future," and am struck by how these words connect with the phrase that emerged from the invisible depths of my psyche.

Is faith taking a chance on the metaphysics of luck? Or is it tossing ourselves into the seeming randomness of reality trusting our future to the Mystery? Whatever it is, it often feels to me like a toss of the dice.

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