Father, sometimes it feels like I am army-crawling through life. Under barbwire, through the mud, dodging bullets and ducking enemy fire through the searing onslaught. Even when I see no way out, you have provided one. Show me the way through. Help me learn to trust you in life’s toughest places. Amen
This is the prayer I wrote weeks ago that God knew I would need to read today. As I begin again to write Chapter 3, entitled Broken, it is time to face this truth. We, his beloved children, are so very broken, but the Lord of Life has signed our hearts and our souls.
Let the cardiac surgery commence.
A dear friend has died.
She gave her life to her family, her friends, her church, her God. She had given everything but the last of herself, and now she has given that.
In his book, Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen says, “In the giving we are chosen, blessed and broken not simply for our own sakes, but so that all we live finds its final significance in its being lived for others.” We are given. Given as bread for the world. Who can we be for each other? How can we out-do each other at serving, helping, supplying a need, lending an ear, loving?
In life, Mary Anne was for me, my certain reader. On any given day, she was the one I knew was reading this blog. If I posted, I knew Mary Anne was reading. Sometimes she would comment or respond or share something in reply. Always, she was listening to what I wrote, and that was life-giving to me.
When I sat down to craft some words, I could picture my sure-reader. I knew exactly what she looked like, where she was, how she might respond. This is gold to a writer, to be able to picture their audience. In fact, it is essential, to write to the one and let others listen in. It’s what draws life out of lifeless words and animates ideas, otherwise dormant.
Today’s is the first post Mary Anne is not here to read. How then do I write? To whom?
Nouwen offers, “If love is indeed stronger than death, then death has the potential to deepen and strengthen the bonds of love…. and holds the potential to … multiply itself to fulfill the needs of countless people.”
Somehow, by freely handing over life to death, it takes on greater life to all who would receive it. A sumptuous meal will be served around the table, with enough for guests, newcomers and the wayfarer happening by, and still there will be leftovers. It multiplies itself in the giving.
I remember a conversation from years ago when Mary Anne shared the difficulty her aged mother was having, physically ailing as well as confused and forgetful. Having no experience with this, I wondered about correcting the poor disoriented woman to help her remember. Mary Anne advised patiently, “Even if they don’t remember what you said or even who you are, they’ll remember how you made them feel.”
Even in grief, we carry goodness when we touch the heart of the other with our presence which speaks the love for us. When the hearing is gone and the words no longer make sense, Something else speaks.
Sunday morning last, I woke up to the roar of a rushing wind. Pentecost Sunday had arrived and with it the Spirit of God who swooped close to claim and collect His own.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. ~ Acts 2: 1-4
Funny, I think Mary Anne read the Kinesthetic Christian because she seemed to marvel at the way I could speak a language she understood but couldn’t write and thought she didn’t have the words for. Now, she has expression for everything she desires. Thanks be to God.
“The spirit of love, once freed from our mortal bodies, will blow where it will, even when few will hear its coming and going,” Nouwen supposes.
Mary Anne, I can still hear your voice clearly: your clipped phrasing for what was not acceptable to you, your sense of humor, your honesty, your fierce loyalty, forthrightness and clarity. Oh, you knew what you were in for and what was coming just around the bend. I know you held on for as long as you could and then let go gracefully. Probably with a “To heck with this body. Bring on the new one!!”
How quintessentially you is the opening to your obituary: “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.”
Yep. Mary Anne to the core, to the end, and to the everlasting. How you embraced dancing in the rain. Sleep in heavenly peace, dear lady. One day, we will see each other again. There will be dancing and not a chance of rain.
May I call you that? You, who faithfully (or only occasionally) read what I write here at the Kinesthetic Christian?
I regularly struggle with what it means, and what I mean, when I say I am a kinesthetic Christian. It is easier to say what I don’t mean:
- I don’t mean you have to exercise to be a K-Christian.
- I don’t mean to make you fit so that you can be a K-Christian.
- I don’t even mean you have to move to be a K-Christian.
We can’t see God. We can’t touch God. Can’t actually hear, taste, or smell God. By virtue of these ‘special’ senses, the ones we learned about in elementary school, I can’t know God. I surmise that experiencing God through these sensations would overwhelm us, and the ancients said that such an encounter would kill us.
But, I believe God does offer evidence of His presence through our general senses. He appeals to the somato-sensory system, the body’s peripheral senses: pressure, temperature, pain, touch, vibration, position, and posture. Usually we associate these sensations with interactions in the world, but they seem more than that. We’ve been burned. Our hopes are crushed. Our heart has been softened. Our mind convinced. We are moved. All of these we can and do experience, and we live to tell about it. God is gentle with us.
As a K-Christian, when I say God moves me, touches me, inclines me, leads me, or taps me, I mean that I sense something about the circumstance or in the story or the interaction which speaks to me of God. It’s on-going evidence, if you will, that I as the kinesthetic detective keep discovering. By virtue of this blog, you have allowed me to share it.
While movement is fun, responsible movement needs direction. No matter how much we like running, our aim is the finish line. We don’t just keep rounding the bases, we head for home! I am seeking direction for the KC blog, and I’d like your impression regarding what seems right for the KC. Would you please kindly vote or offer comment?
- Select, edit and organize the KC postings (# >500) into categories and perhaps seek publication
- Start fresh and offer contemporary responses to the writings of my Pastor Grandfather
- Give it all a rest. You’re starting to repeat yourself.
- Get over yourself and just keep writing.
As I offer this list, I feel a bit like I am side-stepping my responsibility to choose or discern what’s next. If that is true, I’m sure God will let me know. But, honestly, as I don’t know who’s reading this, I don’t want to short change anyone who has followed my blog and now will be disappointed with a new direction I take.
God has created me uniquely for a purpose, and I am meant to respond to that with my life. So are you. I am eternally grateful for your support.