Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Life and faith these days

I woke up this morning about 4am to a cracking and crashing sound followed by the beep*beep*beep of the answering machine as the power flickered and went out.  I lay there wondering just how far away that cracking and crashing sound was and just then lay there wondering how I was going to get my hair into "office" style  that day if the power was still out when I was supposed to be getting ready for work two hours later.  Of course, I was then awake and unable to go back to sleep and it was dark, REALLY dark in my house.  I turned on my cell phone to use as a flashlight (which is also how I knew it was 4am), found my flashlight and tried to read myself to sleep.  It worked...at 5:40am when the power came back on and my alarm was set to go off 20 minutes later.  Why does that ALWAYS happen?

Before I got out of bed though, in search of the flashlight, I lay there listening to the sound of silence.  It's amazing how much sound there is in electricity.  When the power went out the air seemed to go completely still.  I didn't hear any sirens from emergency vehicles or sounds of helicopters signaling a life-flight situation, so I lay there just listening to the silence, relishing the pitch black darkness of night.  The stillness of the night was palpable bringing with it mystery and strangely, peace.  Except for the puzzlement of how I was going to dry my hair, I was peaceful laying there in the silence and dark.

Over the weekend I joined 38 women on a retreat in the mountains.  It's about 5 miles up a canyon road and there was no cell phone signal by the time I reached the camp.  There was no Internet access either.  It was good.

I was there to lead music for the retreat.  For a few weeks before I had been going through worship songs, picking out, organizing and revamping songs that I had sung with the worship team at Old Church for years.  There were a few songs I really wanted to sing but I knew the women wouldn't know them, so they went back in the folder.  Friday night I stood with my guitar and a microphone and the PowerPoint presentation of songs and lead in singing.  It was good.  I wasn't perfect.  They didn't know all the songs.  By the time we were done I felt like a door had opened again in my heart.

My journey of faith has been winding, sometimes steep, sometimes meandering along streams of water that have quenched my thirsty soul.  I have walked along some steep cliffs with huge drop offs and many times I have fallen.  There have been times when I have wandered in the desert, in circles, struggling with the mirages and the longings for water, cool air and rest.  This is the wonder, the mystery, the journey of faith I have come to know as I have walked with Jesus.

Lately, this path of faith has reflected my experience of laying in the dark last night, the silence has been palpable, mysterious, the darkness has been dark.  There hasn't been peace, so much, there's just been a lot of silence, a muted kind of existence.  I haven't been unhappy, I haven't been overly happy, I have just existed.  Lying the dark, listening to the silence, a muted kind of existence.

As I led music, the words began to niggle and nudge my soul.  As I listened to the speaker and watched her form pots from clay, reflecting on how the clay goes from a lump to something beautiful, I connected with the process and began to see myself on this journey of faith, I began to see myself in that lump of clay.  I began to see light.

The sun came up this morning, somewhere between 4am and 6:15am when I got up.  The power came back on and my "office" hair was styled.  The hum of electricity could be heard again, covering up the silence.  I headed for work, going about my day but the lingering effects of my 4am wake up have followed me all day.  The lingering effects of a weekend women's retreat have followed me as well.  The lingering effects of a journey of faith that has been on a very dark, quiet road has followed me, or should I say, I've followed it.  This journey of faith continues on, with maybe a bit more sun and the smallest of sounds beginning to penetrate the palpable silence and darkest of darkness.  I don't know where I'm going but I know who I'm following and really, that's all that matters.

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