I was really enjoying reading this afternoon. As a matter of fact, I was reading in my car, as sheets of rain gave it a well deserved wash. Outside it was 66 degrees. What a great feeling that was, having endured, no survived, the 118 degrees in The Valley of The Dry Heat. When the rain stopped, thank God, to start again later, it was a little bit of heaven to step outside and enjoy the cooling down of one's body. Not only that but what a blessing, what a delight it was to be able to breathe deeply the rain freshened mountain air. That does something for the mind, body, and soul. One gets the feeling of something springing up from the depths within. It is a feeling, which in reality, words are unable to convey. How impoverished we are when it comes to communicate that which springs from our essence. We search, and search for that elusive word which never appears to materialize.
Yet we continue on with that search. We become searchers. Becoming searchers, we continue that which was begun, by our ancestors, long before recorded history. We are led by, The Unknown, to seek out and search out a way to communicate, The Unknowable. An endless search we all share, but each one in his/her own very unique way.
I was pretty contented, no, really contented with myself until I read the following quote from from Annie Dillard. "Write like you are dying." Wow! Wow! Wow! I was not ready for that. A dying person's confession is sacrosanct. Look at how the law takes into account a dying person's confession. It is not questioned. It is taken for granted that the dying person would not lie. Then this thought hit me between the two eyes, Joe, you are dying. From the moment of birth, we are dying. This is a fact, a very uncomfortable reality. A reality I much prefer to deny, or at least ignore. I can get away with being an amnesiac, but only for a short period of time. As I face this stage of my life, those periods of denial, and forgetfulness are becoming shorter and shorter, darn it.
So I am to write like I am dying? This means I have to tell that truth. That is so, so easy to type, but the ramifications of truth telling are something else!!! "The truth will set you free, but first it will tee off a lot of people," is one of my favorite sayings. "Good news must become bad news for the ego, before it can again, become good news." Those are two sayings that I repeat over and over, and over again. To be honest, remember that "dying thing," I repeat it why? Simply because I need to hear those words. Actions have consequences, and truth telling? Well take a look at the cross and see what humanity did to The Revelation of Truth!!! The Prophet Jesus lived the truth. Both in his mission and ministry, He was the personification, The Enfleshment of The Truth. There then emerged a conspiracy to stifle, The Voice of Truth. A conspiracy that continues to this present moment. Jesus lived a life of freedom. This freedom came from His belief in He being, The Beloved Son, of a Gracious Father from whose womb of infinite love, all life has emerged. That is our origin and our destiny. We forget this awe-filled reality. As one author writes: We have to face the fact that we have forgotten, that we have forgotten." That is a very sad reality, isn't ?
I was brought up to "never forget where you came from." That was in regards to my history, and heritage. My spiritual heritage was not emphasized in the same way. Actually I was exposed at a very early age to, "the toxic trinity," namely guilt, fear, and shame. Even though I was politically free, I was so un-free, when it came to living the life that really mattered. The journey into spiritual freedom, my destiny, has been like the Irish struggle for freedom, a long tear-full, and pain-full one. Would I want to change anything? I was thinking about that on a hike. The conclusion? As I reflect on my life now, I am becoming more aware of the work of my Compassionate, Creative God, through the power of The Spirit of Wholeness. I, every now and then, have glimpses of unity, peace, and harmony. Through the workings of grace, from the chaos has emerged, a little serenity, tranquility, and some peace of mind. The weaknesses of my youth have become a source of strength. My so-called strengths have been gradually exposed for what they really were, mere illusions of grandeur. The source of these damaging illusions was a false sense, a false understanding of my humanity, and healthy spiritual realities. The real truth, has ever so slowly emerged, as I have had to face failure, rejection, weakness, and brokenness, in other words, entered into the fullness of The Paschal mystery. Over the years I have experienced a deepening belief, there can be no new life, without first experiencing, death. This awe-full, pain- pain-full reality is a place we have to journey into, over and over. In these latter years the words: "Death is not an end, it is a beginning" have been a great source of consolation, and encouragement. As it has been for me, and countless others, so may it be for you.
Wow this writing, knowing that you are dying, is tough stuff. "Every blessing is a curse and every curse is a blessing." Now how long is this going to last???