Continuing with looking back over the year past, and the year on the brink of being.
A theme emerging for me in 2014 has been disconnection. Shedding – whether weight, addictions, unhealthy patterns or relationships and affiliations – is not achieved without a measure of struggle and effort in severance.
I have been self-medicating with starch and sugar since forever, doggedly keeping going in the choppy seas’ peaks and troughs, exhaustion and despair never far from me. Physically, the break has been made easily and successfully. I’m a good hundred-per-cent-er, and ‘No more’ works quite well for me. But I’ve come to associate experience and meaning with starch and sugar, and undergo intense nostalgia when I pass a coffee shop on a sunny morning, people sitting at street tables enjoying sweet iced coffee and pastries, or when I think of afternoon tea at an elegant hotel – the starched linen, the silverware and white china, the towering server of dainty sandwiches and cakes. I don’t miss the food one bit, but I miss the experience immensely.
The emotional aspect of my health journey has been important and surprising. It’s led me to sever from groups, good and beautiful in themselves but where I had begun to feel a fish out of water as I got down deeper and uncovered what I really felt and thought. Like an archeologist with trowel in hand, I carefully drew away layers of accretion, until shapes and bones emerged that told a story – ‘This is who I am. This is what I AM means for me. This is God in me.’
It also exposed one or two long-abiding root relationships that had . . . ‘gone off,’ I guess you could say. Not ‘toxic’, as some term it: good, kind, well-intentioned people. But it was as if their boats and my boat had drifted so far apart that when I reached out to touch them, as they sat squarely unmoving in their boats, I more and more nearly fell in the water, straining until it hurt to make a connection. And now I have let go. Neither their boat nor my boat is the better one, but we are on different journeys. May good angels attend and bless them as they go. I will always be grateful for the love and blessing and teaching they once brought me.
In my foray into one-bag minimalism I let go of just about everything – then adjusted up a little. Now I have two not-big drawers of clothing and other bits, plus about a foot, on a shared hanging rail, of garments, and several pairs of shoes. I have about two feet of bookshelf filled with books. And I have a few loved ornaments/toys (Yes. I note it is hard to admit I have toys! I’ll show you one day). I have a few business files – tax papers etc. That’s it. The rest has gone. I sleep on a mat on the floor, I dance in the spaces.
So much for disconnection. But I was reflecting, too, on where I am now in terms of faith journey. I know I belong to Jesus, but I turned this over in my mind, considering what it might mean – in what sense do I belong to him, now I rarely go to church and hold no roles within the church?
And this is what I thought. My belonging to Jesus is not a matter of affiliation. He and I, we are not coupled together like two train wagons. I am not attached to Jesus. Nor do I belong to him as the Badger’s car belongs to the Badger or my laptop belongs to me – important, possessed, but separate.
The eucharist is a sacrament of the way I belong to Jesus. We take the wine, the bread, to say ‘His blood is in my veins, his body has become my body.’
I belong to Jesus as the branch belongs to the tree, as the cloud belongs to the sky, as the water belongs to the ocean. There is no beginning nor ending, I am his property as much as his face is his property, and his peace.
Sometimes, perhaps, one might think he would wish this were not so. I often let him down, embarrass him, make him cry. But it is a Eucharistic belonging – I have digested him and he has digested me. We are in Communion.
Having disconnected from so much, I feel a little disorganized, somewhat at sea in my small boat.
In 2015, I hope I may discover hidden depths of the I AM in me, find the grace to rinse away clinging tarry deposits of cruelty, callousness, grandiosity, ego-centricity and impetuosity that bedevil my nearly-but-not-quite-innermost self. I hope I may so steep in the kindness and perception of Jesus, that his peace may arise like sap to my most extended twigs, that the leaves I put forth may be for healing.
What I would like is to be the kind of person whose presence makes people feel comfortable, restored, able to breathe, whole again, at peace.
I know I am allowed to have this, and my good hope is that I also have the courage, patience and discipline to get there.