One step forward and two back. An old adage, but that’s what life sometimes feels like. Strolling on the beach is great, but then something will occur – not anything major; perhaps a change of mood or a change in the weather, destructive thoughts, careless words – and suddenly I’m climbing up a steep cliff, hanging grimly on as the slope seems to shift and move around me. Often the beginning of the struggle is indiscernible. Where did the scramble start? This is a questioning time in my life. While I am sure that God wants me here, in this time, in this place, often it would be have been easier to stay in my previous existence. Safe, secure, just getting on with life. Sure of what I’m meant to be doing and why.
Pausing is dangerous. It makes you think. And pray. And deal with issues you might not want to tackle. And pray again. How do you let go of the previous situation, how do you relinquish all the work you’ve put in? How do you stop? How do you be? And when all the labels, all the layers are stripped away, who is left underneath them? At times there is a deafening silence. I find myself reminded of Elijah in the Old Testament, who after wind and storm hears the still voice of God in that very silence. At times the only answer is an inward knowledge and calm that I am loved, wanted and adored by God. That the labels pinned on me by myself and society are actually not of any value to him. He has no need of them. It doesn’t stop the questioning, the thinking, the process of relearning to live. But it is there as a steady assurance. I am his and he is mine and that is all.
I saw this piece of driftwood on the beach today. I haven’t moved it into position. This is how I found it. Climbing the slope to the top. It reminded me that in my struggles, he is there with me. He has climbed this cliff as well, and now he climbs it again, with me.
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. I Kings 19:9ff