Friday, October 5, 2007

I used to be spiritual

God speaks and it comes into being.
God commands and it stands. ~ Psalm 33:9, my paraphrase

I used to be a spiritual person. I used to pray and meditate daily, easily an hour or more in a sitting. I used to strive. I was disciplined and brought my practice into daily life. Each moment was an opportunity to remember God, to center myself, to be in mystic connection. If I lost this connection, my wife would tell me to go meditate. She could see the difference it made in my ease of being. And I had other friends and signals that would remind me to return and to begin again. The spiritual path as I saw it was a matter of starting over again and again, a willingness to return to the path whenever I should wander. These were years of great spiritual awakening. God spoke and my spirit came into being.

But now I am on a different path. I am called not to peaceful recollection, but to struggle. I try to balance too many things. I am overwhelmed. Still this is my call. I am not given to delight and awakening, but to frustration and confusion. My plans come to nothing. I try to comfort myself and cover my tracks. My efforts to return are futile. The current of life sweeps me up, and I do not know where it will take me or even why. My spiritual life is not my own. It is not private and I cannot direct it. My struggle is not for me, but what it is for I do not know. If God says “toil”, then I toil. But I do not see the fruit. If God says “worry”, then I am full of anxiety with no purpose in sight. If God says “mourn” or “grieve”, then I abhor myself. All my plans come to nothing. Only what God commands will endure.

My only consolation is that God commands. What God commands will stand. Those whom God commands are already empowered and equipped. They are fitted for the battle. My confidence cannot be in my preparation, but only in God’s command. God says, “Stand here and know the full blast of living in this place. Be overworked. Be overwhelmed. Know painfully and intimately the anxiety of this age. Grieve for this generation. Lose your soul to the system. Eat till you vomit. Hopeless against futility.”

I can speculate about what this means, but I have been taught not to speculate. Mine is not to speculate but to know, and I can only know what God has given me to know, to experience, to live. What I live is the curse of this age. What I experience is decay, a bloated hunger that gnaws. What I know is the sickness of this world, the world of machination, the futile path of ambition, the vanity of spiritual consolation.